TYPE DESIGN INFORMATION PAGE last updated on Thu Apr 4 15:56:33 EDT 2024






Joseph Erb

Cherokee font designer from Gore, OK, who spoke at ATypI 2011 in New Orleans. He wrote this on typophile (excerpts only): As font makers you have noticed that much of what we use today, as a designed font, is pretty bad when it comes to some of the very rough looking uneven font designs. It is a very complex issue when it comes to the Cherokee orthography in the community. Cherokees take great pride in our writing system. It is true that many in the eastern band of Cherokees do not read and write cherokee but some do. And it is also true that at one time some people at the museum over there proposed the idea of changing our syllabary writing system in to a alphabet. This was quickly dismissed and did not go over very well and we should just leave it at that. Many more people here in Oklahoma Cherokee Nation and United Keetoowah Band read and write in Cherokee. Roy Boney and I were very honored to speak to so many font designers that work on so many languages. Roy and I worked with many advanced speakers from our community and that work at Cherokee Nation to find out what advanced speakers look for in a writing system for each character. We developed a very thin font that was made in fontlab. It is not really that professionally made but it has many needed things in it. Most languages around the world have font styles for many different needs, printed type, signs, web, fun, ads and so on as you all know, but we do not have this for our own language at this time, when we need it the most. Many in the community do not question why we dont have more fonts. In fact many get defensive when we first talk about new fonts a few years ago thinking we where trying to change the language or proposing something like what the museum over and eastern band wanted. Roy and I believe that if we are going to continue to have a language for our community it must have all the power and strength that different fonts can offer.. We started realizing we needed to be on the computers and cell phones then after we got on that we realized that we needed more fonts. This idea is starting to be understood by some of our elders when we start to show them why we want to do this or have it done. It is always important to work with the community that reads and writes the language that you are designing for. Most languages have enough material out there so that that is not needed but in smaller language groups it is important to talk to people before starting your design work. Much of the problems with the present fonts is that people did not at least have the community it was made for, have look at it, before the release. The Cherokee Type face was made for a printing press and all of our fonts still look like they are for that same purpose. Sequoyah in his time wrote with print from the style influenced from the printing press also, even after he made the cursive style too. His main reason was to create a writing system that would allow his people to communicate in written form. If he was round today, I believe he would be designing fonts and having others to design some for all these technologies that are constantly coming out (and have different requirements) for Cherokee people to use and communicate with each other. So if anyone needs more information about cherokee handwriting for fonts feel free to email me. We have collected handwriting samples and old documents that might help a font designer with the information they are looking for.

Designer of some Cherokee fonts in 2012, including a blackletter version, CherokeeOldEnglish, and a hand-printed version called Cherokee Handone.

Joseph Erb
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Native-American fonts ⦿ Type designers ⦿ Type designers ⦿ Type scene in Oklahoma ⦿

file name: Joseph Erb Cherokee Font 2011

file name: Joseph Erb Cherokee Handone 2012

file name: Joseph Erb Cherokee Old English 2012

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