The abstract of my talk:
Designing Armenian typefaces: researching the past to inspire the present
For centuries, the development of Armenian typefaces was influenced by the historical and political situation in the homeland – until independence in 1991 Armenia was a nation without a country – and particularly in the Armenian Diaspora. The Armenian Diaspora contributed to preserve their script through centuries, while modernising it as a sign of social progress. In the context of Armenian typefaces, preservation and modernisation are both expressions of cultural identity. At different stages in history, the traditional forms of printed Bolorgir typefaces were modified to look modern and Western. This talk aims to reflect upon the preservation of Armenian identity in a global context and to discuss how an understanding of the typographic development of the Armenian script can inform the current design practice. This presentation will provide some visual examples to elucidate how the Armenian typographic heritage, at different stages in history, was shaped according to cultural identity. This presentation will also argue that, even though European conventions have been embedded in Armenian typefaces, in the last few years some features belonging to the Bolorgir style have been progressively reintroduced. This can be interpreted as a desire to preserve tradition and safeguard Armenian culture.