Each year at its annual TypeCon conference, the Society of Typographic Aficionados (SOTA) presents the SOTA Typography Award to an outstanding member of the type community. We’re delighted to share the news that this year’s award was given to designer, researcher, and teacher Fiona Ross, with whom we’ve had the great pleasure of collaborating on the Murty Classical Library of India (MCLI).
The MCLI—the first five volumes of which will see publication this January—makes available original texts and modern English translations of the masterpieces of literature and thought from across the whole spectrum of Indic languages over the past two millennia. Even aside from the scholarly challenges of translating and editing these works, just preparing the digitally optimized regional typefaces for the vast array of Indian languages included in the library has been as monumental a project as any this Press has undertaken.
From the beginning it was clear that the involvement of Ross, a virtuoso of non-Latin typeface design and a pioneering negotiator of the relationship of technology and typography, would be essential. And so it’s been. To date, Ross and John Hudson of Tiro Typeworks have designed typefaces for Bangla, Hindi, Panjabi, Sanskrit, Tamil, and Telugu, all of which will be made available, free of charge, for non-commercial use upon publication of the first books in which each appear.
Tim Jones, HUP’s Director of Design and Production, describes the collaboration:
There is little I can do to truly express or explain how amazing it has been to work with Fiona and John on this incredible project. Fiona has taught me and everyone else here at HUP so much about the complexities and challenges of typeface design, and has shared a great deal of her unmatched knowledge of the history of non-Latin typography. Seeing her and John go from concept to final form has made all of us better designers. Fiona’s dedication to research and fidelity is inspiring, and her artistry seems unparalleled. That she is such a delightful and thoughtful person on top of it all is extraordinary. We feel very lucky indeed to be part of this effort alongside her.
The spread below shows Hudson’s and Ross’s work on the Murty Gurmukhi typeface for Panjabi text, as illustrated by the opening pages of Sufi Lyrics.
Photo of SOTA Typography Award © Luke Dorny, via flickr