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Hrant H. Papazian

Specialist in Armenian typeface design. Interested in multi-script typography, readability and notan... and everything else.


Hrant H. Papazian
Last Active
  • Re: Optical compensations and writing tools

    To start the discussion, let me ask:
    1. How do writing tools, or the heritage thereof, influence our perception of letter shapes, and thus the optical compensations employed by typedesigners?
    2. To what extend can we find evidence for the influence of writing tools on optical compensations in different scripts?

    A non-exhaustive list of (debatable) examples:
    a. Horizontals that are thinner than verticals look the same
    b. Strokes in south-eastern direction that are thicker than strokes in north-eastern direction look the same (to me, at least)
    c. Does b also apply to the corresponding directions of parts of a circle/curve?
    Looking forward to your thesis!

    1: Chirography influences us in two ways:
    — Being taught to render letters by hand makes us gravitate towards forms where the black was painted. (With the decrease in handwriting this is waning.)
    — Simply being exposed to letterforms that reference particular tools (which can be effectively extinct, such as the broad-nib pen, or alive for now, such as the pixel) makes us see such forms as normal, hence generally desirable. (Fortunately the human mind –especially before puberty– can easily get used to new things.)
    2. If anything this influence causes a lesser desire to optically correct; attenuating any optical ill effects of the tool is sort of the exception that proves the rule.

    Concerning your list of examples, @Thomas Phinney once compiled a nice set.

    Concerning writing systems that conventionally have horizontal contrast, some interesting discussion:
  • Re: Usefulness of Emoji in a fun example

    My hostility towards emoji has nothing to do with type design, it has to do with believing in communication that does not reduce us to the level of livestock, to make us easier to control.

    My favorite examples of emoji are when they backstab you. Like in this case where you're a feminist, while on many of the world's devices it looks like you're running away from women:

  • Re: Raeniao

    In fact the flexibility now afforded by variable fonts is causing some designers to lose focus.
  • Re: Raeniao

    I think the proportion of ascenders to descenders is solid; it's the "g" that's making the latter look cramped (and it should be fixed, although it should not be made too "happy" at the expense of the whole). In fact not lining things up is the biggest "secret" in type design.
  • Re: Looking for examples of Latin and Non-Latin side-by-side communication

    Superb topic.

    The examples that immediately come to mind are: Aravrit, Balkan, Hangulatin and this by Ine Beerten:

    There are a few more which I'll try to remember.

    BTW you might appreciate this Flickr group: