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Second life of Chaim

Chaim means “life.” Aviva means “spring,” but also “rebirth.” Chaim & Aviva is a multi-script typeface with a great story behind it. Chaim was originally a Hebrew typeface designed around 1929 in Warsaw by Jan Levitt for setting newspapers and other printing in Yiddish. It was considered very modern and avant-garde because it did not refer to a traditional calligraphic script. It quickly gained popularity and was widely used for posters and banners, first in Palestine, then in the State of Israel. Until recently, it was one of the most popular typefaces in Israel. 

Aviva was also designed in Warsaw by Polish designer Zofia Janina Borysiewicz as her graduation project in Communication Design. Borysiewicz also has a background in cultural anthropology. She spent almost half a year in Israel researching archives and interviewing specialists in the history of Hebrew type design. The conclusion was that Chaim was not so present in the typographic landscape anymore. She wanted to restore it to use by making a new digitization and designing a complementary Latin. The concept of the project was to emphasize the problem of latinization of typefaces and reverse the typical Latin-centric direction of multi-script design by starting the design process from a non-Latin script.

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Speaker

Zofia Janina Borysiewicz

Zofia Janina Borysiewicz (1988), a graduate of Cultural Anthropology at the University of Warsaw (2014) and Communication Design at the School of Form (2019). Research and conversation are a permanent element of her designing process. This is why, while preparing the font Chaim & Aviva that combines Hebrew and Latin letters, she lived in Haifa for almost half a year. Her graduation project was nominated for the Polish Graphic Award for the best student project. In addition to typography, she does book design and illustration.