Recorded during TypeCon2014: Capitolized in Washington, DC
Two current hot topics in type design enjoy a hidden symbiosis, which can be leveraged to improve the typographic “quality-of-life” of many minority cultures.
Libre type design is very polarizing. For some it’s an opportunity to “liberate” typography from proprietary, pricey solutions, especially for disadvantaged cultures; for the rest it’s a personal threat to their commitment to typeface design. It’s difficult to discern a fruitful middle ground. However by studying the path that much non-Latin type design takes it’s possible to see how a softening of views can in fact benefit both practitioners and cultures that suffer from a dearth of quality typography.
Using the history and current reality of Armenian digital type design as a reference, various libre license models are evaluated for their capacity to foster professional type design that in the end benefits entire cultures. Models that are altruistic to the point of crippling the motivation to produce high-quality fonts are contrasted against models that are in harmony with practical financial realities in non-Latin type. Specifically, the pragmatic cultural benefits of the Apache license are revealed and promoted.