Hebrew Typography: A Modern Progression of Language Form


Typography is the study of alphabetic letterforms from varying linguistic cultures, and is interdisciplinary as it incorporates multiple subjects such as sociology, linguistics, psychology, and aesthetics. As “phonetic images”, typographic characters develop a connection between seeing and comprehending a message by the viewer. The development of Hebrew typography from 20th century modernity, provided a climate for a “new era” in Hebrew letterform design. The newly formed Jewish state of Israel, encouraging a “revival” of the Hebrew language, developed a need for the visual Hebrew language to progress. The article will review developments of Hebrew typography through the early formation of the Jewish state of Israel, and discusses the work of Eliyahu Koren in his creation of the Koren Bible type and Koren Tanakh.


Keywords: Visual Communication, Typgraphy, Hebrew

The Bezelel Academy of Art, Jerusalem: Founding Years



The Bezelel Academy of Art, Jerusalem was founded in 1906 by Lithuanian artist and Zionist, Boris Schatz. In the early years of the academy, work produced by students exhibited the political complexities presented in the Jewish return to Eretz Israel through the expression of concepts based on modern Jewish identity and Zionist ideologies. As most faculty and students had immigrated to the state from Europe, the academy’s curriculum was developed through the design aesthetics of modern European art incorporated with Jewish and Hebrew historical symbolism, allegory, and text. This essay discusses the history, theories, and aesthetics influencing the Bezelel Academy of Art, Jerusalem in the founding years, and analyses the visual documentation and design of 20th century Israeli Artist / Designer, Yaakov Stark.


Keywords: Visual Art, Typography, Israel, Zionism

Israeli Linguistic Landscape and Contemporary Hebrew Typography


Abstract: Typography is written language presented in aesthetic form to visually communicate a message to a public audience. Within the state of Israel, the typography of public spaces presents a unique situation in which bilingual and multilingual signs are common within the linguistic landscape. This paper reflects the concepts of contemporary multilingual typography within Israeli urban landscape by offering discourse in the history, purpose and aesthetics of Israeli typographic design. The paper includes discussions with three Israeli designers who describe their perspectives in Israeli multilingual typographic design.


Key words: Typography, Visual Communication, Linguistic Landscape

Multilingual Typography;
Signs and Language in Israeli Urban Culture

Abstract: Ellen Lupton stated, [typography is]  “the tool for doing things with: shaping content, giving language a physical body, enabling the social flow of messages.” Typography is a main element of visual communication and graphic design. It is written language presented in aesthetic form to communicate a message to a public audience and has a very important and contemporary position globally. (Ertep, 2011) Typography allows viewers to navigate a flow of content, offering a system of hierarchy in design with text and image. 

Within the state of Israel, the typography of public spaces presents three languages; Hebrew and Arabic (official), and English (semi-official). This linguistic structure is re-established within the visual presentation of typography upon the country’s linguistic landscape. Currently, trilingual signage is a commonality of Israel’s urban environment, where letterforms of Hebrew, Arabic, and English are presented to supply a translation of the same information. This essay examines the culmination of Hebrew, Arabic, and English typography within Israeli public spaces and explores visual strategies in multilingual design.

Keywords: typography, visual communication, linguistic landscape, and language preference

Design Comparison


Linguistic landscape refers to the visual language presented in public spaces. Municipal signage, store front signage, brand / identity materials, billboards, advertisements, are examples of forms contributing to the presentation of visual language within the environment. As a young country with multiple official languages, Israeli culture offers a unique perspective in studying the typography and design of visual signs and forms.

The article examines the work of three Israeli designers; Hannah Gelman, Yaniv Zarfati, and Liron Lavi Turkenich. Each designer utilizes typographic characters in their own style and purpose, communicating language not of their mother tongue. Through there work and practice, the designers present a perspective and dialogue in multilingual visual communication. Developed through interviews and analysis, the article focuses on the designers’ use of language and typography in their work, and addresses the concepts and processes used in developing the projects.

Keywords: linguistic landscape, visual communication, multilingual typography

Cross-cultural advertising In a Global Society
(Undergraduate Research Team: Franziska Pirkl, Adam Albrecht, Kevin Chaouat)

Abstract: Cross-cultural advertising is the branding and marketing of products and/or services to several diverse cultures simultaneously. Through the rise of globalization and the development of American corporations throughout the globe, cross-cultural advertising is a way of the future, allowing corporations to increase target markets and lead to a rise in annual profits. Since global cultures differ in values, the process of cross-cultural advertising is a sensitive practice requiring visual communication to vary in content: language, image, message, and media. 

Keywords: cross-culture advertising, visual communication, branding, marketing

Bilingual Typography: Study of the Linguistic Landscape of Jeddah, KSA

Abstract: With the rise of globalization and the spread of western culture throughout the globe, the use of English as an “international” language is often presented in bilingual and multilingual typographic signage. Throughout the Middle East and Gulf region, the integration of Arabic and Latin letterforms is commonly viewed within the signage of storefronts, street signs, advertising billboards, and informational materials. This paper explores the use of bilingual/multilingual typography within the linguistic landscape of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. 

Keywords: visual communication, bilingual typography, linguistic landscape, globalization