Crown, Keren & Koreen (aka Koren)

gohebrew's picture

Eliyahu Korngold, later Koren, was considered one of the greatest Hebrew type designers during the mid 20th century.

Koren's landmark work, named after his Israelized surname, was initially created in the 1950s. The design was based upon a hand-written document of the section of the Prophets, attributed to the Moshe ben Asher geneza, of scrolls belonging to the Karaite community, a pariah sect to normative Judaism.

This design was drawn and redrawn many times, both before and after his employment by the Koren Publishers Jerusalem Ltd., which he founded in 1961. Koren spent most of his career at the Jewish National Fund, where most of this typeface design was created, under the JNF's auspices.

The design was finally used in the Koren Bible in 1962, but was never created as an outline typeface. Koren printed his siddur in 1981 at the age of 74. Instead, a digital type company in Israel used its software code for two products: the Koren Bible typeface, and its own identical typeface. Later, the Israeli company called 'Koreen' (and widened one letter). Koren approved the design.

Shmuel Guttman created another typeface, called 'Keren', in digital form in 1993, prior to the Koren Bible digital typeface. His typeface features many significant differences, but maintains the basic look-and-feel of the Koren Bible design. Koren never approved Guttman's design.

I also created a set of typeface software, which I called 'Crown'. They are based upon large drawings created by an unnamed talented graphic artist, perhaps from the former USSR. The software was created in the United States, where it was registered for US Copyright at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, in 1989. My design is based upon ancient manuscripts as well, and modified to comply with the various instructions, as expressed in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eliyahu_Koren, regarding legibility and readability.

gohebrew's picture

Crown

gohebrew's picture

Shmuel Guttman's Keren

Can you spot his design improvements?

gohebrew's picture

Look close at Koreen and Koren

Are they the very same, except for the hei?

gohebrew's picture

Now at Shmuel Guttman's Keren.

Are they really the same?

gohebrew's picture

The Lamed and the Ayin:
Eliyahu Koren's Biggest Failings

gohebrew's picture

Why were these Eliyahu Koren's giant failings?
Why were these Shmuel Guttmann's great improvements?

gohebrew's picture

Take a good look at each one again.

Koren's in in blue (cyan), and Guttman's is in red.

Let us superimpose the Koren version over Guttman's version.
We see that they have different dimensions. But most importantly, the special unique quality that Guttman introduced is blocked.

gohebrew's picture

PK, let us look at the ayins now.

Take a good look at each one again.

Koren's in in blue (cyan), and Guttman's is in red.

Let us superimpose the Koren version over Guttman's version.
We see that they have different dimensions. But most importantly, the special unique quality that Guttman introduced is blocked.

So, what are the differences?

gohebrew's picture

OK. I give up. What is the difference?

Why is this significant, as we all learn in art school?

gohebrew's picture

Significance of a Large Graphic Element at the Top of an Image and a Smaller Graphic Element at the Bottom of an Image

The eye of every viewer moves from top to bottom. This is known as "eye movement". It starts naturally at the top of an image, and moves down to the bottom of the image. Without an unusual additional graphic image at the bottom of the image, the artist risks losing the viewers interest before they reach the the bottom of the image. This is a basic concept taught in art school. Guttmann applied it to the graphic form of the lamed; Koren did not.

If we look in very old Hebrew manuscripts, early scribes failed to include this feature, because of either the nature of scribal arts, or because the issue of expedience. Yet, we see in all later letter form designs, type designers included this feature. The only exceptions to these rules are sans serif mono-lined letter-forms, like those of Tzvi Narkiss.

gohebrew's picture

What about the Ayin?
How did Guttman correct the fundamental flaw which Koren failed to address?

gohebrew's picture

How is the Ayin of Guttmann different than the Ayin of Koren?
Why is Guttmann's a major improvement, specifically for Biblical Text?

gohebrew's picture

The difference that stands out is the slope of the lower leftwards bar of the Ayin.
Koren's slope is way too low, and will collide into taam combined with nikud.
The angle of Guttman's slope is less degrees, and will collide much less.
For this reason, more than any other, Koren had to set his so-called "classic" Koren Bible with the nikud, taam, and meteg so far below the Hebrew text.

gohebrew's picture

I handle the Ayin in a different way, by introducing a new form of Ayin, where the lower left bar is raised completely to the baseline, while preserving a lower left bar when there are no diacriticals.

See the following example. Place your attention on the green colored combinations.

david h's picture

Israel,

Your design vs. Koren; so I don't get the "Let us superimpose the Koren version over Guttman's version.
We see that they have different dimensions. But most importantly, the special unique quality that Guttman introduced is blocked"

Post a sample, a pdf, 8pt, to 15pt (with/without nikkud), Koren, Crown etc etc something like this:

I don't 'read' letters, but words.

gohebrew's picture

Guttman's Keren vs JNF's Koren used by KPJ

David,

Besides introducing new dimensions to all letters, Shmuel Guttmann also created a new lamed, which is graphically correct, and a new ayin, to allow better placement of diacritic marks, as shown above, and demonstrated again below.

Here, Guttmann raised the lower vertical bar on the left side, to allow better placement of diacritic marks.

Here, Guttman added a notch on the end of the lower vertical bar, creating better balance and adhering to a principle taught in art school.

In the context or a comparison of words, see this example.

gohebrew's picture

Here is a larger example.

gohebrew's picture

The more I look at the very letters of Guttman's design, I seeing more and more design improvements.

Clearly, KPJ should drop this suit against Microsoft. If anything JNF should sue them on legitimate grounds.

I think I want to redraw my Crown, and rename it Guttman!

quadibloc's picture

I have found a Hebrew manuscript the writing in which suggests some features of Koren. It is... somewhat "hidden in plain sight". I may have noted it in passing, while looking about for a closer match.

The Aleppo Codex.

I agree that Shmuel Guttman's Keren has features which are not present in Koren. But even if I preferred that typeface because of those features, I would be very hesitant in characterizing those features as "design improvements", or otherwise implying that they made the face objectively better.

To me, that seems like pointing at the letter "h" in Times Roman, indicating the serifs, and comparing it with Helvetica, and then concluding that Times Roman is much better than Helvetica, because the people who designed Helvetica left out this important feature.

Yes, Koren is missing features you would find in Drugulin or Frank-Ruehl. But that was an intentional result of the kind of typeface it was intended to be. Keren was perhaps less daring, and put back subtle vestiges of the more conventional faces. That doesn't seem to be a design mistake either way, but a matter of taste in both cases.

gohebrew's picture

John S.,

Thank you for your comments and observations. They are always thoughtful and reflect much perception.

I am curious about which document you found, and why it is "hidden in plain sight". Are you referring to the Aleppo Codex, found at http://www.aleppocodex.org/aleppocodex.html.

Clearly, this and Moshe ben Asher's father codex were Eliyahu Koren's major influences.

We agree to disagree abput whether Shmuel Gutmann's contributions to Keren, a derivative work of Eliyahu Koren's Koren, were in deed "design improvements".

Clear, in my opinion, they are not comparable to the differences in Times-Roman and in Helvetica, for they are not radical, but very subtle.

As David pointed out, the dimensions of Keren are better suiting to typesetting that those of Koren. Remember, Koren worked from sketches of hand-scribed letters of ancient documents; they were not typeset documents.

As I pointed out, the letter forms feature minor details that enhance the letter forms and are in tune with good rules of graphic design from any proper art school. Eliyahu Koren was not interested in enhancing the shapes of the Koren letter form, or adhering to good rules of graphic design from any proper art school. He want to recreate an ancient design for modern typesetting of the Bible.

In my view, his creation is either the property of his first employee, the Jewish National Fund, under whom he created most of what we know as Koren, or to his direct descendants - according to Jewish law only. Yet, since the JNF has clearly forfeited its rights, the rights to the Koren design are in the public domain, as it the text of the Bible.

Certainly, Shmuel Gutmann's design enhancements are significant enough to render his version, called Keren, a creative work, just as Goudy's Garamond has been usurped by Adobe Garamond for the latter's creative work.

raphaelfreeman's picture

This is very very funny indeed. You are comparing 4 interpretations of the Koren font to each other. You should be comparing them to the original thing that Eliyahu Koren designed.

NONE OF THESE FONTS ABOVE WERE DESIGNED BY ELIYAHU KOREN.

Koreen MF and Koren MF of course are the same. Who said they were different? THEY ARE THE SAME FONT issued by Masterfont. IT IS NOT THE REAL KOREN FONT.

If anybody would like to buy the real Koren font design by Eliyahu Koren, they are welcome to purchase it from Masterfont. But please, DO NOT JUDGE THE KOREN FONT from the interpretations above.

gohebrew's picture

Raphael,

What is the "real Koren font"?

Clearly, it is not software, using scalable outline typeface software.

Is it what appears in the Koren Bible?
Is it based upon the final set of drawings that Koren drew?
Have they ever been published?

What exactly is for sale at Masterfont, if not the Koren MF or Koreen MF fonts?

What is the difference between the real Koren font design by Eliyahu Koren, and between Koreen MF and Koren MF?

raphaelfreeman's picture

What I call the "real Koren font", is the font that Eliyahu Koren designed and appears in the Koren Bible and all Koren books including siddurim, machzorim etc.

I'm not talking about software since this is a forum about type. Once upon a time it was lead, now it's Opentype and in the middle various technologies such as linotype etc were in the middle.

Masterfont sells 2 fonts under the Koren name. Until 3 years ago, they sold an interpretation of Koren that they called Koreen MF and Koren MF (I don't know why the name changed or when) and they now also sell the Koren font that Eliyahu Koren designed which we licensed to them under exclusive arrangement. It's not "based" on anything, they are one and the same. The Koren Tanakh font that is available from Masterfont is identical to what is in the Tanakh. If you don't believe me, go to www.korenpub.com, buy an original Koren Bible from 1962, http://www.korenpub.com/EN/products/tanakh/sifrei_tanakh/9789653010741 and then buy a Koren Sacks Siddur (a little cheaper) http://www.korenpub.com/EN/products/siddur/Shabbat_Siddurim/9789653010673 and you can compare for yourself.

In terms of comparison, your Crown is much similar to KoreenMF than either of the fonts are to Koren Tanakh. In fact, when you posted your Crown, I thought you had posted KoreenMF and then realised that yours wasn't finished (at least I hope it's not finished)

gohebrew's picture

Raphael,

Koreen was created AFTER Crown by many years.

Crown was created in 1989. Its printed code was submitted and accepted for registration at the US Copyright Office, at the Library of Congress, in Washington, DC.

What did MasterFont use as original drawings when it created Koreen?

If I understand you correctly, Koreen and Koren are identical, also in software code - the only difference is business related. Koreen is not licensed. Koren is, exclusively.

So, there is a third Masterfont font, called the "Koren Tanakh" font; it is available from Masterfont. Where? Can you provide a link?

Anyway, I decided to incorporate Shmuel Gutmann's features into Crown, for they are truly great enhancements. Do Koren or Koren Tanakh have rounded edges?

gohebrew's picture

Raphael,

>> If anybody would like to buy the real Koren font design by Eliyahu Koren, they are welcome to purchase it from Masterfont.

From where? Can you provide a link? What is for sale: photographically enlarged pictures of letters used in the Koren Bible? Copies of the master?

quadibloc's picture

@raphaelfreeman: After your most recent post, I think I understand you now, even though your previous post had me confused.

Masterfont sells two products including Koren in their names. One is "Koren MF", and the other is "Koren Tanakh".

"Koren MF" is just Koreen, which is similar to Koren, but which differs because a couple of letters are wider.

"Koren Tanakh" is, however the real original typeface designed by Eliyahu Koren.

I hope I understand you correctly now.

Meanwhile, "Keren" is the name of a sans-serif typeface, and the Keren being discussed here is sold as GuttmanKeren, and was bundled along with other faces by Shmuel Guttman with some applications for preparing Hebrew documents, such as DavkaWriter.

His faces based on Keren, Miriam, David, and other popular Hebrew faces do appear to be more pleasing than the originals in some aspects, but this appears to have been achieved by compromising the original artistic intent of those faces by incorporating into his designs more elements of traditional Hebrew faces.

The guy who designed Spartan for Intertype wasn't breaking any laws in the U.S. at the time - and given the price of a big, heavy typecasting machine, forcing people to choose one based on the availability of faces instead of its own technical merits was such a problem that I can't really criticize the ethics of the copying of font designs that went on in the era of hot metal or film phototypesetting. Today, with fonts sold in standard formats for use on standardized computer platforms, the situation is different, but I do not know enough about the history of the sale of Shmuel Guttman's faces to make any comment on whether or not there are ethical issues there or not.

Even if there are no ethical issues, though, I can understand that some people will feel themselves justified in perceiving his activities as... annoying. Despite it being entirely possible that his faces are preferable to the originals!

gohebrew's picture

John S., Raphael,

If I may summarize:

There are four typefaces by Masterfont.
1. Koreen - in Regular and Bold
2. Koren - exactly the same as Koreen Regular, but the hei is wider in Koreen, perhaps others, perhaps none at all
3. Koren Tanakh - exactly the same as Koreen Bold

There are two typefaces by Guttman, somewhat like Koreen Regular and Bold, or Koren and Koren Tanakh. Guttman's typefaces have many design differences than those by Eliyahu Koren and Masterfont, perceived by many as improvements to the original designs.

When John Baskerville tried to improve upon William Caslon's design, and later a whole slew resulted. Did Caslon's descendants sue Baskerville for creating an "improvement" or "annoyed" version of Caslon's original work?

After Goudy made Garamond, based upon others typeface designs before him, did Goudy's descendants sue about the various versions of Garamond?

Perhaps, the same applies to Paul Renner's Futura versus Linotype's version, called Spartan - I haven't compared them.

How is this Koren (aka Koreen) versus Keren issue anything different?

Ethical issues? How was Baskerville's work ethical? How were Goudy's successors ethical? How is Monotype's (Boruch Gorkin) Arial-Hebrew ethical? etc. etc.

Ethical in my view pertains to ethics, not creativity.

In the State of Israel, there is law against incitement, which in the United States we would insist that Israel's law against incitement violates 1st Amendment rights of Freedom of Speech.

Perhaps, in Israel we need such a law against incitement, because of volatility of that region. But it is misused.

But, really isn't the same: such a law against incitement stifles freedom of speech, just as the Israeli typeface design rights stifle creativity in typeface design?

raphaelfreeman's picture

quadibloc: yes you understand correctly.

gohebrew: no, you keep summarizing incorrectly, so I will try one more time:

1. All fonts sold by masterfont are licensed including Koreen.

3. Koren Tanakh - exactly the same as Koreen Bold
NO NO NO NO NO NO NO.
I really don't know how to stress this any more. Koreen is NOT NOT NOT Koren Tanakh.

The question of digitising the Koren Tanakh font was a big deal for Eliyahu Koren. He didn't want anybody else in the world to use his typeface (in any way shape or form).

When we wanted to digitise the typeface for internal use 3.5 years ago, we debated whether to keep it propreitary or to make it generally available. Personally I fought for this to become commercially available since in any case there were other "interpretations" out there. Rather than people having to rely on these versions of the font, whether done with permission of Koren like Masterfont, or without, like Keren and Crown, was irrelevant. Let the people have the real thing and not some poor "interpretation". I succeeded in convincing the owner of Koren and he agreed (as long as the typeface isn't used to typeset a Tanakh).

In reality the Koren Tanakh font was supposed to replace KoreenMF (KorenMF), but to be fair to other typesetters and companies out there that have been using KoreenMF for years for logos and books, in the meantime, we haven't insisted on the deceasing of the selling of the KoreenMF (KorenMF) interpretations. Perhaps this is a mistake and this forum is beginning to change my mind :-)

quadibloc's picture

GoHebrew: I haven't been able to find anything out about the circumstances surrounding Shmuel Guttman's type design work to know what, if any, issues there may actually be as regards licensing. Apparently, he worked for a software company, Galiad Computers, in Jerusalem.

But the evidence you have shown of his craftsmanship in his versions of Miriam and David and Frank-Ruehl, in addition to Keren, is of such a nature that, while it supports your praise of him for good craftsmanship, could also make a case for him engaging in bad art.

Making a new typeface that is similar to an old one, but better, is of course entirely legitimate; as you point out, Baskerville, as a roman type of its period, shares a lot with Caslon, but it was an attempt at an improvement. Still, though, Baskerville is a different typeface from start to finish from Caslon - it has a "feel" all its own.

Here, we are talking about faces that are intended as replacements for existing designs, but which comply with Israeli law, which gives more protection for typeface designs than American law, by having changes to several characters - changes that tend to go in the direction of returning subtleties from classic typefaces (i.e. the Siddur typefaces) back into the face.

If one views a typeface designer as primarily a craftsman working on how best to express the pre-existing alphabet in a typeface, there is nothing problematic.

If, however, one views a typeface designer as a creative artist - in the same sense that Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, and Piet Mondrian are viewed as creative artists - then from that point of view, taking more than inspiration, but closely following the outlines in one's own drawing, so that the result feels like the "same" face, but making little improvements of such a nature as to go directly against the creative vision embodied in the face... is something that is generally disapproved of strongly from that standpoint.

Salvador Dali painting a moustache on a reproduction of the Mona Lisa made sense in the context of surrealism, but in general that is considered disrespectful to an artist's "moral rights". I could be mistaken in thinking this is really the case for Shmuel Guttman's work, but I have to note that the very facts you cite in his praise at least appear to hint towards such an indictment of him.

Someone else, with considerably more knowledge of these matters than I, would have to comment one way or another, though, as to whether this creative issue of which I am apprehensive is actually present.

RaphaelFreeman: Oh, I think you should not make Koren MF unavailable, but perhaps you should change its name back to Koreen MF to get rid of the confusion! (Unfortunately, that might cause new confusion when people buy Koren Tanakh as an exact replacement for Koren MF by mistake.)

gohebrew's picture

Raphael,

Thank you for your explanation.

My apparent mistake was based upon what I saw, as I do not have these fonts from Masterfont, Koren MF and Koren Tanakh MF.

Koreen

Koreen-Bold (Later, I saw this,, and realized immediated it was not the same weight as Koren-Tanakh or Tanakh-Bold

Koren

Koren-Tanakh, or Tanakh-Bold

Yes, Koreen-Bold is a heavier weight than Koren-Tanakh or Tanakh Bold.

Personally, I think Guttmann's version is the best, mainly because of the soft edges.

I don't buy Koren's argument not to allow anyone to use his design. In fact, please cite a precedent.

gohebrew's picture

Soon, I will release Crown Royal, Crown Royal-Bold, Crown Bible, Crown Bible-Bold (less differences between the thick and thin strokes).

In my opinion, Eliyahu Koren's design, and its Masterfont's look-alikes, are defective. Good for 50 years, but "the times they are a'changin'"

I hope in 50 years, better designs surpass mine.

Crown and Korngold shall rest in peace.

I really hope Microsoft wins its lawsuit. Its a frivolous, with no basis or merit.

raphaelfreeman's picture

I don't buy Koren's argument not to allow anyone to use his design. In fact, please cite a precedent.

I don't understand. Are you saying that if a person draws a drawing that he has no right to request that nobody copies it? I wasn't aware that everything we create in the world belongs to everyone.

Perhaps in the States, that's okay, I have no idea.

Well, funnily enough the courts think it has great merit and great basis, but heck what do they know, right? They don't have the insight of the gaon of typography, Mr Scott (for Arabs) Israel (for Jews) Seldowitz.

quadibloc: I will speak to Zvika about naming conventions. But the commercial side I have to leave to his discretion.

gohebrew's picture

Raphael,

In the history of typography, good type design has excelled because of further creativity.

If laws existed in the United States preventing that creativity to be applied to an artist's typeface design, then both that creativity would be stifled, and typography as a whole would be squashed.

Is this not clear?

Perhaps, that's why creative type design is so rare in Israel for the past decades, and even centuries. In truth, it seems commonplace everywhere but in the United States.

What the Israeli courts decide does not reflect the truth, as in the case of the laws of incitement. If the US enacted similar laws, it is time to pack our bags and move to Timbuktu.

raphaelfreeman's picture

I don't see the connection. You can't just copy existing work that belongs to somebody else because you see it as the greater good. And who is to decide what is better? You? If you think your design was better than Koren (now remember you did this design many years ago), then why did you beg me on the phone to licence the Koren font to you three years ago. Surely if your design is better, why on earth would you want Eliyahu Koren's "defective" creation if you've had a "far better" design that you have had for so many years?

Anyway, I'm glad that you have finally admitted that your design is interpretation of Koren and not the other way round.

I will leave it to less biased typophiles to judge which typeface is better, Koren Tanakh or Crown. If this thread goes into that direction of others on this forum being interested in comparing Crown to Koren Tanakh, I will be happy to post any characters to compare the fonts. For legal reasons, I cannot do this with the Keren font.

gohebrew's picture

Here is a beta of GHB Shmuel

gohebrew's picture

Raphael,

>> then why did you beg me on the phone to licence the Koren font to you three years ago

Round 2 :)

I never wanted to license it.

I wanted to create a MS Volt from the outlines. A job. Period. I could do a better MS Volt job. If Eli did not make it, you got second-grade quality.

gohebrew's picture

>> why on earth would you want Eliyahu Koren's "defective" creation

I don't. Not then, not now. Guttmann's is much better.

gohebrew's picture

>> Anyway, I'm glad that you have finally admitted that your design is interpretation of Koren and not the other way round.

I never admitted this. Not now, not then.

Btw, the Aleppo Codex designer was Koren's great-grandfather...

gohebrew's picture

John S.,

>> ... could also make a case for him engaging in bad art.

Please explain how and why it would be "bad art"?

>> ... changes that tend to go in the direction of returning subtleties from classic typefaces (i.e. the Siddur typefaces) back into the face.

I don't understand. Please explain.

>> If one views a typeface designer as primarily a craftsman working on how best to express the pre-existing alphabet in a typeface, there is nothing problematic.

Is this not what so many did to Baskerville or Garamond?

gohebrew's picture

A beta of GHB Shmuel Bible

Take not that all thin strokes have been thickned to be closer to the thick strokes.

quadibloc's picture

It looked to me like many of the specific changes you pointed out in "Shmuel Guttman - the Type Designer Down to the Small Details" were of the form of reintroducing elements found in a classic Hebrew typeface to a sans-serif (like Miriam) or a lapidary (like Koren) to which those elements didn't necessarily belong naturally.

I'm not trying to criticize him, though. My point was that your posts in that thread indicated to me that you were looking at type designers purely from the point of view of being "craftsmen" and not "artists".

I chose Picasso, Jackson Pollock, and Piet Mondrian as my examples of "artists" with malice aforethought - I was trying to avoid having to explain a bunch of context here.

Basically, an "artist" might do something as trivial as squirting paint on a canvas - but he might be temperamental and egotistical, even so, and seek the glory for himself as a creator.

A "craftsman", on the other hand, patiently toils in a humble fashion - and leaves the glory for the Creator.

Given your view, expressed in yet another thread, that the Hebrew square script is of Divine origin, it seems to me that you may be inclined to view the appropriate role of a designer of typefaces for the Hebrew language as that of a craftsman to the exclusion of that of an artist.

As a result, I think that there may not have been a clear understanding on your part of why some people have taken issue with some of your statements, and this has led to a needless exchange of harsh words that could be avoided with better understanding on both sides of how the other person is thinking.

gohebrew's picture

A beta of GHB Shmuel Bible

gohebrew's picture

John S.,

>> ... you were looking at type designers purely from the point of view of being "craftsmen" and not "artists"

A type designer is both, although some are "craftsmen" and not "artists", like Gutmann, and some are "artists" and not "craftsmen".

Some are both.

Some unfortunately are knock-off or con artists.

But truly a good type designer must be both.

>> Given your view, expressed in yet another thread, that the Hebrew square script is of Divine origin, it seems to me that you may be inclined to view the appropriate role of a designer of typefaces for the Hebrew language as that of a craftsman to the exclusion of that of an artist.

I don't see any connection. Please explain.

>> As a result, I think that there may not have been a clear understanding on your part of why some people have taken issue with some of your statements, and this has led to a needless exchange of harsh words that could be avoided with better understanding on both sides of how the other person is thinking.

I am trying not to reply to improper statements anymore, with sarcasms or sardonic wit. Please enlighten me with examples about how I could improve.

Btw, my point there was not about the Square Hebrew letter perse, but to the general form of Hebrew letters, as further elaborated by R' Zalman Henna quoting Sefer Yetzira about the Hebrew letter forms, the sounds that produce them, and how the former reflects the latter. No other language suggests this.

quadibloc's picture

I don't have specific examples: I have seen intense exchanges in these discussions, and I simply had a sense that part of the cause might be that the parties to the discussion were arguing from different premises, and thus failing to see one another's point of view.

As you point out, it is appropriate for those involved in type design to be both artists and craftsmen. Because, though, the "artist" role can degenerate into that of the poseur, because the "craftsman" role leaves less room for the individual's ego, that it appeared to me that the latter role might seem more appropriate when one is working on sacred ground.

Which was reasonable in itself, but since the exchanges here concerned issues of what makes a design original, issues of defining respect for intellectual property, I had suspected, perhaps wrongly, that if both sides had opposing visions of the type designer's proper role, they might also have different visions of the boundaries of the designer's rights.

It doesn't help, either, that apparently Israeli law is the exact opposite of U.S. law when it comes to creating typefaces! In the U.S., type designs historically (this has recently changed) had no protection, but the trademark on the name of the face was protected. In two of your examples, we see that the design was significantly changed - but the results could still be called GuttmanDavid or GuttmanMiriam.

Given this, I'm not sure what is considered acceptable in Israel as homage versus plagiarism, since attitudes on what is acceptable are often influenced by what is legal.

gohebrew's picture

John S.,

>> ... the parties to the discussion were arguing from different premises, and thus failing to see one another's point of view.

This is a profound perception of a difference of opinion.

The Talmud (tractate Yevamot 62b) attributes your explanation to the massive deaths of Rabbi Akiva's students: they failed to see the other student's point of view.

In fact, the sign of great intelligence is to conceive of opposite ideas in ones mind (the discourse of Rabbi Sholem DovBer of Lubavitch of 5672).

gohebrew's picture

>> ... In the U.S., type designs historically (this has recently changed) had no protection.

To what are you referring: "(this has recently changed)".

Since the late 80s, the US Copyright Office has accepted verbal descriptions of typeface designs (I was involved in providing a winning argument). The design itself is not protected by US Copyright. The verbal description is registered, for the first time ever. Only, design patents can protect a design.

gohebrew's picture

>> I'm not sure what is considered acceptable in Israel as homage versus plagiarism

In my view, laws in Israel have stifled creativity, freedom of speech etc.

As a land, a people, a society, a culture, it's great. As a government, with its laws, it sucks.

quadibloc's picture

I was looking through a book on Hebrew manuscripts in the library, and a photo of a page from the Lisbon Mishneh Torah from the British Museum seemed to have been written in a style somewhat suggestive of Koren, although it was hard to tell from the relatively small image.

gohebrew's picture

Is there any way to scan it, or take a picture with your cell phone or digital camera?

david h's picture

Image from my facsimile edition:

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