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Yukatek A typeface by Steve Ross

Negrillos

Los Alcranes Baixo de Sisal

lgada

MĂŠrida Yzaes

Champoton

A C

Valladolid Cozumel

U

Y

Morro dos Diabolos

T

Cocomes S. Frco. de Campeche

Yas Desconoscida

N

Pta.de

al

C. de Cotoche

A

Sis

conoscida

yo R. Conil Mo de L a r ros gar Mo Chuaca t r d e r eS s Ca os ilas nqu de al

Lago de Bacalat

Chetumal L. de Chetumal

itazuenno

Sra de la ria

Pantoja

La m

Ilbob

de Guanajos

y ana

Za ra

tan

I. de Leya

Guajama

Utila

R. Guyamen d C.

FO L GO

DE

AS R DU N Guanaja HO

o

go


Yukatek A modern text typeface for books by Steve Ross, with custom features for Mayan languages. Yukatek is a typeface with traditional design fundamentals, but infused with subtle contemporary visual cues.

PHOTO: R. CHAMBERLAIN

Made with one eye on the past, and another on the future.

Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Master of Arts in Typeface Design, University of Reading, 2010 Thanks to everyone in the Typography Dept., and especially Linda & Ethan


PHOTO: WWW.FLICKR.COM/PHOTOS/TANDITO/


Stephens & Catherwood ¿Ba’ax ka wa’alik? Ma’alob, Dios bo’otik. ¿Kux teech?

En la Ruta Puuc In July of 1562, Diego de Landa burned 27 scrolls.

jeroglificomayaMaya Code cabezamaya In 2010, that costs either $103, £66, or €79.

Kukulcan Uxmal a késő klasszikus korban élte virágkorát.

«Sa capitale est Mérida, dite la ville blanche»

Quince Quetzales Nic nie było przypadkowe, wszędzie rządziła matematyka.

daggers† daggers† daggers† Der östlichen Küste der Halbinsel ist Cozumel.


Misty jungle Be careful, that machete is extremely sharp!

ja’atzkab ¡Oye joven! Dos salbutes y una chela, por favor.

Espinosa & Ross Tenemos que hablar con el indemaya y con el inam.

ESTILO ESPAÑOL The first 16 glyphs baffled Enrique’s professors.

Los PANUCHOS DE KANASIN Jump’éel 19 ti’ noviembre ti’ 1761 ka xíik u ba’atel

To Chichen Itzá Pedro studied 19 Mayan numerals for 20 days.


Yukatek Design Features Yukatek Roman

hesion hesio dhesio adhesion hesion adhesion hesion esion dhesio adhes hesion adhesion Upper serifs are concave on top, convex on the bottom.

Angle of stroke gradually shifts

Sharp corners have been cut off to leave a flat edge.

Most counters feature a smooth to abrupt transition

Typographic axis of 16째

Baseline serifs are assymetrical with flat + convex sides.


adhe adh hesion adhes adhe hesion adhe dhesion dhesio adhesion dhesion hesion adhes hesion Yukatek Italic

Deep cuts into the stem at steep joins

Upper serifs are concave on top, convex on the bottom, similar to roman.

Italic slant of 9째

Lower serifs appear inverted

Optically corrected stroke angles.


Yukatek Opentype Features Old style figures

March 25, 2008 at 8:45. Lining figures

March 25, 2008 at 8:45. Mayan numerals

I ate 18 tacos in 20 seconds. Small caps

Yes, inam is an acronym. Signage alternates

Los Panuchos de Kanasin Italic Spanish y alternate

Los Mayas y los Aztecas


Yukatek Mayan Numerals

1 1 6 6 11 11 16 16

2 2 7 7 12 12 17 17

3 3 8 8 13 13 18 18 0 0

4 4 9 9 14 14 19 19

5 5 10 10 15 15 20 20


Issues in Mayan typesetting Contemporary Mayan typesetting is still plagued by the same issues that have plagued it since the 16th century, when missionaries first transcribed the language with the Latin alphabet. Unsure how to represent a “glottal stop”, the missionaries decided to use an apostrophe. This may have been fine for handwriting, but in typeset texts, the apostrophe is always accompanied by white spaces on either side. This means that typeset Mayan can often resemble the hole-ridden typographic equivalent of Swiss cheese. Take the following example, for instance:

Mayan text sample set in Times New Roman

DIEGO DE LANDA

F. CATHERWOOD

Diego de Landa’ síij tu ja’abil 1524 ti’ u kaajil Cifuentes de la Alcarria, jump’éel úuchben kaaj yan Toledo; k’uch Yucatán tu ja’abil 1549, tu’ux p’áat tak ka kíim tu ja’abil 1579. Tu k’amaj u obispoil ti’ Yucatán tu’ux tu p’ataj u chíikul ba’axo’ob tu sen beetaj, ichilo’obe’, tu k’askuuntaj tuláakal le ba’axo’ob ku t’aano’ob tu yo’olal bix taalik u kuxtal kúuchben ch’ilabkabilo’obo’, ba’ale’le yo’olal bix yéetel ba’axo’ ku beetik u yila’ al bey juntúul utzil máake’, ba’ale’ yo’olal jach tu yilaj bix kuxliko’ one’ tu dzéibtaj u pik’ilju’unil Relación de las Cosas de Yucatán, ti’ le meyaja’ dzíibta’an óoli’ tuláakal le ba’axo’ob ojéelta’an tu yo’olal maaya’obo’.


With Yukatek, it is finally possible to create Mayan text blocks with a more uniform typographic colour. Yukatek features a special OpenType stylistic set that enables custom apostrophe-ligatures. These ligatures eliminate the white space and awkward typography caused by the numerous apostrophes. These features were developed through consultation with indemaya in Yucatan, Mexico, to ensure legibility.

Times New Roman

Yukatek

ma’alob ma’alob

Yukatek ’s custom ligatures for Mayan

a’ e’ i’ o’ u’ k’ h’ s’ � � � � � tz


Mayan Text Case Study: Times New Roman vs. Yukatek

Times New Roman

a+’ = a’ NACHI COCOM Juntúul ti’ le maaya’o’ob ba’atelnajo’ob le ma’ úuch k’uchuk le sak wíiniko’obo’. U muuk’ ma’ u séeb toonkíinsikuba leti’ beet u kiinsik ya’abkach sak wíiniko’ob ti’ le k’iino’obo’. Anchaj u máan ya’abkach ja’abo’ ob ti’al ka páajchajak u p’u’uchulo’ob. Ka dzo’ok u ch’íijile’ ka dza’ab Juan Cocom ti’, máa túun anchaj u chíinpoltik le religión katoolikao’. Ba’ale’ kex ta’akbe’enile’ leyli’ tu yaabiltaj u k’ujo’obe’, má náajchaj ti’ obi’. NACHI COCOM Juntúul ti’ le maaya’o’ob ba’atelnajo’ob le ma’ úuch k’uchuk le sak wíiniko’obo’. U muuk’ ma’ u séeb toonkíinsikuba leti’ beet u kiinsik ya’abkach sak wíiniko’ob ti’ le k’iino’obo’. Anchaj u máan ya’abkach ja’abo’ ob ti’al ka páajchajak u p’u’uchulo’ob. Ka dzo’ok u ch’íijile’ ka dza’ab Juan Cocom ti’, máa túun anchaj u chíinpoltik le religión katoolikao’. Ba’ale’ kex ta’akbe’enile’ leyli’ tu yaabiltaj u k’ujo’obe’, má náajchaj ti’ obi’.


Yukatek

a+’ = a’ NACHI COCOM Juntúul ti’ le maaya’o’ob ba’atelnajo’ob le ma’ úuch k’uchuk le sak wíiniko’obo’. U muuk’ ma’ u séeb toonkíinsikuba leti’ beet u kiinsik ya’abkach sak wíiniko’ob ti’ le k’iino’obo’. Anchaj u máan ya’abkach ja’abo’ ob ti’al ka páajchajak u p’u’uchulo’ob. Ka dzo’ok u ch’íijile’ ka dza’ab Juan Cocom ti’, máa túun anchaj u chíinpoltik le religión katoolikao’. Ba’ale’ kex ta’akbe’enile’ leyli’ tu yaabiltaj u k’ujo’obe’, má náajchaj ti’ obi’. NACHI COCOM Juntúul ti’ le maaya’o’ob ba’atelnajo’ob le ma’ úuch k’uchuk le sak wíiniko’obo’. U muuk’ ma’ u séeb toonkíinsikuba leti’ beet u kiinsik ya’abkach sak wíiniko’ob ti’ le k’iino’obo’. Anchaj u máan ya’abkach ja’abo’ ob ti’al ka páajchajak u p’u’uchulo’ob. Ka dzo’ok u ch’íijile’ ka dza’ab Juan Cocom ti’, máa túun anchaj u chíinpoltik le religión katoolikao’. Ba’ale’ kex ta’akbe’enile’ leyli’ tu yaabiltaj u k’ujo’obe’, má náajchaj ti’ obi’.


Los múltiples tales edificios planada de Chi presididos por Kukulcán, llama «el Castillo», un más notables de maya. Es una pir lados que culmin rectangular. Se a plataforma rectan ros de ancho y tien metros. Cada lado d una gran escalinat lado y 1 más que con rior, dando 365 escalo año. Balaustradas de p escalera, y en la base se asientan dos colosal tes emplumadas, efigie en estas escalinatas y m sus pretiles o balaustra durante el transcurso sombras de las aristas de mentos superpuestos, que configurándose así la ima piente-dios, que al paso de descendiendo y rematando pétrea situada en la base

Yuka

a new typefac


s y monumende la gran exichén Itzá están la Pirámide de ado por muchos no de los edificios e la arquitectura rámide de cuatro na en un templo asienta sobre una ngular de 55,5 metne una altura de 24 de la pirámide tiene ta, 91 escalones por nduce al templo supeones, uno por día del piedra flanquean cada de la escalinata norte les cabezas de serpienes del dios Kukulcán. Es muy particularmente en adas, donde se proyectan del día equinoccial, las e las plataformas o basae integran el gran edificio, agen del cuerpo de la sere las horas parece moverse o en la mencionada cabeza e inferior de la escalinata.

atek

ce by steve ross


Yukatek Text Samples Yukatek Roman 10/13 pt.

And why do you want liberty if you don’t know how to be free? Liberty is not a gift which is granted or a right to be won. Liberty is a state of spirit. Once it has been created, then it is free even though it lacks freedom. Irons and prisons can’t stop a man from being free. To the contrary, they make him freer in the depths of his being. The freedom of a man is not like the freedom of a bird. The freedom of birds is satisfied by the to-and-fro rocking of a branch. Man’s freedom is achieved in his conscience.

Yukatek Bold 10/13 pt.

And why do you want liberty if you don’t know how to be free? Liberty is not a gift which is granted or a right to be won. Liberty is a state of spirit. Once it has been created, then it is free even though it lacks freedom. Irons and prisons can’t stop a man from being free. To the contrary, they make him freer in the depths of his being. The freedom of a man is not like the freedom of a bird. The freedom of birds is satisfied by the to-and-fro rocking of a branch. Man’s freedom is achieved in his conscience.

Yukatek Italic 10/13 pt.

And why do you want liberty if you don’t know how to be free? Liberty is not a gift which is granted or a right to be won. Liberty is a state of spirit. Once it has been created, then it is free even though it lacks freedom. Irons and prisons can’t stop a man from being free. To the contrary, they make him freer in the depths of his being. The freedom of a man is not like the freedom of a bird. The freedom of birds is satisfied by the to-and-fro rocking of a branch. Man’s freedom is achieved in his conscience.

Source: Canek: History and Legend of a Maya Hero by Ermilo Gómez


Yukatek Roman 11/14 pt.

The future of this land depends on the union of that which is sleeping in our hands and that which is awake in theirs. Look at this child: he has Indian blood and a Spanish face. Look at him carefully: notice that he speaks Maya and writes Spanish. In him live the voices that are spoken and the words that are written. He is neither of the earth nor of the wind. In him, reason and feeling are braided together.

Yukatek Roman 10/13 pt.

The future of this land depends on the union of that which is sleeping in our hands and that which is awake in theirs. Look at this child: he has Indian blood and a Spanish face. Look at him carefully: notice that he speaks Maya and writes Spanish. In him live the voices that are spoken and the words that are written. He is neither of the earth nor of the wind. In him, reason and feeling are braided together.

Yukatek Roman 9/12 pt.

The future of this land depends on the union of that which is sleeping in our hands and that which is awake in theirs. Look at this child: he has Indian blood and a Spanish face. Look at him carefully: notice that he speaks Maya and writes Spanish. In him live the voices that are spoken and the words that are written. He is neither of the earth nor of the wind. In him, reason and feeling are braided together.

Yukatek Roman 8/10.5 pt.

The future of this land depends on the union of that which is sleeping in our hands and that which is awake in theirs. Look at this child: he has Indian blood and a Spanish face. Look at him carefully: notice that he speaks Maya and writes Spanish. In him live the voices that are spoken and the words that are written. He is neither of the earth nor of the wind. In him, reason and feeling are braided together.

Source: Canek: History and Legend of a Maya Hero by Ermilo G贸mez


Yukatek

Roman


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Yukatek

Bold


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Yukatek

Italic


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Solve the Mystery of the Maya* * That is, the mystery of their trilingual typographic word search

Z Y S A A B S R U I N A S H

D U K Y Z A I E L A Z D U S

V N C A I L D Q T N K R K R

chichenitza uxmal merida yucatan ligature

Y I U M T A E N S N A K E L

A V S I S M B C D U E D Y V

O E O I E D E H F T J U W O

maya mestiza opentype ruinas jungle

B R T A M Z A I B E A Z F D

X S P R A A R N E J P M Z B

H I Y E Q E I T H X V I U E

balam maskab kerning ruinas scorpion

K T L B S C N I I H B G K O

M Y A A C G G N E I H W N A

E O C Y H U S G L V I A W U

K F O A J E H C G U T B O P

K R P U I X H C X A Y Z M P

A E A G S A F M C F N I C H

dzibilchaltun metricsmachine universityofreading apocalyptosucks hipil


jeroglificomayacabezamaya H A J L L D A U W O H T V H

U D K T K L Y I J E P L Y L

T I U B A L T N O F H C Z K

E N I H C A M S C I R T E M

snake matd mekkahut kukulcan fontlab

E G C F K E H S F A L B E C

T R M H L U C I L F K A G J

M T U G I O K U P E A K Z Y

serif fuente xiu panuchos relentless

M E N T R C T U R I A S F U

R U R P A N H N L B L A P M

J B I I A G I E G C P M U Y

E O C R D N I Q N X A L Z G

tarantula guayabera fdk pocchuc hinting

N J A L G A A L Y I F N M X

B T P A N U C H O S T I J F

R E L E N T L E S S T Z D U

E P Y T N E P O F P U F A W

sudzal sidebearings


In a book I read that in the old days, the rulers wanted to call together armies to defend the lands they governed. First they called up the cruelest men because they supposed that these were accustomed to blood. So they drew their armies from the prisons and the slaughterhouses. But it came about that when these people stood face to face with the enemy, they turned pale and threw down their arms. Then the rulers thought of the strongest—the water bearers and the miners. To these they gave armor and heavy weapons and sent them out to do battle. But again, the mere presence of the enemy put weakness in their arms and dismay in their hearts. The rulers wisely then turned to men who, without being either strong or fierce or bloodthirsty, were simply brave and had something rightly to defend—the land they worked, the women they slept with and the children whose laughter gave them delight. And when the time came, these men fought with so much fury they drove off their enemies and forever were free of their threats and harassment. And so I believe and I tell you that the same is happening among us. How can the white masters expect us to fight with terrible passion if it’s only for their benefit and their haciendas and never in the cause of our own spirit? Years ago I read books which told the history of this land. I read them with pleasure, I was caught up in knowing past events and in the way of thinking of people who lived then. One time my godfather told me, ‘The books you read were written by the men who conquered this place. Look with care at the reasons they put on their pages, because if you accept them without question, you will not understand the truth of the land, but rather the truth of men. Still, read them, so that you will learn to the lies hidden in the thoughts of philosophers and in the 137

Text source: Canek: History and Legend of a Maya Hero by Ermilo Gómez


SINUS

MEXICANUS Bermeja

I. de Lobo

Baixos de Tuspa

Vulgo

I. das Areas

Triangulo

GOLFO a eS

o mp

d R.

l va

rifi

s Ya

ac eS

c

lín

d R.

Cabecas

ARS.

Spiritu Medaos d’Ares Santo

S. Jago

Nixapa

A. T riste

Gua R. de

Zapotecas S. Ilefonco

Roca Partida

tin . Mar as d S r r lco e i a S zaco

Pta. de An t Sardo

ca uera

ESPAÑA As Arca

Branen

Juan de Luz

NUEVA

ios

e ed M e

d

DE

La Desc

Ciudad Real

M. Ecate pec R. í zatlan

Chiapa …elenes

R. de Tabasco

TA B A S C O

Salamanco

Zeltales a S. P

Nra Vitor Lago de Xicalang

ulo

Zoques C. Po. de

N


SteveRoss_Yukatek_specimen