Letters in Letters
A chat with Carolyn Porter

If you have been following my interview series here on the blog, you might already know that there is a well-defined structure for those conversations. Today, I want to share an interview done in a different way. It will be quicker, a bit more friendly and not any less personal. Carolyn recently published a typeface and a book, and those two were good enough reasons to sit down and enjoy a virtual conversation about the process.

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Rush & Flow — Talking with Marina Chaccur

Nina, continuing the Den Haag theme (well, not anymore!) chose Marina to be our next interviewee. Honestly, one of the emails with five chosen questions I sent to Marina started with (quote:) “I want to be your friend!” I didn’t even care what she will think of me, proposing friendship out of the blue. In case you are wondering why I am sharing this with you, just read on and you will probably tell her this as well.

She is full of energy. This energy is present in every line Marina wrote, makes it feel like she is talking to us, telling some of the “behind the scenes” stories. She was so engaged in writing the most whole answers, no ego or vanity involved.
Now, I am not sure what I should advise you to drink while reading the interview. As you will see few lines down, Marina offers some flavorful choices. Either way, I know you will enjoy what she has to say.

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Greetings from Haifa

How is it possible that it’s August again??? This summer, we wanted you to travel with us (for free!) around the world and enjoy some typographic curiosities we have around us (check out this map by Indra). Those posts will be scattered throughout the month, marked with a passport stamp on the first image for quicker spotting. This is a perfect excuse for a tomato juice! Here we go:

Scripts don’t live in a void. They live together, interlaced, in Israel’s urban environment: Hebrew, Arabic and English. Each script is affected by surrounding scripts, which in turn influences them back, a symbiotic relationship. Examining trilingual signage in Haifa provides an opportunity to discover meaning among the different alphabets; an additional benefit is that it is a good excuse to show some of what surrounds me in my hometown.


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My 2¢: Two Typefaces, Vanished

I do promise there is more than one influential Hebrew type designer, but after a long research process, my mind is filled with stories that were covered in boxes until now.
I am referring to Henri Friedlaender. Last time, I wrote about his design process, and today I wanted to share two typefaces that were simultaneously designed by him for the Bank of Israel in the 70’s: One serif style to be used for banknotes and one (semi-) sans, for coins. Those two were supposed to act as a family, and indeed, Friedlaender based them both on similar skeletal forms.

the banknotes typeface

the banknotes typeface

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Lifelines & Bright Lights — Talking With Nina Stössinger

In our last interview, Sol chose Nina Stössinger to be the next interviewee. The research and work that is done in the background for this series is truly joyful. But, it’s impossible to compress ​everything I have learned about each interviewee into five questions. I am trying to show a glimpse of the many things each inspiring lady is doing and thinking, and in Nina’s case it was a huge challenge.

The timing of publishing this works perfectly with the week’s events, and Nina herself fits well into conference discussions and talks. When I first met Nina, it was a one-way meeting. I was watching her give a talk at Ampersand conference, and despite the disappointing gender ratio of speakers, I was thrilled to hear another great female speaker. I had much to ask, and her precise answers will surely leave you wanting to read more. So get yourself a sweet or savory treat, preferably of a kind that you can refill your bowl with, and read on:
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Swapping 950 times— Talking with Sol Kawage

After a month filled with inspiring posts written by many of the ’bettes, it’s time to mark Women’s International Day with a new interview. Although I think the fact that there is a Women’s day shows that we are far from reaching equality, I will still use this date as an excuse to celebrate Alphabettes and the connections that we are able to make here. Our next interviewee will touch a bit on gender roles and sewing, which I find perfect for today.

In the last interview, Shelley nominated Sol Kawage. I didn’t know Sol, perhaps because we missed each other by a year at Reading, but I was so happy to get to know her through this interview. I am sure that you will feel the same, so sit back (with a nice glass of wine and cheese!) and enjoy this read.

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Liron Loves Henri’s Type Strips

Henri Friedlaender designed the legendary Hadassah Hebrew typeface. While doing extensive research for an exhibition that included his work, I was lucky to get a glimpse of his design process. Until the revealing of his personal archive (donated to the Israel Museum), his design process was only known through an article he wrote with few rather “clean” images of sketches. In the museum’s basement, wearing cotton gloves, we were taking out item by item from large drawers. The Hadassah material was intriguing. So much was said about this typeface, so much guessing on the design process was done. And here we are, seeing traces of Friedlaender’s own way of designing.


From Friedlaener’s archive. Photo by Eli Pozner, the Israel Museum. This refers for all images in this post

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Sparks & Seeds — Talking with Shelley Gruendler

Fourth interview, wow! It is now starting to feel like a series, and with each one it is becoming more wonderful to read about these inspiring ladies. Although I am not the one choosing the interviewees (except for the first time), I am loving the choices that go around the globe and around different typography-based occupations. 

This time, Mariko chose Shelley Gruendler. I was waiting for this to happen and I knew it would at some point — I have been wanting to ask Shelley many questions for a long time. So here we are, approaching the end of 2015 and this seems like the perfect time to grab your guilty pleasure, may it be a sweetened drink or a heavy slice of cake and enjoy Shelley’s thoughts, being written so openly:

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In-Between — Talking with Mariko Takagi

For this third interview in the series, Sol chose Mariko Takagi (see here the concept and first interview with Alice). The idea of Alphabettes all around the world was a part of Sol’s reason to want Mariko to be interviewed, “visiting” different continents.

I met Mariko when she was giving a talk in AtypI, and I was fascinated by her ‘Hanzi Graphy’ exhibition. Her research in fields unknown to me made choosing questions for her to be quite easy. For this interview about research, symbols and identity, I suggest to make yourself a cup of green tea (preferably with ginger), read on and enjoy the Autumn/Winter crawling in (depends on where your located, could also be summertime!)

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