(image courtesy Cooper Union)

(image courtesy Cooper Union)

Type designers Mark Jamra and Neil Patel began a project in 2014 intended to create more typographic options and increase literacy for African scripts. In their research and community outreach endeavors, they found a series of historical, cultural, and technical issues that they had to examine before sharing the new typeface design. Next Monday at Cooper Union, Jamra and Patel will present the story of Kigelia, a 10-script, multi-style typeface and the process of developing it.

The presentation, titled “Beyond Letters: How an African Typeface Became More Than Just Type Design,” will show how Jamra and Patel worked to better understand the communities they would be designing this for, as they conducted research, participated in community outreach, and developed apps. The project began as a design project meant to more fully engage African language communities on the Internet, but their work grew into so much more.

Jamra is a type designer and professor at Maine College of Art. He has been designing and producing typefaces for over 35 years. Patel is a type designer and former semiconductor process engineer in Portland, Maine. The event is free and open to the public, but RSVP is required. Guests can register here.

When: Monday, April 1, 6:30–8:30 pm
Where: Cooper Union, Frederick P. Rose Auditorium, 41 Cooper Square, East Village, Manhattan

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Deena ElGenaidi

Deena ElGenaidi is a writer and editor living in Brooklyn. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Rutgers University-Camden in 2016, and her work has appeared in Longreads, Electric Literature,...