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Sleight of Hand

Anna Zakai

The challenge here is to improve the diversity of type design

Anna Zakai studied the traditional forms of ancient Hebrew in order to improve the diversity of letterform options and type design for the Judaic culture.

Searching for ways to express Jewish identity in the arts, I stumbled into the world of calligraphy. This personal search led me to discover traditional Hebrew scribal art. The Hebrew script is the one thing that unites Jewish people who are spread all over the world and speak different languages.

There is a great value in learning to put letters onto the paper (or parchment) using the writing tool. It leads to a better understanding of the letter-forms.

In Israel, the challenge is not to preserve the ancient Hebrew scribal tradition―it is well preserved within religious circles. The real challenge is to improve the diversity of type design. The revival of interest in the hand-written letter is, to my mind, a necessary condition for creating a mindful design.

Starting out as a self-taught calligrapher, I have been practicing since 2005. I am blessed to have Shel Bassel, who is a “sofer STAM,” a religious scribe, as a teacher. I admire his knowledge and commitment to this traditional art, and still have a lot to learn from him.

For information on individual works, see Anna’s profile on lettering.com.

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