Ismar David’s Quest for Original Hebrew Typographic Signs


  • Shani Avni



Arabic Language, Creativity, Graphic Designers, Paleography, Graphic Arts, Manuscripts, Hebrew Language, Calligraphy, Applied Arts, Type Fonts, Typesetting, David, Ismar


Ismar David was a prolific calligrapher, type designer, graphic designer, and illustrator who also engaged in architectural design and taught calligraphy. He studied applied arts in Berlin, emigrating to Jerusalem in 1932 and to New York in 1952. From the 1930s to the 1990s, he created a wealth of unique designs, most importantly the David Hebrew typeface family. It was the first comprehensive Hebrew typeface family, comprising nine styles that include a true Hebrew italic style and a monolinear style, equivalent to a Latin sans serif. David Hebrew provides an example of how a research-based design process can help negotiate the tension between old and new, leading to an innovative, well-informed design solution. David not only excelled in his groundbreaking approach to Hebrew type design for existing glyphs, but he went a step further, expanding the character set. After David completed the design of his typeface family in 1954, it was partially cast for machine composition by the Intertype Corporation. During that period, David relocated to New York to pursue his creative career.