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You are here: Home / Conferences / Montréal 2017 / Programme

Armenian typefaces as expression of national identity

The introduction of a newly fashioned Bologir typeface in the second half of the 19th century
When Sat 16 Sep 1130
Where UQAM, Cœur des sciences
Who Elena Papassissa

The 19th century was a period of active contact between Armenians and Europeans, particularly in France and Italy. The social upheaval against Ottoman hegemony, and the stimulating atmosphere of the French revolutions of 1830 and 1848, influenced the Armenian typographic script. The second half of the 19th century witnessed the transition from the traditional Bologir style to the new upright Armenian and the introduction of Westernised features. This coincided with the awakening of national consciousness within the Armenian Diaspora, and with the process of replacing classical Armenian with the modern Armenian language.

If the changes to the Armenian script in the 19th century were made in order to integrate with European culture, what is driving the current design of Armenian typefaces? This question explores the importance of European cultural influence and the concern for the preservation of Armenian identity in a global context.

Drawing on ongoing PhD research on Armenian typefaces, this presentation will highlight the significance of Čanik Aramean (1820–1879), printer and publisher in Paris, and highlight the impact that the newly fashioned Bologir typeface had on Armenian society, and on the design of subsequent typefaces.

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