Like all good things this website has come about serendipitously. In the summer of 2009 I was in Armenia on a family vacation. The previous year I had been fortunate to win a top prize in the inaugural Granshan typeface design competition masterminded and orchestrated by Edik Ghabuzyan, the head of Armenia’s Department for the Development and Conservation of Typefaces. (Yes, the Armenian government is as obsessed with the alphabet as is our collective consciousness.) During that trip I met Edik in person for the first time, and his ambitions were at once compelling, outrageous and infectious. He wanted to run a Granshan competition every year; I thought that was recklessly too frequent, and told him so. I was wrong. Now in its third year Granshan continues to attract quality entries from around the world, this in spite of now charging an entry fee and omitting a Latin category. Granshan even dares to award monetary prizes, something not seen in type competitions since the sad demise of the venerable Morisawa.
But Edik’s most shocking plan is to host an ATypI conference in Armenia. I remember the moment he told me this, sitting in the Santa Fe café in Yerevan; I suppressed an incredulous smirk. But it took only another few minutes to realize that it might very well be the ideal place to hold a type conference; in a place so imbued with letters and letterforms that the typographically obsessed would no longer feel like Gregor Samsa.
As a seedling this site was intended merely as a vehicle for convincing ATypI and font people at large that staging a conference in Armenia was actually a good idea. But being infected with ambition it is now dreaming of becoming the online home of the culture and manifestation of Armenian typography. Planned are news coverage, interviews, opinion pieces, type specimen showings and photography; and many more authors of all that content. The future is murky by definition; from here however it seems a glowing, inviting murk.
But this is all talk. Without a dedicated and gifted graphic designer this swell of ambition would merely implode or peter out, leaving things in a worse state than before. Nina Stössinger –quite possibly against her own good judgment– has become a champion of our little presence in the spectrum of written communication, crafting armenotype.com into something that can bear the weight of all our ambitions, in style. Nina was in Armenia herself that summer, and in an unnervingly short time has become a promising typeface designer as well, collaborating with a crazy Armenian fellow on a multi-script family. This site is a beacon of form & function thanks to her eye & hand. The Armenian people owe her one.
Enjoy. Բարի վայելում: