Ismar David’s visitors’ book design for The Jewish Palestine Pavilion at the 1939 New York World’s Fair

This profile is part of a series of interviews chronicling the experiences of researchers who use The New York Public Library’s collections for the development of their work.
The interview was conducted by Dr. Lyudmila Sholokhova, Curator of the Dorot Jewish Division. It was originally posted on the NYPL blog, July 5, 2022.

the visitor's book at the Jewish Palestine Pavilion at the 1939 New York World's Fair.

The visitor’s book of The Jewish Palestine Pavilion at the 1939 New York World’s Fair.

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Overly Ambitious Summer Reading List 2022

four books stacked on a table outside with some yellow flowers and greenery in the background. The books are from top to bottom: The Typographic Medium, The Black Experience in Design, Type Specimens, and Building Ligatures The Power of Type

As the weather warms up and the bugs get buggier (at least in the Northeastern US), there’s nothing like an overly ambitious reading list to get those summer vibes flowing. Here are some Alphabettes-approved books published in the past year or so that will make the perfect stay/vacation companions. Do a public service and be sure to buy these from a local bookshop or request a copy for your local and university library!

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Alphabettes Variety Show: June 16, 2022!

The Alphabettes Variety Show returns to the TypeLab at Typographics on Thursday, June 16, 2022, 13–14h EDT. This year, the TypeLab offers the best of both worlds: if you’re in NYC, check it out in-person FOR FREE on Thursday, Day 1 (Day 2 + 3 are only open to Typographics attendees) OR join in from anywhere via Zoom (registration required) OR lurk on the YouTube livestream.

This year, we’ll feature live interviews from Kyiv, Buenos Aires, Maine, Oslo, and NYC, answer all your burning #dearalphabettes questions, and probably some other things we’ll think of at the last minute. Join us with a beverage of choice or a piece of cake or both!

**RECAP**
Here’s what happened during this year’s Variety Show:
Kateryna Korolevtseva gave us a short but fascinating overview of her branding and typeface design projects and the context of working from Kyiv at the moment. We hope to see Kateryna speak at more conferences soon!
Muk Monsalve chatted with us about the recent update to her type family, Elmira on FutureFonts.
Zen Bastawala talked about moving to Maine and getting to know about the local ice cream scene.
Dyana Weissman joined us live from the Cooper Union TypeLab

See you next year 🙌

Ukrainian type design heritage in modern context

We have a strong type tradition in Ukraine. Over the past few years, Ukrainian type design has been growing rapidly. I believe that now, during the war, when Russian invaders are destroying not only our nation but also our cultural heritage, it is even more important to highlight Ukraine’s graphic and type tradition.

I enjoy creating letters that are inspired by Ukrainian architecture (for example, my Misto font), works by Ukrainian graphic artists of the last century and vernacular typography. The lettering I did for Alphabettes was inspired by the 1954 book cover created by Mykhailo Dmytrenko. I like to take historical samples as a basis and rethink them more or less in a modern context. In this way, you can build a bridge between the past and the present. Visual communication becomes stronger and makes sense.

Mykhailo Dmytrenko, 1954

I aim to introduce Ukraine into the arena of type. The boundaries are non-existent and limitless. I can advise you to get acquainted with the works of other prominent Ukrainian graphic artists, whose letters I like the most: Jacques Gnizdovsky, George Narbut, Robert Lisovsky, Vasyl Yermilov, Nil Khasevych, Vasyl Krychevsky, Myron Levitsky.

Many of these graphic artists were affected by the war. Some were forced to leave Ukraine and go abroad. Some remained and were repressed by the Soviet authorities for their pro-Ukrainian views. But they all continued to work, preserve and create the Ukrainian heritage.

As graphic artist Neil Hasevich said, “As long as there is at least one drop of my blood left, I will fight the enemies of the Ukrainian nation. I can’t fight them with weapons, but I fight with a cutter and a chisel.” He did not have one leg, but he had an indomitable spirit.

We believe in our victory. Glory to Ukraine!

Jacques Hnizdovsky, 1954

Myron Levytsky, 1974

George Narbut, 1919

Nil Khasevych, 1950