Graphic Languages: A Visual Guide to the World’s Writing Systems is a project by designer Oliver Häusle that explores the most widespread writing systems and languages on earth. Like the languages, the respective writing systems are also unique, contain different rules and features, and Häusle was keen to delve into these in his book to not just understand and recognise different writing systems, but to also raise awareness of their diversity, and encourage inclusivity, cross-cultural communication and interaction.
The idea for the book was sparked by a project Häusle worked on last year with Mike Razniewski for a club and bar in Tokyo. While most of the text was in English, the pair needed to incorporate some Japanese words. “Finding a suitable typeface that supported both Latin and Japanese scripts proved challenging, as such typefaces are rare. Consequently, we opted to create custom Japanese glyphs to complement a Latin typeface,” Häusle explains.
“However, since we couldn’t read or understand Japanese, our approach was mainly focused on just shaping the glyphs. We also encountered difficulty in capturing the same aesthetic and emotional essence as the Latin typeface because of the inherent differences between the two scripts. Ultimately, we worked closely with our client, who assisted us in understanding the glyphs we designed, enabling us to achieve our intended outcome.”