New Leaves: The Cherokee Syllabary in the 21st Century

Letterform Archive

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The year 2021 marked the bicentennial of the Cherokee syllabary, the writing system for the Cherokee language invented by Sequoyah. Today, it remains integral to the culture and identity of the Cherokee people and is, like the language itself, in the midst of concentrated revitalization efforts. Join type designer and Cherokee Nation citizen Chris Skillern on a walk through the history of the syllabary and its adaptation to new technologies. Then get a glimpse at what the future may hold for the syllabary.

Chris will share some personal work and talk about the difficulties of designing modern type families for a script with few models. See the exciting work that’s being done today to appeal to a new generation of language learners and to carry this remarkable invention into the future, and hear Chris’s personal story of an ongoing journey toward fluency, in both language and design.

Letterform Lectures are a public aspect of the Type West postgraduate program. The series is co-presented by the San Francisco Public Library, where events are free and open to all.