Totem is a tifinagh typeface commissioned by the royal institute of amazigh culture. Tifinagh is the traditional writing system of the Berber people, it is a lost script alphabet that is slowly getting refined for computer use. The past years the government of Morocco adapted Tifinagh as the “official” alphabet to write Berber languages that up to this point did not have a writing system or were written in either Arabic or Latin alphabets. Signs were added to the traditional Tifinagh to denote vowels as well as sounds not found in the original alphabet. For the past decade, the “IRCAM” (royal institute of amazigh culture ) put a lot of effort on getting the Tifinagh symbols into the unicode tables and were successful. I have created the typeface taking in mind that traditionally, the tifinagh script can be read in both sides, and top from bottom too, it was usually carved on rocks and the reading path was dictated by the meaning of the text. The typeface creates, when written from top to bottom, little decorative/typographic totems, it is also NOT a body font. It was created using old calligraphy brushes and a bit of spontaneity. The big challenge here was that I actually don’t understand the Tifinagh script, I had been through many days of research and was thankfully assisted by people that understood it whenever I needed help. I have laid down photos of the process, I drew hundreds of letters and have had the staff of the “IRCAM” give me their insights on each of these, after refinements, I had to chose the most optimal ones for computer usage and scanned them.
Click here to download the typeface