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«1 Introduction Information about Hebrew type and typesetting is available, but hard to find. Information about the design and use of typefaces and ...»

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• Entry “typgraphy”. Encyclopedia Judaica, 15:1480–1488, Keter, Jerusalem,

1971. In Hebrew. This version includes different typeface samples from the other versions.

• The development of Hebrew lettering. Ariel, a Review of Arts and Letters in Israel, 37:4–28, 1974. Translated into English by Shirley Shpira. This article was reprinted for The Typophiles by the Israel Ministry for Foreign Affairs.

[13] Ittai Tamari, Curator. New Hebrew Letter Type. An exhibition catalog in Hebrew and English. University Gallery, Tel Aviv University, Israel, 1985. Includes an introductory article by Tamari under the title “Milestones in the development of the Hebrew letter.” ¨˙ȇËÈÒ¯·È ‡‰ ‰È¯Ï‚‰ Æ˙ÈÏ‚ ‡Â ˙ȯ·Ú· ‰Î¯Ú˙ ‚ÂÏ˘ Ɖ˘„Á ˙ȯ·Ú ˙‡ ƯˆÂ‡ ¨È¯Ó˙ È˙‡ ÔÂȈ ˙„˜ ¢ ˙¯˙ÂΉ ˙Á˙ ȯÓ˙ ˙‡Ó ‰Ó„˜‰ ÏÏÂΠƉ¢Ó˘˙ ¨·È·‡ Ï˙ ˙ËÈÒ¯·È ‡ Æ¢˙ȯ·Ú‰ ˙‡‰ ˙ÂÁ˙Ù˙‰· This exhibition catalog displays and describes seven hebrew typefaces and provides brief biographies of their designers. The faces described are AHARONI by Tuvia Aharoni, GILL by Eric Gill, CHAYIM by Jan Le Witt, HADASSAH by Henri Friedlaender, NARKISS by Zvi Narkiss, KOREN by Eliyahu Koren, and SCHOKEN by Francisca Baruch. Besides examples of each typeface, the catalog also shows preliminary drawings of HADASSAH, NARKISS, and SCHOCKEN and unissued slanted versions of HADASSAH and NARKISS. The catalog points out that in CHAYIM, some letters are redesigned in the larger sizes. A few additional typefaces by Zvi Narkiss are also shown: NARKISS BLOCK, NARKISS TAM, NARKISS CHADASH, and NARKISSIM. The catalog also points out that Francisca Baruch also designed STAM, RACHEL, and RAMBAM.

[14] Ittai Joseph Tamari. Digitization of Hebrew fonts, or: some evolutional evaluations.

Proceedings of the International Conference on Raster Imaging and Digital Typography, Lausanne, October 1989, pages 188–197. Published by Cambridge University Press.

The paper discusses the FRANK-RÜHL typeface and its many variations. This typeface is the preeminent Hebrew text face today. Tamari points out that Linotype is the only type manufacturer that licensed the design from Berthold, that many of the unlicensed copies are of poor quality, and that most Israeli newspapers and many publishers use these poor fonts. The variants that are described are the 1911 original design issued by Berthold, Linotype’s and Monotype’s hotmetal linecasting fonts, (Monotype calls its FRANK-RÜHL types PENINIM), a phototypesetting font from AM International, and digital fonts from Linotype and Autologic.

[15] Ittai Joseph Tamari. HebraischeSchriftgestaltunginDeutschlandvonderJahrhundertwende bis zum Ausbruch des zweiten Weltkrieges unter besonderer Berucksichtigung der “Frank-Rühl” Lettern. In German. Ph.D. thesis, Johannes Gutenberg Universitat, Mainz, 1993. Published on microfiche, Hansel-Hohenhausen, 1996.

I cannot comment about the content since I do not read German. Includes numerous examples of Hebrew type and an extensive bibliography.

[16] Ada Yardeni. The book of Hebrew Script. Karta, Jerusalem, 1991.

Ƈ¢ ˘˙ ¨ÌÈÏ˘Â¯È ¨‡Ë¯Î ƷˆÈÚ ¨˙  ‚Ò ¨˙„ÂÒÈ ¨˙„ÏÂ˙ ∫ȯ·Ú‰ ·˙Ή ¯ÙÒ ÆÈ „¯È ‰„Ú This large book is completely devoted to the Hebrew script. The third chapter focuses on the printed Hebrew letter and displays samples of many typefaces including FRANK-RÜHL, PENINIM, NARKISS, NARKISSIM, ORON, CHAIM, AHARONI,


and ADA. The last two were designed by Yardeni. The eight chapter discusses the typeface design in general and in Hebrew in particular. All the illustrative examples show Hebrew typefaces. The chapter describes the design of individual letters and of entire typefaces. Yardeni points out the importance and means of maintaining color and rythm. The chapter also discusses modifying typefaces. Another issue that is covered in some detail is the design and placement of vowel points.

Figure 7: ATF typefaces: HEBREW NO. 1 (four top lines) and HEBREW NO. 2 (bottom three lines). Reproduced from [18].

3 Typeface Specimen Books This section includes references to old typeface specimen books that might be of some historical interest. The Berthold Catalog [18] is important: it is the first catalog that I found to display two important modern typefaces, FRANK-RÜHL and MIRYAM. The rest is a fairly random selection.

Specimens of Hebrew typefaces are also displayed in all the articles cited in Section 2. Specimen sheets are also available for many of the digital Hebrew fonts that are currently sold. Agfa-Monotype, Elsner and Flake, and Masterfont (www.masterfont.co.il) are suppliers of high-quality Hebrew fonts.

[17] American Type Founders Company. Desk Book of Type Specimens. [San Francisco], 1900.

This catalog shows two square Hebrew typefaces, HEBREW NO. 1 and HEBREW NO. 2, and a Rashi typeface called RABBINIC. HEBREW NO. 1 includes vowel and cantillation points and is intended for “classical works”, and HEBREW NO. 2 is designed for newspapers.

[18] H. Berthold AG. Schriftgiessereien und Messinglinien-Fabriken Aktien-Gesellschaft.

With a preface by Joseph Tscherkassky in German, Yiddish, Arabic, English, Hebrew, French, and Polish. Berlin, 1924.

This catalog of Hebrew typefaces displays five text faces: MIRYAM, FRANK-RÜHL, MAGALITH, MERUBA, and RAHSI, and four fonts of decorated initials. FRANKRÜHL, MAGALITH, and MERUBA are also shown with vowel points. The catalog Figure 8: Four Berthold typefaces. From top to bottom: FRANK-RÜHL, MERUBA, STAM (all reproduced from [7]), and MIRYAM, (reproduced from [18]).

shows text blocks set in each of the fonts as well as sample book pages, ads, and so on.

[19] W. Drugulin. Die Schriften der Offizin W. Drugulin. Leipzig, 1927-1928.

A type catalog in two volumes, compiled by F. H. Ehmcke in Munich. Volume 2, printed in 1928 and labeled “Tweiter Teil: Fremdsprachen”, contains samples of

Hebrew and other non-latin typefaces. Volume 1, printed in 1927, shows samples of latin typefaces. Volume 1 shows samples of several Hebrew typefaces:

HEBRÄISCH I, HEBRÄISCH II, HEBRÄISCH IV, MAGALITH, MARUBA (MERUBA), RABBINISCH, and SCHREIBSCHRIFT. HEBRÄISCH I is a somewhat rounded typeface shown in one display size. HEBRÄISCH II is also a display typeface, shown in an even larger size; it has Bodoni style hairline serifs. HEBRÄISCH IV is a text typeface, shown in five sizes with and without vowel and cantillation marks. It has low contrast and is fairly rounded. MAGALITH is a high-contrast square text typeface shown in one size, with and without vowel and cantillation marks.

MARUBA is very similar to MAGALITH, shown in one size (larger than the MAGALITH sample). Two different typefaces are called RABBINISCH in the catalog.

The smaller size, RABBINISCH KORPUS, is a Rashi typeface. The larger size, RABBINISCH CICERO, is a half-cursive typeface (see FRIEDLAENDER90 for a sample and a brief discussion of this typeface). SCHREIBSCHRIFT is a handwriting typeface, shown in one size.

[20] Intertype Corporation. Intertype Faces: One-Line Specimens Arranged by Point Size.

New York, 1948.

The catalog displays several Hebrew typefaces: FRANK-RÜHL, MIRYAM (listed Figure 9: Drugulin typefaces. Sizes, according to the German system, are given in parenthesis. From top to bottom: HEBRÄISCH II (Grobe Kanon), HEBRÄISCH I (Doppelmittlel), MARUBA (MERUBA, Text), HEBRÄISCH IV (Cicero), SCHREIBSCHRIFT (Korpus), RABBINISCHE (Cicero), and RABBINISCHE (Korpus). reproduced from [?].

Figure 10: Intertype faces: HEBREW CONDENSED (top), and HEBREW MODERN (bottom). Reproduced from [21].

as MIRJAM), HEBREW, HEBREW NO. 1 (which appears to be a different from ATF’s HEBREW NO. 1 [18]). HEBREW NO. 2, HEBREW MODERN, HEBREW CONDENSED, RABBINIC, and RASCHI. All but the last two are square faces. RABBINIC, and RASCHI are rashi-script typefaces. Earlier Intertype catalogs, for example from 1930 and 1946, also display Hebrew typefaces.

[21] Letraset Limited. [A Catalog of Hebrew Typefaces]. 1986.

This catalog of dry-transfer typefaces shows 40 Hebrew typefaces, and a 1987 specimen sheet shows another one. Some of the typefaces come in several weights and widthds. Some of the typefaces are designed to match specific Latin typefaces, which the the catalog specifies. Two typefaces, MEIR DAN and MOSHE AMAR, include 2 or 3 varations for some of the letters. The typefaces that are displayed are AHARONI (for use with GROTESQUE 216), ORON, (for use with the Latin UNIVERS), EYAL (a variation of HAZVI), ANNONCE GROTESQUE (for use with the Latin ANNONCE GROTESQUE), ARMON, BEN-YEHUDA, GAD (for use with ANTIQUE OLIVE and FOLIO), GROTESQUE 7 (for use with the Latin ANNONCE 7), GROTESQUE 9 (for use with the Latin ANNONCE 9), DAVID, DAN (for use with HELVETICA), HADAS (HADASSAH), HAZVI, VENUS (for use with the Latin VENUS and with ANNONCE GROTESQUE), ZOREA, HOMA, HAIM, UNIVERS (for use with the Latin UNIVERS and with HELVETICA), MEIR DAN (for use with AVANT GARDE), MIZRAHI, MICROGRAMMA (for use with Latin MICROGRAMMA and with EUROSTYLE), MIRYAM, MOSHE AMAR (for use with FRANKFURTER), NARKIS (NARKIS BLOCK, mostly designed to be used with FOLIO, but some fonts designed to be used with VENUS, ANNONCE GROTESQUE, and FUTURA), NARKISS TAM, STAM (somewhat similar to MERUBA, but unrelated to Berthold’s STAM), IRIT (for use with FUTURA), AMIT (for use with FOLIO and FUTURA), ETZ ATIK, POLLY (for use with FLASH), FRUAK-RÜHL, AMRAM PRATH (for use with LINEAR and PUMP), ADI (for use with DIN), ZWIAH, COMPACTA (for use with the Latin COMPACTA), ROLI BAZAK (for use with FLASH), ROLI ATID (for use with FUTURA), Figure 11: Letraset typefaces. From top to bottom: AMRAM PRATH, ZOREA, GAD,


ROLI BAZAK, and YAHALOM, Reproduced from [21].

Figure 12: Linotype typefaces: HEBREW (top two lines), HEBREW CONDENSED, and HEBREW EXTRA CONDENSED (bottom). Reproduced from [22].

RACHEL (unrelated to Francisca Baruch’s RACHEL), SHMUEL, and TEL VARDI (for use with UNIVERS and COMPACTA). The loose specimen sheet shows YAHALOM, a formal script.

[22] Mergenthaler Linotype Company. Specimen Book: Linotype Faces. Brooklyn, New York, 1939.

This catalog displays several Hebrew typefaces. HEBREW, HEBREW NO. 2, HEBREW NO. 3 (a version of MIRYAM), HEBREW CONDENSED, and HEBREW EXTRA CONDENSED. HEBREW and HEBREW NO. 3 are also shown in an oblique (slanted) version, HEBREW is shown in medium and light weights, and HEBREW NO. 2 in medium and bold. The catalog claims that HEBREW NO. 3 “introduces the modern sans serif design to Hebrew Types.” In fact, however, this typeface is a version of MIRYAM that appeared in a Berthold Catalog [18] fifteen years earlier.

A Linotype catalog from 1920 also shows a single Hebrew typeface, HEBREW.

4 Readability

This section lists articles that focus on readability and legibility in Hebrew. Legibility is also discussed, of course, in many of the articles about typefaces listed in Section 2.

[23] Joseph Shimron and David Navon. The distribution of visual information in the vertical dimension of Roman and Hebrew letters. Visible Language, 14(1980), pp.


The paper shows, using experiments, that a mutilated Hebrew text containing only the bottom part of letters is more readable than a mutilated text containing only the top part of letters. The opposite is true for English. The authors conclude that most of the information is contained in the bottom halves of Hebrew letters as opposed to the top halves of Latin letters. Bigelow and Holmes state that they have used this study in their design of the Hebrew letters in LUCIDA UNICODE [4].

[24] Ittai Joseph Tamari. Decipherability, legibility and readability of modern Hebrew typefaces. in Raster Imaging and Digital Typography II, Robert A. Morris and Jacques André, editors, Cambridge University Press, 1991, pages 128–136.

This paper touches on several topics that are not tightly integrated. Tamari describes the Hebrew writing system, including the alphabet important properties of the letter forms, diacritical marks, and orthography. He than briefly displays and describes a few Hebrew typefaces: FRANK-RÜHL, DRUGULIN, HADASSAH, DAVID, NARKISS, and NARKISS CHADASH. He concludes with a few remarks about the process of reading Hebrew and the conservatism of Hebrew printers.

5 Typography

This sections lists publications that discuss how Hebrew is typeset from the graphic point of view.. Technical aspects of computer typesetting of Hebrew are covered in Section 6.

[25] Aharon Cohen. [Correct word division in Hebrew]. In Hebrew. Olam Ha-Defus Volume 3, Number 9/33, July 1960, page 131.

Ʊπ∂∞ ÈÏÂÈ ¨ÒÂÙ„‰ ÌÏÂÚ Æ˙ȯ·Ú· ‰ ÂÎ ÌÈÏÓ ˙˜ÂÏÁ ÆԉΠԯ‰‡ This article suggests rules for word division in Hebrew. Using the suggested rules requires a thorough knowledge of Hebrew grammar.

[26] Shalom Eilati and Varda Lenard. Guide for contributors. In Hebrew. An addendum to Katedra 70, 1994.

Æ„¢ ˘˙ ¨‰¯„˙˜Ï ÁÙÒ ÆÌȯ·ÁÓÏ ˙ÂÈÁ ‰ Æ„¯ Ï ‰„¯Â È˙Ïȇ ÌÂÏ˘ This is a condensed “manual of style” for a Humanities journal in Hebrew. It describes current typographic conventions for both English and Hebrew materials. Perhaps the most important convention requires the use of a bold face in Hebrew where an italic face would be used in English, such as in cited book titles. Slanted or cursive Hebrew faces are not mentioned at all. (Slanted and cursive typefaces are used, however, in current Hebrew typography.) [27] Herman Frank. Jewish Typography and Bookmaking Art. In Yiddish.

¯ÚˆÚÊËÙȯ˘ ¯Ú˘È„ȇ ÆËÒ Â˜ ‚ ÂËÚa¯Ã‡Òȇ ÍÂa Ô‡ ÚÈÙǯ‚fi‡tÈË Ú˘È„È‡ Ƙ ‡¯Ù Ô‡Ó¯Ú‰ Ʊπ≥∏ ¨˜¯ÂÈ–ÂÈ ¨∏≥ ÆÓ ¨Ô‡È ÂÈ I cannot comment on the content since I do not read Yiddish. Includes several type speciments of 19th century typefaces and of FRANK-RÜHL.

[28] Henri Friedlaender. [On Letters and Digits]. Hadassah Printing School, Jerusalem, 1960.

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