10 Non-Latin

This classification includes all typefaces based on non-Latin writing systems. Sadly, typographic history and its classification systems focus primarily on the Latin writing system. Even the title — “non-Latin” — conveys the sense that typography is primarily for the English language. Despite these issues, you will find that many other writing systems include elements that you have seen throughout the serif, sans serif, and calligraphic classifications. There are beautiful styles and nuances within all writing systems that allow a graphic designer to develop meaning through their choice of typeface.

It is important for a graphic designer to be respectful of each language’s styles, practices, and rules when typesetting in that language. For example, whether it goes left-to-right or right-to-left changes how you align paragraph text. What about top-to-bottom in columns going from right to left as in traditional Chinese characters? Just like the many classifications within a Latin writing system, many non-Latin languages have their own classifications and designs to help build meaning within a design. A graphic designer should be curious enough to research these writing systems before typesetting in them. While I have not been able to represent all writing systems in these examples, I hope that I have been able to at least provide a reasonable level of diversity.


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Typography Handbook Copyright © by David Piechnik is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.