TYPE DESIGN INFORMATION PAGE last updated on Tue Jan 31 04:43:26 EST 2023






Eliyahu Koren

Influential Israeli graphic and type designer, 1907-2001. Pic. Koren Publishers still exists in Jerusalem today. At MyFonts, one can buy Koren MF (1943), Koren Rashi MF, Koren Siddur MF, and Koren Tanakh MF (1943), which were digitized by Masterfont in 2010. Wiki page. Quoting from the excellent biography by Joshua J. Friedman: Born Eliyahu Korngold in Nuremberg, Germany, in 1907, he immigrated to Palestine in 1933 and set about looking for work. Koren had excelled in art school, but in Palestine he found an underdeveloped graphic-design industry that largely amounted to sign-painting. His break came when the Jewish National Fund hired him to lead its first graphics department. In this position, which he kept for 21 years, Koren oversaw the creation of many of Israel's most prominent symbols, including its first postage stamp and, in his own design, the seal of the city of Jerusalem-a lion rampant in front of the Wailing Wall, framed by olive branches-still in use today. His greatest project got underway in the early 1940s, when Judah Magnes, the president of Hebrew University, asked Koren to create a new typeface for the first original edition of the Hebrew Bible to be published in Israel. Koren's art would complement the ambitious scholarly effort of Umberto Cassuto, a rabbi and Hebrew University professor who was searching for the most accurate ancient source manuscripts. But unexpectedly, and within a few years of each other, Magnes and Cassuto both died, leaving the project to founder. The Hebrew University Press, having already waited 10 years for its new Bible, simply reprinted a 19th-century edition with a few of Cassuto's emendations. Eliyahu Koren Eliyahu Koren, working on the Koren Bible typeface Koren decided to carry out the original effort on his own. He formed his own small publishing house and immersed himself in Hebrew manuscripts and early typefaces, looking for inspiration. He based his letter on medieval Sephardi script, while giving it a modern touch. He consulted an ophthalmologist and learned about early research into the legibility of Latin types. In every aspect of his work Koren was meticulous. When he received the cast metal type from the illustrious Deberny and Peignot foundry in France, Koren immediately spotted imperfections and sent it back. The foundry calculated the imprecision at three hundredths of a millimeter and recast the letter at its own expense. "In the final Koren design," writes the late Israeli book historian Leila Avrin, "the letters are sharp, almost never rounded, with balanced contrasts, faintly serifed, with its few diagonals always parallel to one another. The beauty of the letter never detracts from its readability." Koren was as diligent as Cassuto in striving for textual accuracy. He took great care with vowels and cantillation marks, which were drawn by hand and added to the typeset page. When the Bible was finally published, in 1962, it was celebrated in public ceremonies. "Israel is redeemed from shame," wrote Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion. "This is the first Jewish Bible in the last 400 years." Presidents of Israel would be sworn into office on it. A commemorative book published years later includes photos of the celebrations, plus two of Koren inspecting manuscripts and proofs at the start of the project, with his sleeves rolled up and his expression grave. His hair is dark. By the time the Koren Bible was published, 20 years later, it was mostly silver. It would take until the 1970s for Koren to begin work on his siddur. His central task was the same: to create beautiful, legible letters and pages to accentuate a sacred text. But unlike the Bible, the siddur is an anthology, pieced together from Torah verses and rabbinic writings. Koren therefore set out to design a new page layout that would differentiate the text, highlighting its source material and keeping the reader alert. Koren also developed a distinct but related siddur typeface, since he felt that the one he had developed for the Bible was too sacred to reuse, except for biblical quotations. This typeface was even more legible than the first, with similar letter pairs distinguished by their shape: dalet, for instance, extends its arm horizontally, while resh angles its arm upward.

Eliyahu Koren
 [Designer info]
MyFonts search
Monotype search
Fontspring search
Google search

Type designers ⦿ Type designers ⦿ Hebrew font links ⦿ Type design in Israel ⦿ German type scene ⦿

file name: Eliyahu Koren

file name: Eliahu Koren Koren

file name: Aleph Bible Left Koren Siddur Right

file name: Eliyahu Koren Koren Tanakh M F 1943

file name: Koren

file name: Eliyahu Koren Pic

Luc Devroye ⦿ School of Computer Science ⦿ McGill University Montreal, Canada H3A 2K6 ⦿ lucdevroye@gmail.com ⦿ http://luc.devroye.org ⦿ http://luc.devroye.org/fonts.html