ECAL x Fondation Martin Bodmer - Scripts of the World, 24.01–20.03.2022, Fondation Martin Bodmer, Cologny (GE)

ECAL x Fondation Martin Bodmer - Scripts of the World
Fondation Martin Bodmer, Cologny (GE)

ECAL / University of Art and Design Lausanne and the Fondation Martin Bodmer have joined forces to celebrate typographic creation and the scripts of the world. ECAL will present original projects in contemporary typography and graphic design, from its Bachelor Graphic Design and Master Type Design programmes, comparing them with Fondation Martin Bodmer’s UNESCO listed heritage through a series of lectures, events and workshops on Sunday afternoons on 6 February, 27 February and 20 March 2022.



6 February 2022, 14:00-18:00
The Scripts of Aram: Syriac-Aramaic Typefaces (FR/EN) Registration

At the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, the Switzerland and Liechtenstein office of the UNHCR, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, collaborated with the students of the ECAL Master Type Design on a case: the Syriac script. Historically used to transcribe languages over a vast geographical area, Syriac is today mainly used as the liturgical script of Eastern Christians. Speakers of Modern Aramaic languages live in Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, but compose mainly a worldwide diaspora. While only a few digital fonts exist, providing contemporary and innovative typefaces would contribute to broadening the possibilities for the language to thrive, as well as to cultivate community ties. This day proposes to celebrate Syriac writing and Aramaic culture through the collections of the Martin Bodmer Foundation, typography projects of the ECAL and various reflections on writing, its power, its relationship to politics, language and identity.



14:30 Politics and type design, Syriac script: a case study (FR) by Matthieu Cortat, head of MA Type Design, ECAL

15:00 About the publication "Aram" (FR) by Elena Baranowski, student MA Type Design, ECAL

15:15 Syriac in the collections of the Fondation Martin Bodmer (FR) by Nicolas Ducimetière, vice-director, Fondation Martin Bodmer

15:45 Break

16:15 Critical Regionalism in Type Design - A survey of moments in history when social, political, economic systems change in parallel with typography (EN) by Nicolas Bernklau, assistant MA Type Design, ECAL

16:35 Aramean communities in Switzerland today (EN) by Melki Toprak, president, and Tony Ürek, secretary, Federation of Arameans in Switzerland

17:00 Concert of the ARAM Ensemble, A view on Syriac traditions, led by Jalal Polus Gajo, soloist, with

Ammar Ai Toumi, percussionist

Carles Dorador, oud

Liqaa Marooki, soloist

Marie Wahida, soloist

Fadi Wahida, Qanun

preceded by an introduction by Véronique Nebel, board member, Laus Plena Foundation (ANG)



14:00 - 18:00

Gutenberg press with Yvan Hostettler

Syriac-Aramaic script with the Aramean Federation of Switzerland


27 February 2022, 14:00-18:00 (FR)
Typographic Art: From the Major Names to the Revival Registration

This day will take you through the history of typeface design, from the major names to the collection of the Martin Bodmer Foundation, then confronting it with the contemporary practice of revival. With this technique, a typeface is digitally redesigned from a historical typeface, or serves as a template from which a new design is developed, more or less faithfully to its source. The success of these digital fonts and their distribution are interesting mechanisms, which will also be discussed, mirroring the long history of typography, reflected in the collections of the Martin Bodmer Foundation.


15:00 The major names in typography by Nicolas Ducimetière, vice-director, Martin Bodmer Foundation

15:45 Break

16:15 Revival: digital typography and its relationship to historical models by François Rappo, type designer and typographer, Lausanne

with an introduction by Angelo Benedetto, head of BA Graphic Design, ECAL

followed by a contribution by Gilles Gavillet, graphic designer and founder, Optimo and Gavillet & Cie on the distribution of revivals by a foundry

followed by a Q&A session with all guest speakers



14:00 - 18:00 19th century press with Nicolas Regamey, Atelier Typo de la Cité


20 March 2022, 14:00-18:00 (FR/EN)
Languages and Cultures: Inventing a Materiality Registration

A selection of editorial and typographic projects will be presented by their authors, all students or alumni of the Bachelor Graphic Design and Master Type Design programmes at ECAL. Whether it is about Cypriot dialects, a Lukumí-Español dictionary, Chinese characters drawn with the help of artificial intelligence tools, the crossing of Hebrew and German in Hebrew Yiddish, Lebanese multilingualism or the history of Cyrillic writing in Russia, these innovative and personal projects are as many different ways of contributing to the perpetuation of a culture, of a language, through their transmission but also, to their possible evolutions.



14:30 Introduction (FR) by Angelo Benedetto, head of BA Graphic Design, ECAL

14:45 Κυπριώτικο Σκετς / [kipri'otiko skets] / Cypriot Sketch (FR) by Clio Hadjigeorgiou, assistant BA Graphic Design, ECAL

15:00 Diccionario Lukumí-Español (FR) by Laura Issé-Tusevo, graphic designer, BA Graphic Design alumna, ECAL

15:15 Written communication in Lebanon, between Arabic, French and English (EN) by Karima Deghayli and Norma Elzoghbi, students MA Type Design, ECAL

15:30 Break

16:00 AIZI. Artificial Intelligence for Chinese type design (EN) by Shuhui Shi, type designer, MA Type Design alumna, ECAL

16:15 Cyrilic and the politics of writing (EN) by Sergei Rasskazov, student MA Type Design, ECAL

16:30 Yiddish Displayed (EN) by Noam Benatar, MA Type Design student, ECAL

16:45 Conclusion (FR/EN) by Irene Vlachou, type designer and visiting professor, ECAL & Matthieu Cortat, head of MA Type Design, ECAL

followed by a Q&A session with all guest speakers



14:00 - 18:00 Intaglio printing with Alessandro Longo, Verssso


General information

Confirm your participation - free but registration is required via rsvp links above.

Venue: Fondation Martin Bodmer, Route Martin-Bodmer 19, 1223 Cologny (Genève).

Access to Fondation Martin Bodmer is subject to the current health regulations: 2G certificate and mandatory mask.

This event marks the 200th anniversary of ECAL (1821-2021) and is organised by ECAL and Fondation Martin Bodmer with the support of: Fédération des Araméens en Suisse, World Council of Arameans, UNHCR, Fondation Laus Plena, Swiss Graphic Designers.

Dates and schedules


Fondation Martin Bodmer, Cologny (GE)
Visual: ECAL/Nicolas Bernklau & Sophie Wietlisbach