Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Can you say Ugarit?

Today's post on the Logos Blog details the process of creating a new TrueType font for Ugaritic:

A Semitic language written in cuneiform, Ugaritic was in use around 1300 BC in the city of Ugarit in modern Syria. The city and its language was discovered by archaeologists in 1928. Ugarit literature bears some resemblance to parts of the Hebrew Bible, so it is studied by biblical scholars today.

Logos Research Systems decided to to publish digital editions of a dozen Ugaritic texts and grammars. Since Ugaritic was originally written using a stylus on clay tablets, the font designer had to tackle some thorny questions, such as:
  • How much do you try to emulate the tablets, and how much do you try to emulate later grammars (which often used hand-drawn glyphs)?
  • What are the standard grammars, and how do they draw certain characters?
  • What shape should the wedges be?
  • How tall is each character?
  • Do they have a consistent baseline?
The blog details how the font designer dealt with these obstacles and view some samples of the final product: Zebul Open.

Can you say Ugarit? I knew you could.

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