The Hebrew script (square script) was originally developed during the late second and first millennia BCE. It is written from right to left, and has no lower case. It consists of 27 letters including five letters with two forms – one for use within the word and one for use at the end of the word.
The challenge in designing a Hebrew font matching to the Latin font, both in nature and form, requires expertise, experience and an understanding of Hebrew typography. The issue is the skeleton of the Hebrew letter, which is based on a square, as opposed to the circular Latin languages. The link between language, font, structure and transmitted values, is the aim of the design process.
Oded Ezer is a specialist of Hebrew typeface design, known for his Hebrew fonts and experimental typographic works. A graduate of Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem, he lives and works in Tel Aviv.
Several Hebrew typefaces of Ezer’s have won national and international accolades, including a Certificate of Excellence at the TDC52 competition of the New York Type Directors Club, Certificate of Excellence at the 4th annual competition of the New York Type Directors Club, Certificate of Excellence at the “Bukva raz” type design competition, Moscow, Russia, and the Israeli Education Ministry Prize for Design.
Ezer’s typographic works are showcased and published worldwide, and are part of permanent collections at eminent museums such as the New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMA, NYC), Israel Museum of Art (Jerusalem), Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A, London), Museum für Gestaltung (Zürich) and Design Museum Holon (Tel-Aviv).
Oded Ezer specialises in typographic and font design projects for clients in the USA, Europe, and the Middle East, such as Google Inc. (California), FontShop Intl. (Berlin), Little, Brown and Co. (NY), Font Bureau (Boston), Brody Associates (London), Sterling Brands (NY), Mota Italic (Mumbai), The Jewish Culture Festival (Krakow), Jerusalem Season of Culture (Jerusalem), Dalton Maag (London), and many more.
The craft of the design process
The contemporary Hebrew language consists of 95 standard glyphs: 73 letters, 3 punctuations marks, 2 symbols and 17 marks, as additional components to the Latin set. It is important to locate the vowels accurately, together with ligatures and true kerning of the Hebrew language.
An analysis of the Latin font is necessary to achieve an optical match with the Hebrew font. The process includes the examination of counters, loops and terminals, as well as density of colour and the tone of the set. On approval, technical preparation of the digital folder is provided for customers’ use.
The vowels are an additional component in the Hebrew language. They appear as a separate element: above, within and below the consonants. Positioning and size require accuracy in relation to the letter, for ease of reading.
Hebrew for every medium and platform
It is important to maintain the values, spirit and personality of the brand font as expressed in the Latin, when designing the Hebrew version.
The suitability of the Hebrew font requires knowledge and attention to ensure optimum visibility on all screens in all sizes.
The sensitivity to mach the colour of the Hebrew and the Latin font is the key to legible setting when both languages share a page. This ground rule applies to all applicable sizes.
Mobile applications require the optimisation of the Hebrew to size of screen, similar to the Latin.
It requires a broad understanding of the principles of Hebrew typography and letterforms with all its nuances, when it comes to designing a Hebrew version to a Latin typeface.
Optical ‘translation’ of a logotype from any language to any language
In translating a logotype from one language to another, the process focuses on maching style, identity and visual language of the logotype through exploration of the basic form, the architecture and morphology of the original - responsibly and accurately.