Lost in letterforms

If you’ve ever walked down the street with a designer, you may have experienced slight annoyance when they interrupted you mid conversation to point out “that nice typeface on the sign over there”.

I am unfortunately guilty of this stereotype. (Carlene knows this from when I stared for way too long at single-serve butter pack written in Greek on the plane.)

One of my first impressions of Greece shortly after landing were the intricate, beautiful letterforms on the store signage. The straight lines and the triangles formed by the epsilon (uppercase E) really caught my attention.  

g2 (1 of 1)-4

Like the capital letters seen above, the classical Greek alphabet was comprised of only capital letters, ideal for monuments and inscriptions.

g2 (1 of 1)-3

This fascination over the Greek alphabet and letterforms carried into our first grocery store stop when my new roommate Olivia and I were deliberating over a serious milk purchase. We made our decision solely on the product label with the nicest typeface that featured the Greek alphabet. Also, despite my disgust for bars of soap, I bought one at the store specifically because of the ingrained Greek letterforms on the bar.

But chances are you probably aren’t a designer, so why should you care about the Greek letterforms?

  1. It is the ancestor of almost all other alphabets.
  2. The Greek alphabet is the first fully phonetic writing system.
  3. More than 150,000 English words are derived from Greek words. *Take a look at this speech by former Prime Minister Prof. Xenophon Zolotas written in English but actually consisting of only Greek words.







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