Type@Cooper - Beyond Letters: How an African Typeface Project Became More Than Just Type Design.

Beyond Letters: How an African Typeface Project Became More Than Just Type Design.


with Mark Jamra and Neil Patel




Mon., Apr. 01
6:30PM – 8:30PM 1:00 – 1:00
location: Rose Auditorium

In 2014, we embarked on a project to create more options for typographic expression and increasing literacy with African scripts. Through the process of extensive research and community outreach, we discovered a host of historical, cultural and technical issues that demanded attention before we could get our typeface to the people. What started as a type design project evolved to include developing tools to help African language communities participate more fully on the internet.

This presentation will tell the story of our typeface Kigelia, a first-of-its-kind, 10-script, multi-style family, and show how research, outreach, and developing apps helped us to better understand the communities we were working for.




Lecturer: Mark Jamra

Beyond Letters: How an African Typeface Project Became More Than Just Type Design.
Mark Jamra is a type designer and professor at Maine College of Art, who has designed and produced typefaces for over 35 years. He is the founder of TypeCulture, a digital type foundry and academic resource, and is a founding partner of JamraPatel, a studio focusing on type design for under-supported language communities. Mark has taught graphic design, lettering, typography and type design at colleges and workshops in the U.S. and Germany. His typefaces have received recognition from the TDC and the Association Typographique Internationale.

• TypeCulture
• JamraPatel

Lecturer: Neil Patel

Beyond Letters: How an African Typeface Project Became More Than Just Type Design.
Neil Patel is a type designer and former semiconductor process engineer based in Portland, Maine. He is the founder of Tetradtype, an independent type foundry, and partner of JamraPatel, a studio focusing on multi-script type systems. Neil’s collaborative logotype designs with local studios has been featured in HOW Magazine and Communication Arts. He also has been known to dabble with programming, which he occasionally ties back into his design practice.



Venue