The Write Stroke: Hebrew Calligraphy Workshop

After a successful launch at last year’s TYPO, the Hebrew calligraphy workshop is back again for 2015. This year sees graphic and type design duo Christine Lange and Patrick Marc Sommer of Langesommer teaming up with expert calligrapher and multidisciplinary designer Amichai Green.

Pots of Rohrer & Klingner ink, brushes and textas were meticulously arranged on long sheets of white paper, laid out like tablecloths ready to be scribed. The session opened with a historical and cultural overview about the sacred language and writings. Amichai talked through the history of Hebrew and how the Alphabet (‘Aleph-Beth’ in Hebrew) came to be before we all dived straight in.

Daunting at first, I could see many a nervous face, reluctant to put ink to paper, photo: © Bettina Ausserhofer (Monotype)

A beautiful collection of worksheets were presented as an introduction to the art of Hebrew calligraphy with the teachers on-hand to guide. We were encouraged to get the feeling for the shapes and learn how to hold the feather. 25 letters. Right to left. No case differentiation. Consonants only. Daunting at first, I could see many a nervous face, reluctant to put ink to paper. But in almost no time, there was less white. Over and over again, swooshes and strokes of all kinds, some generous in scale, and others more fine and delicate. It really was quite delightful to see the skeletons of the typeface coming to form with significant improvements in style, shape and more importantly confidence as more and more letters were written.



Graphic Designer (Berlin)

Langesommer consists of Christine Lange and Patrick Marc Sommer from Berlin. With high typographical expectations and ambition, they develop intelligent design solutions from the concept to the finished product. They believe in an effective and at the same time visually attractive design in which optimal legibility and targeted communication are the main objectives. Their focus lies with editorial design and corporate design.
Amichai Green

Amichai Green

Designer (Berlin)

Amichai Green made a personal journey from Tel Aviv to Berlin, enjoying the benefits of being outsider for some time, before putting down roots and becoming a Berliner. He constantly keeps on the move between interactive design, web and print; implementing common principals of the different media in attempt to achieve clarity, usability and flow.

I asked the teachers which is their most favoured Hebrew character to write. For both Christine and Patrick, ‘Alef’ was the one. But for Amichai, it is ’Mem’, because to him, it “looks like it sounds, and it brings me to much joy when I write it…”.

Amichai talked through the history of Hebrew and how the ‘Aleph-Beth’, photo: © Sebastian Weiß (Monotype)

It was leaving Israel that made Amichai Green realise just how unique it was to claim Hebrew as his mother tongue. As a Hong Kong born but raised Australian living in Berlin, I can totally relate. You never really think much of your native language until you leave and it was wonderful to be reminded of the importance of heritage and the beauty of language and script. /JR