Mentee Guide

Thank you for showing an interest in the Alphabettes Mentorship Program. If you wish to participate your first step will be to fill in the Mentee application form. Here are some notes and recommendations we have put together for you. Following these tips will help us to better understand your goal and to find the best Mentor to guide you through the process of fulfilling it.

Before you apply:

  • Please remember that our Mentors are professional experts who are willing to donate their precious time for you. The program is built to provide you with guidance and advice on a specific matter during a set period of time. It should not to be confused with private tutoring for educational programs or a free of charge consultation for commercial projects
  • Learn about the program from the available resources: read the FAQ, dive into our blog posts, watch our Behind the Scenes video to learn how the program works and watch the Showcase Party video to see how former Mentees described their projects and goals. Make sure you are well informed about how the program works, and in case you have any question, you guessed it, just drop us a note at mentorship@alphabettes.org
  • Filling in the form means that you are ready to actively commit your time as a Mentee for the upcoming term. If you are not sure you are up to it please hold off and apply to the following term
  • When you apply:

  • Make sure you introduce yourself as best you can. What is your background? What are your interests? Don’t be shy; the more you share, the easier it will be to find your best match
  • Be specific about the field in which you seek guidance. You can choose one from: Type design, Font production or Typography or Lettering
  • Within the field you have selected, clarify the topic of your project. You can choose one from: Portfolio & Personal projects, Education & Research or Career & Industry
  • Estimate the appropriate scope and duration of your project. How much time are you able to invest? Are you able to dedicate time for assignments your Mentor may give you? You can choose one from: Up to 1 month, Up to 3 months or Up to 6 months
  • When you describe your project and goals, be as specific as possible. Share your current situation and what it is you are missing. Expand on your needs and expectations of the mentorship program
  • Think about how a Mentor can help you accomplish your goal. How will you benefit from your Mentor’s guidance and advice?
  • Note that the more focused you are on what it is you are looking for the faster it is for us to help you find it! If you are unsure or struggling to articulate your goal, or have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact us before you fill in the form
  • Here is the Autumn 2021 Mentee application form

    After you apply:

  • You did it! Sit back, relax and – be patient. As soon as you apply you will be considered for the current term. However, it takes time to process your application and find a great match for your needs
  • Mentoring is a fantastic tool to empower others, grow confidence and new skills, and both our Mentees and Mentors have found the relationship transformative and fulfilling. We hope this has helped you with applying as a Mentee and we look forward to having you join us!

    Alessia, Eleni, Liron, Veronika and Shani

Calling All Mentors!


Join us for the autumn term to make a real impact! Simply fill in this form and wait to be matched.

* Not sure you could be a mentor? If you are unsure you are a good fit to join as a Mentor send us message we will chat with you about it. Most likely you ARE a great fit, and can really help making a change in people’s lives
* Worried about the commitment? If this is a busy time for you, you can sign up for as little as a 1 month program (about 4 sessions). You get to decide with the Mentee your preferred method of communication: Zoom, email, Slack or a combination
* How is the schedule? The sessions are flexible in time and dates, and you set them with your Mentee in a way which will make it work for both of you
* Will I need to be a mentor forever? We have two annual terms: spring and autumn. After every term, we check in to confirm with you that you are happy to continue. If you feel like you need a break, you can always pause
* What if I’m not a type designer? We have so many topics that Mentees are seeking guidance on: research, education, lettering, font production, business, writing, typography. If you are in type, you can be a huge help!
* Can only women be Mentors? Not at all! Everyone is welcome. Since Alphabettes is a network supporting woman, we centre a woman in every pair
* Want to hear more? We can send you a recording of a previous Q&A session we did for Mentors. Just email us at mentorship@alphabettes.org

We look forward to having you on our team!
Alessia, Eleni, Liron, Veronika and Shani

Thank you Alphabettes Mentors!

As we are wrapping up the Mentorship spring term we wish to thank all our dedicated Mentors from the bottom of our hearts. THANK YOU for being so generous with your time and for your invaluable guidance. Your help made a huge difference and we truly appreciate it!

The AMP team,
Alessia, Eleni, Liron, Shani, and Veronika

Thank you Mentors!

Remember December:
The Important Job of the Left Thumb

Let me tell you the story of how I learnt to appreciate my left thumb. In the summer of 2017 I had the privilege of receiving the RIT Cary Graphic Arts Collection summer research fellowship.
This fellowship is offered yearly to scholars so that they can come and use the collection in person. I spent one heavenly month studying the archive of Ismar David, the designer of the first comprehensive Hebrew typeface family.

The Cary Graphic Arts Collection (aka: The Cary) is a rare book library on the history of the graphic arts. The original collection was assembled by Melbert B. Cary, Jr. during the 1920s and 1930s. Cary was the director of the Continental Type Founders Association, a former president of the AIGA and the proprietor of the Woolly Whale Press. He collected printers’ manuals, type specimens, and books on the art of printing. In 1969, his collection of some 2,300 items was presented to the RIT. Today, it houses around 40,000 volumes, manuscripts and correspondence, on bookbinding, paper making, type design, calligraphy and book illustration.

One of the exciting things about The Cary is that although many of the items in the library are rare, access is given to visitors. With the supervision and assistance of the staff, the resources can be examined and studied in the reading room, in very LOW temperatures. So, after making your appointment, be sure to bring a sweater and you can enjoy the rare items and be well preserved with them.

Another thrilling aspect of The Cary is that it is not only a collection of printed matter, it is also a collection of the technology used for its production. The Arthur M. Lowenthal Memorial Pressroom holds some historic printing presses including a 1874 Columbian press, an Albion press that was once owned by Goudy, a Vandercook press from the 60s and a William Morris’ Kelmscott Press. All the presses are functional and regularly maintained. Complementing the presses the collection holds various kinds of metal and wood typefaces.

The Arthur M. Lowenthal Memorial Pressroom
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Lost and found
(and lost again)

Exploring the first multi-style Hebrew typeface family

Lost
Hebrew was the language of the Israelite and Judean people for over 1,300 years when around 200 BCE, it died as an everyday language and was confined to religious use.1 This affected the Hebrew script heavily, since it only developed those attributes that were necessary to present specific religious texts. Therefore, Hebrew is lacking the typographic tools that would have evolved and developed from an ongoing secular use. Moreover, the Hebrew script was considered sacred. The scribes that were permitted to write manuscripts were concerned with preserving the letterform appearance, even at the expense of the ease and speed in which they could be read.2
Hebrew was reintroduced as a spoken language in the 1880s. Since then, it experienced an accelerated process of revival. The shift from the written form to movable type was a hastened and interrupted one and did not allow for refinement and distillation of the letterforms.

Setting type in the Hebrew script was and still is a frustrating experience. Not only there is a shortage in typefaces which sufficiently address specific Hebrew script issues, but the few that are available mostly consist of a single regular style, accompanied by a small number of weight variations. So, what is a Hebrew typesetter to do when trying to create differentiation within a text? I remember how pleased I was when I found a book published in 1905 in Minsk. In it I spotted one spread that seemed tailor-made to answer my question. The typesetter used different typefaces, different sizes, increased letter spacing and underlining. These were amongst the popular typographic solutions throughout the 20th century.


A spread from the book printed in 1905 in Minsk showing the various ways to handle word differentiation and emphasis without a typeface family: 1. Underlining a word. 2. A different typeface, in a different size. 3. Increased letter spacing.

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