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Narkiss Tam Letraset pamphlet cover

Contributed by Alon Tayar on Jun 3rd, 2019. Artwork published in .
    Narkiss Tam Letraset pamphlet cover
    Source: https://yaronimus.wordpress.com License: All Rights Reserved.

    Cover of the pamphlet issued by Letraset on the occasion of the launch of Narkiss Tam (נרקיס תם) in 1979/80. This Hebrew typeface was designed by Zvi Narkiss (1921–2010) to match Adrian Frutiger’s Univers. See more images of this brochure on the website of Yaronimus.

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    4 Comments on “Narkiss Tam Letraset pamphlet cover”

    1. Jun 3rd, 2019  9:44 am

      Hello Alon, thank you for this contribution!

      Yaronimus mentions that the specimen was donated by Yigal Zorea (יגאל זורע) who authors the blog Lines and Points. Thank you, Yigal!

      From Yaronimus’ website, I understand that this font family was sold through Arta. Is this a phototype company from Israel? Is it related to Arta Osherov? Did they license the design to Letraset?

      The specimen shows three weights plus an italic and a condensed style. Letraset demonstrates how the styles can be matched to Latin sans serifs from their catalog, including Univers, but also Helvetica, Standard (Akzidenz-Grotesk), Folio, and Frutiger. How does Narkiss Tam compare to Asher Oron’s Oron from 1966? This typeface family was also conceived as a Hebrew companion to Univers, and carried by Letraset. Masterfont used to offer a digital version of Narkiss Tam, in 14 styles. It appears to be taken off the market. Can you confirm? Is there an alternative version?

    2. Meir Sadan says:
      Jun 3rd, 2019  10:06 am

      Hi and thanks for bringing more Hebrew into fontsinuse, Alon!

      I can’t contribute too much information about Arta – these days it’s mostly a chain of art supplies shops, but it used to be the main dealership for dry transfer sheets by Letraset, which would explain its “ownership” of these designs (not sure if this is legally still the case).

      Narkis designed two “sans” families that are comparable to Oron’s earlier typeface – Tam is the more popular one, and has some very slight humanistic nods (i.e. sharp terminals in י yod and ה he). The other family is Narkis New, which is also mentioned in Yaronimous’ website – it’s rounder and in my opinion a bit closer to Oron’s design than Tam.

      As for its commercial status, the rights for the Narkis catalog has recently been transferred from Masterfont to Fontef, and is currently in the process of remastering. Narkis Tam will probably be made available for purchase later this year.

    3. Alon Tayar says:
      Jun 3rd, 2019  10:53 am

      Hi Meir and Florian, and thank you both.

      In Narkis’s essay on the design of Narkis New from the early eighties, he mentions the Michelin Guide for its use of Univers as a good example of a readable and versatile sans-serif font. It is a very interesting read that could probably benefit from an English translation.

      I’m glad to hear the rights have been transferred to Fontef. It seems like Masterfont lost many of its fonts just in the past few months, old Arta ones as well.

      Needless to say but the sample used here is the Masterfont version, which is the only one that was digitally available just until recent. Apart from its kerning issues, it mostly does the job. Maybe Meir could point out some of its other flaws that I can’t see.

    4. Jun 3rd, 2019  12:12 pm

      Thank you both!

      The sample now uses the original Letraset version (with the tight spacing as it was fashionable back then), and no longer the Masterfont version. I’ve added a mention of the upcoming Fontef version on the typeface page – looking forward to it!

      In the meantime, we’ve published another Hebrew use contributed by Philipp, featuring Narkiss Block and Arta’s Grotesque 9.

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