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Digital > 14.2 Information Site

The World’s Writing Systems

by wysiwyg*

The World's Writing Systems
In the beginning was the letter

Yeah, but which one? The Atelier National de Recherche Typographique (ANRT) in Nancy, France, the Institut Designlabor Gutenberg (IDG) of the Mainz University of Applied Sciences and the Script Encoding Initiative (SEI), Department of Linguistics of the University of California, Berkeley, have been dealing with this question for three and a half years.
A first answer can now be found here, in the TWWS online compendium. It is the first step of the long-term study "The Missing Scripts Project" which looks for the writing systems that are still missing in Unicode. As of today, there are still 146.

The challenge for script researchers and designers was to ensure that the correct classifications were used and not mere alphabets raised to the rank of a writing system. And another, to give a single synchronous optical font to each of the systems a suitable deputy. And to draw them so that together they form a font.
Wysiwyg's problem was quite different: 292 glyphs in five sorts, a five-member color code, and six breakpoints resulted in 43,800 different screens to design. Of course not everyone individually, but each small setting had partly amazing effects at the other end of the spectrum.

The glyph grid allows the exploration by alphabet, region, age, and Unicode version, and a click or tap shows the individual system with its key data and links. And of course the specifically fashioned glyph in all its beauty.
For insiders: the mobile version in portrait mode comes without description – a perfect setting to test your memory skills. Turned into landscape mode, name and information are revealed.
Kind of a 90° cheat mode.

  • Creative Directors Ilka Helmig, Johannes Bergerhausen, Alex Koch
  • Art Directors
  • Designers Arthur Francietta, Jérôme Knebusch, Morgane Pierson, ANRT, Nancy
  • Illustrators
  • Photographers
  • Editors
  • Copywriters
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