Friday, April 16, 2010

Alef Betty

Alef Betty (word-play on the two first letters of the Hebrew alphabet - Alef and Bet) is Tsili Pines' new website dedicated to modern Hebrew arts and culture. check out these awesome Hebrew Alphabet posters:

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Hebrew Woodblock Type

Hebrew drawer, type shop, Cooper Union (photo credit: Brice McGowen)

The type shop here at Cooper Union has some Hebrew woodblocks, not enough to make complete sentences and not a large variety to even make some words, but still are really nice 100 year old blocks. I printed a few of them, just to have a specimen of some Hebrew type.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Children's Books

found these old books that my mom got when she was little, all published in Israel in 1960.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Fractal Alphabet

Sharon Pazner, a Tel Aviv based artist that often uses typography and other graphic design elements in her work, has recently publish a new series in her flickr photo stream; in this fractal alphabet, each letter is comprised of all the characters in the language's alphabet.

Hebrew Fractal Alphabet

English Fractal Alphabet

Monday, March 1, 2010

Ismar David

citation for the United Jewish Appeal, NY, 1980

Born in Germany in 1910, Ismar David studied at the Berlin Municipal school of Arts and Crafts and immigrated to Israel in 1932 where he opened a studio for graphic and interior design. in 1953 moved to New York, where he established his studio specializing in calligraphy, lettering, illustration and book design. David also taught calligraphy at the Cooper Union till 1991.

broadside RN Magazine, NJ, 1971

In 1953 Ismar David released one of the most important Hebrew typefaces, David:

David Hebrew font family, 1954

Zapf wrote about him: The work of Ismar David can always be identified by his characteristic style. [...] His expressive drawings, with their undulating linear quality and unusual construction, show his elegant style in every detail.

Peace Blessing, poster, 1976

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Dan Reisinger

Dan Reisinger was born in former Yugoslavia and immigrated to Israel in 1949, after WWII. After serving as the art director for the Israeli Air Force's publications, Reisinger worked and studied across Europe (Brussels, London) and in 1966 returned to Israel where he established his own design studio.

Israel's Independence Day poster, 1974

Throughout his admirable career, Reisinger has dealt with many different aspects of design and culture; political, social and cultural posters, monuments for Yad Vashem- the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, logos for El Al airlines, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Habima national theater, various stamps for the state of Israel, medals of honor for Israel's Defence Forces, and much more...

various logos: El Al, Lili, Tambour and many more

He claims one of his more significant contributions has been to stretch the visual and communicative possibilities of Hebrew letters, through his symbols and logos.

9th Maccabiah stamp, 1973

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Adi Stern

Israel Festival, Jerusalem Logo, 1994

Adi Stern graduated with distinction from the Department of Visual Communication of the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem, then worked for two years in David Tartakover´s studio. Since 1994, he has owned his design studio in Tel Aviv, specializing in design and typography for cultural institutions as well as in book design. In 2003, Stern studied at the MA program in Typeface Design at Reading University, UK. Since his return to Israel, and alongside all his other activities, Adi writes and lectures on the design and history of the Hebrew letter. In 2008 he became the head of the department from which he had graduated.

Virus, Bat Sheva dance company, poster

Occupation Kills Us All, self-produced Poster, 2001

Territory and Identity, Exhibition catalog, Eretz Israel Museum

Monday, February 15, 2010

Oded Ezer

Typembria, watch video, 2009

He is already world known; the single contemporary israeli typographer (or typographic artists) to become a design pop star. Oded Ezer’s experiments are innovative and inspiring, twisting the boundaries and exploring the possibilities of meshing the field of Hebrew type (as well as Latin) with biology, technology, materiality and endless more alternatives.

Tybrid - Oded Ezer's typo hybrids, 2007

Maya Light font, corresponds to Futura

Gestalten recently published his monograph - I highly recommend it! Get it here.

Frankrhulia font (sketches), inspired by Frank Ruehl, 2005

It is impossible to summarize such a great man and body of work. To see more, you can follow him on his website, foundry, twitter, flickr and blog.

Typosperma, Ezer as the typographic scientist, 2006

History of Jewish Hebrew Printing

From the First Illustrated Printed Haggadah, Prague, 1526

The Jewish Encyclopedia's Typography entry:

The art of printing. The invention of printing was welcomed by the Jews as "the art of writing with many pens." From the time of the earlier printers reference is made to their craft as "holy work" ("'Abodat ha-Ḳodesh"). It may here be treated under the two headings of history and characteristics.

I. History:

The history of Hebrew printing is divided into five stages, of which only a sketch can be attempted in this place, many of the details being already treated under the names of prominent printers or presses. The five stages of Hebrew typography are as follows: I., 1475-1500, incunabula in southern Europe; II., 1500-42, spread to north and east; III., 1542-1627, supremacy of Venice; IV., 1627-1732, hegemony of Amsterdam; V., 1732-1900, modern period, in which Frankfort, Vienna, and, more recently, Wilna and Warsaw have come to the front. For the most part Hebrew printing has been done by Jews, but the printing of Bibles has been undertaken also by Christian typographers, especially at the university towns of Europe. These productions, for lack of space, are for the most part to be neglected in the following sketch.

Keep Reading...

From a Passover Haggadah, Amsterdam, 1695

Saturday, February 13, 2010

David Tartakover

35 Years of Occupation Poster, 2002

David Tartakover studied at Bezalel Academy of Art and Design where he has been teaching as well. Throughout his career he has specialized in various aspects of visual communications, with particular emphasis on culture and politics. Tartakover is one of the most important graphic designers in Israel, and although not a typographer, it is important to mention his work in this blog.

State of Israel's 30th Anniversary Poster, 1978

To show his support and contribute to a protest movement (that called prime minister Menahem Begin to begin a peace process, in 1978), Tartakover voluntarily designed a poster with the title "Peace Now". The title became the movement's name and was made into the first political sticker in Israel, which is effective till this day.

Peace Now Logo, 1978

The logo originated in the poster Tartakover designed for the 30th anniversary of the state of Israel, in which the word "Peace" is set in the biblical Koren font (designed by Eliahu Koren in the 1950's as a revival of Spanish-Italian Hebrew type from 1800's) with blue skies in the background. According to Tartakover, the innovation in the Peace Now logo was the combination of the two typefaces - "peace" set in the traditional Koren and "now" set in the headline-style Haim, explicitly secular Israeli. the contrasting combination gave the logo its presence and memorability.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Oldies Collections

Here are some great Flickr collections of Israeli vintage memorabilia with Hebrew type:

collection of the letter Aleph (first in the Hebrew alphabet), 1900-1950's

Velveta, Shemen's All Purpose Cream

Sonol's Road Map

Immigration, Absorption, Settlement Stamp

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Cartonnage Typeface and Notebooks

Yanek Yontef, a graduate and former teacher at Bezalel academy of art and design, is an important figure in contemporary Hebrew typography. His fonts are seen everywhere across Israel; newspapers, signage, advertisement, branding, posters etc. Yontef's importance is due not only to the large variety of interesting contemporary typefaces he has designed (both Hebrew and Latin), but also in his teaching he pioneered the typography and lettering methodology at Bezalel(former students are, among others, Oded Ezer and Danny Meirav [Hatayas, Hagilda]).

Pauza and Pauza Latin

Fontef (Yontef's one man type foundry) has a well-designed website (both in Hebrew and English versions) that showcase his great designs. Notice his bilingual families such as Pauza - the latin font has some of the harsh geometries taken from hebrew while the hebrew font has some more roundness at the corners of the letter; both typefaces balance out each other and potentially allow to a good combination of English and Hebrew text.


Monday, February 8, 2010

Hebrew in Motion

there's a lot of motion-typography out there (a least on youtube) and it's pretty refreshing to see some in Hebrew. i found a lot of student work from two Israeli design schools (Shenkar and Bezalel). i personally like these three:

Fortis/At Lo Tova Elay (you're no good to me)

credit: yyonacho

I love Rami Fortis (awesome israeli musician for the past 30 years). I thinks this does a good job with the "vibe" of the song. the animation has a good beat, usage of a variety of fonts, although a few are quite "weird" (ugly), i see how mixing the fonts together portrays some "Punkiness" which Fortis has so much of.

The Apples/Ze Ra'ayon Tov (thats a good idea)

credit: noodoov1

Again, The Apples - awesome Israeli band. I like the use of an older-looking font, to mach the sample of an old record in the song. I believe the main font is Palestina, Oded Ezer's typeface for Hagilda.

Hachamishia Hakamerit/Bo (come on)

credit: eladshrem

One of my favorite skits from the Israeli comedy tv show Hachamishia Hakamerit, in which different army officers regurgitate different familier speeches calling on men to join the army. Nice emphasis on different font and color for each voice, which leads to the chaos of type and sound (and message).

Hagilda - Independant Type Design Cooperative

The Smoker Serif

Hagilda (The Guild) is an Israeli type foundry (or as they like to define themselves- type design cooperative) of prominent designers Michal Sahar and Danny Meirav, both Bezalel graduates from the late 90’s and each runs his/her own independant design studio.

Palestina by Oded Ezer

Blender Condensed

Almost all of their font families are revivals of known Hebrew typefaces (such as Haim, Aharoni, Meriam) which have become default to us israeli Microsoft Word users (the equivalent to times new roman, if i may say so myself). Hagilda brings the joy back to older Hebrew typography and makes me, at least, pay more attention to the minutiae in such ancestors. Another aspect they express is vernacular or signage inspired typography, such as the poppy and fun Glass of Milk and Kartiv (Popsicle). Looking through the catalog really gives you a sense of the design culture, and therefore popular culture, that developed in the short history of Israel.


A Glass of Milk