As a Turkish woman raised in a country with a long history of patriarchy, in my culture, marriage is the most critical institution in our society, and patriarchal values are deeply ingrained. Traditionally, Turkish marriages used to be arranged by families; men were expected to be the primary breadwinners, while women were expected to be subservient to their husbands. One of the most widely-known marital customs is when Turkish coffee is prepared with large spoonfuls of salt and served by the bride to the groom. This custom is seen as a test of the groom’s demeanor. It marks a woman’s sole moment of dominance over a man before matrimony.
The English word “salt,” as it is written, means individualism in Turkish. This coincidence led me to recognize that salt is used in other areas of Turkish cultures, such as “Ebru,” a traditional art form that uses ink and water to produce colorful forms. Salt is incorporated at the end to set the ink.
After analyzing Ebru and seeing the floral motifs crawling through the water, I recognized that they were similar to the patterns on my coffee cup, so I decided to play around with these forms to address the issue. High contrasting lines of the prominent organic shapes in both traditions inspired me to translate my ideas into a font-creating process. I fabricated the Anaerk typeface, which means matriarch, to give women an empowering design tool to illustrate their feelings about the patriarchal society.