Early Armenian Types

sevag's picture

Frankly speaking, I'm not interested in identifying this particular typeface. I'd like to know which foundry/punchcutter was the first to produce it and when. The earliest book typeset with this font that I've got dates back to 1880's, I suspect it was produced at a much earlier date, perhaps at the beginnings of the 19th century. Thanks for your input.

hrant's picture

This is Barz, which is basically a simplified (non-kerning) version of the very first Armenian type used exactly 500 years ago* in Venice.

* http://www.yerevan2012.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=...

Although it's old and stale (and features some confusable structures) it does embody enough cultural authenticity that I used it as one of the bases for my Nour:
http://themicrofoundry.com/ad/CR.pdf

BTW, there's going to be a typographic conference in Yerevan from June 14 to 16. See you there? :-)

hhp

sevag's picture

Thanks for your reply dear Hrant. (Sadly, I will not be able to make it to the conference.) I like Nour — correct me if I'm wrong; I've noticed that Vem(FF Ernestine) too bears resemblance to the early Bolorgir(Բոլորգիր) and Notrgir(Նոտրգիր) popularized by the Mechitarist as you've mentioned in your post. I used Vem for a project and the client finds it more legible than let's say Sylfaen. What are your thoughts on this?

hrant's picture

It's interesting that you see some Bolorgir in Vem - I hadn't thought of it that way. The slant, arch shapes and semi-serifs (which sort of all go together) probably cause that appearance, reflecting what I think makes for authentic Armenian type. In contrast, Sylfaen-Armenian has too many serifs (just like my Patria's Armenian subordinate style, shown in that PDF) although it does enjoy the benefit of "stroke" contrast. Sylfaen's Armenian is also too tight however. All that said, Vem actually derives much of its competence from Nina's original Latin design.

hhp

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