David Hadash: Definitive Version of David Hebrew Released by Monotype

Misha Beletsky's picture

David Hebrew may seem like old news: it happens to be one of the most ubiquitous Hebrew fonts. Everyone has David Hebrew in some form or another installed on their computer (David on Windows, Raanana on Macs). In my recent book The Book Jackets of Ismar David I touched on what made David Hebrew so popular:

"Scarcity of good quality Hebrew type compelled David to embark on his quest to create a new typeface. His work began in 1937, and culminated in the 1954 release of David Hebrew by Intertype Corporation in Brooklyn, N.Y. David’s groundbreaking design was not a revival of an existing type, but was inspired by historic calligraphic hands, distilled to their purest expression. David Hebrew went on to become one of today's most popular Hebrew typefaces and may well be considered Ismar David's most recognized legacy in design. Its success may be attributed to the innovative design approach, but more likely it is due to its clarity, grace, and exceptional beauty."

While all existing versions of digital David Hebrew are at best lookalikes of the original design, David Hadash™ (Hadash means "new" in Hebrew) offers a faithful digitization of the original drawings, preserving the subtlety and better letterfit of the metal type design, subsequently lost in multiple generations of redrawing for new typesetting systems. This type is for the first time issued as a complete type family envisioned by the designer in the early 1930s, but never fully realized until today. It includes upright (called Formal), cursive (called Script) and monoline (called Sans), each in three weights, as well as extended character set for the upright (called Biblical), including a full set of cantillation marks (te'amim).

It should be noted that the cursive (first issued in one weight by Intertype in 1950s) was the first true cursive Hebrew type of the 20th c. The never-before issued sans is noteworthy as one of the very few "humanistic" Hebrew sans types, closely following the classical proportions of the upright "serif" design.

Despite having been designed over half a century years ago, the appearance of this long-awaited family today is remarkably fresh.

Upd: See the official announcement here.

hrant's picture

Very nice - congrats!

What would be a good Latin companion to David Hadash?

hhp

Oded Ezer's picture

Great news. Thank you Misha.

Oded Ezer's picture

Great news. Thank you Misha.

William Berkson's picture

These versions leave behind the awkwardness and dated feeling of the previous digital versions. And the script and sans versions are great additions. Wonderful!

typerror's picture

I have always loved his "monoline" David. Such a sterling artist. He is sorely missed.

Michael Cunliffe Thompson's picture

Very nice but too pricy for my pocket.
I'm happy to see that the 'Script' versions are all inclined to the left.
The widespread use in Israel of italic fonts that incline to the right always gives me a pain in the eyes.

hrant's picture

Since the new system doesn't seem to allow links
to specific posts, allow me to quote myself from
http://typophile.com/node/90093 :

"
You know, for the longest time I thought right-leaning
Italics were not... kosher :-) for Hebrew. For one thing
they're totally not in its sister-script, Arabic. I think
I simply didn't want to believe it's OK (being an anti-
Latinization myrmidon) and I dismissed the various
examples of it (like the El-Al logo*, if memory serves)
as deluded. But I'm not sure any more, and if I were to
bet the house (not that I'm a gambler) I think these days
I'd put my money on "it's OK". Maybe since Israelis are
very tech-oriented they've moved even further from
handwriting than Westerners.

* Although airplane directionality
provides an extra twist there.
"

In fact Oded is probably the main person
who made me stop thinking it's a problem:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/oded_ezer/5584987088/
On the other hand, I don't have nativity
in Hebrew, so...

hhp

brianskywalker's picture

This is excellent.

Michael Cunliffe Thompson's picture

Many Israelis write cursive with a 'backhand' slant. It comes naturally from using the right hand in the same way that artists slant their lines and do hatching using the right hand. Conversely Leonardo with his left hand slanted his drawing and handwriting the other way.

As an artist I sometimes take a drawing say in charcoal and place it face downwards and then rub on the back to transfer the image onto another paper or a canvas. It comes out slanted in the opposite way and therefore can be fresh to the eye.

When I lived in Israel (in the 70s) I wrote Hebrew with a forehand slant as it appealed to me aesthetically. I liked the font Guttman Adii which slopes that way. This font does not seem to be readily available today.

Here are my conclusions:
a) The default (if no one cares) is to have the slanted font 'backhand' - bottom left to top right.
b) Designing a font for widespread common use, have the slant 'backhand'.
b) Designing a font that is intended to be special or and for uncommon usage have the slant that is aesthetically appealing with that particular font design.
(In the case of my font Shuneet that will be 'forehand').

Mike

Misha Beletsky's picture

Oded: My pleasure!

Misha Beletsky's picture

Michael: I totally agree with you. The good news is that Monotype is now selling it for a much lower price, $49.99 per weight, or $299.99 for the entire family. More about the release and a special bonus offer here: http://nonpareiltype.com/davidhadash.html

Misha Beletsky's picture

Hrant: I don't know of a good Latin match for David off-hand. Monotype has added a set of custom Latin glyphs to this font, although something tells me Ismar David would not consider them a perfect match, had he been alive. Here is one way to combine David Hebrew with a Latin font designed by David himself.

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