A Graphic Design PerspectiveInitiated by: Dara Saoyuth, Christine Schmutzler…….. Phnom Penh 2010 LANGUAGE is fundamental to CULTURAL IDENTITY. Therefore it is important that people keep their own language alive.
TYPOGRAPHY shapes language and makes the written word visible.
KHMER SCRIPT is one of the earliest writing systems used in Southeast Asia. The Khmer Rouge destroyed the traditional as well as an emerging modern culture. The result is a lack of human expertise, materials and books.A comprehensive DOCUMENTATION of conventions and rules as a guideline for contemporary graphic designers working with Khmer Type is missing.
Khmer is the official script in Cambodia. However, there is a COEXISTENCE of very different writing systems such as Khmer, Chinese, Korean, Latin…A lot of publications, signs and daily communication is MULTI-SCRIPTUAL. The harmonious combination of these different scripts is not only a technical problem but also a challenge for the Graphic Designer—still un-explored or even not acknowledged as an issue at all.
Since the implementation of Khmer Unicode Standard it is possible to publish and access Khmer script online. Now an increasing number of KHMER UNICODE FONTS of high quality have been released. However, in comparison to the exponential growth of Latin type designs, Khmer digital typography and lettering is still unexplored in terms of visual refinement and variety.
In order to write, layout and design Khmer letters one important approach is to explore the history of the script and it’s application over the time—an APPRECIATION OF THE PAST helps to understand responses and reactions to decisions made in the present.
Experts of script history and hand-writing craftsmen are an essential source for working with Type. The aim is to preserve this wisdom, identify visual attributes such as anatomy and measurements, investigate legibility and stylistic diversity and document the rules and conventions for a conciously use in Graphic Design.
Gathering everyday-type examples explores the rich repertoire of letter forms, raises awareness of the detail and serves as a stimulation for discussion and inspiration for Graphic Design ideas.For instance the hand-lettered signs are disappearing from the street. To take photos of this examples is the last chance to preserve this diversity of Type treatment, and keep it as a source to take hold.
The project aims at encouraging Graphic Designers to explore the rich typographic tradition and repertoire of letterforms and experiment with type and lettering in order to create contemporary, effective design. The challenge is to find a balance between innovation and retaining the integrity of the script.
A cooperation of different disciplines–history, language, hand-lettering, Type Design and Graphic Design and a cross-cultural collaboration between experts with different script backgrounds aims at raising awareness of “Good, bad and ugly Type treatment”An intercultural dialogue asking questions such as“What makes a font legible and what makes it beautiful?” creates sensitivity for detail and a mutual understanding and respect for the nature of the different scripts.
Read Khmer Version by CLICKING HERE