Starting Something Bigger
«Nina, let’s start something bigger – Armenotype.com!»
After some back-and-forth about a planned little webpage, Hrant Papazian wrote this to me, and he added a brief description of what he imagined the site could become. Compressed into four neatly trimmed lines, it was a big, exciting idea. And his message lit a spark – a little spark that could have easily been overlooked then, but that when kindled and imbued with passion and action and time, I sensed might shine beautifully.
I felt humbled by my colleague’s bold proposal; unsure (as honestly, I still am) if what I could do was going to be enough – but I wanted to help bring this, a website dedicated to Armenian type and typography, to life. I had visited Armenia myself in 2009, where I was fortunate enough to also spend time with Hrant and his family, and since then have learned much from this valued colleague and deeply inspiring professional, with whom I’ve lately even been collaborating on a Latin/Armenian typeface. Because ever since that trip last year, the fascination with Armenia’s strange, rigid yet elegantly arching letters has not left me, letters that looked like they should be legible to me – much like the language itself, which with its deep, frequent «ah»s and raspy gutturals struck me at times as sounding strangely similar to my native Swiss German. But both remained –fascinatingly– foreign.
I replied to Hrant saying yes, let’s do it.
That was less than three weeks ago.
We decided to utilize our momentum to the fullest, which also meant pushing our fresh-baked site out quickly. Here it is now, and even though its front page is not sporting a sticker that marks it as «beta», you, our visitors, can probably tell that it’s still a little bit rough around the edges. It feels a bit like a new house to me, whose scaffolding has just come off to see the spacious new rooms slowly begin to be inhabited by content, lit up by dialogue, filled with life. Meanwhile there still is a bit of construction going on, and if you look at things from a funny angle, they might not be very pretty yet. I’ve had to cut a few corners in the development; testing time has been limited, and there are some (albeit non-critical) design features that I know are not yet degrading ideally for older browsers – and probably other issues too that I haven’t even had time to worry about. I hope you’ll kindly indulge us if something doesn’t yet look or work as expected; I’ll keep working on the site and ironing out the wrinkles, and in fact if you’d like to help with the wrinkles I’ll be thankful if you will let me know about bugs, display problems, or any other funny things you might run across.
One thing I do hope will show through is that this site is a product of passion. The spark that was triggered by Hrant’s four concise lines has begun to shine publicly, and my hope is that you will join us in watching it grow, and making it something bigger. We’ll feed the fire and take good care of it; it can come truly alive through your participation, through dialogue and exchange.
I look forward to that.