Parsons School of Design

BFA Communication Design

Thesis 2016

David Klein
David Klein

As a result of the standardization of cultures, multilingual typefaces are becoming increasingly important for large-scale communication. Unfortunately, typeface design has not been kind to the minority languages of the world, particularly the aboriginal languages of Northern Canada. Inuktitut, one of Nunavut’s three official languages, is the most widely spoken Aboriginal language across Canada. Design is an important tool that plays a functional role in structuring and sharing ideas; it has proven itself to be a necessary component in creating economic value. Since Canada’s Inuit population is not a 
driving force in the Canadian economy, aboriginal typeface design has not reached an elevated state.

Upinnaq is a display typeface which is meant to serve the Inuit communities of Canada. Its chiseled serifs are a unique addition to the simple geometric shapes of the Cree syllabary. The typeface feels aesthetically relevant to the current state of graphic design, and serves to unite a group of people who are not always seen as integrated into Canadian society.

Inuktitut was first printed in the 1800s alongside other modern-
serif typefaces of the day. The geometric quality of the Cree syllabary would have had a noticeable contrast on the page next to the Victorian typefaces of the 1800s, reinforcing the national divide. A typeface has a powerful role in the illustration of language. As Canada will be celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2017, Upinnaq begins to symbolically bridge the divide between Canada’s communities.






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