Multilingual Typography;
Signs and Language in Israeli Urban Culture


Abstract: Ellen Lupton stated, [typography is]  “the tool for doing things with: shaping content, giving language a physical body, enabling the social flow of messages.” Typography is a main element of visual communication and graphic design. It is written language presented in aesthetic form to communicate a message to a public audience and has a very important and contemporary position globally. (Ertep, 2011) Typography allows viewers to navigate a flow of content, offering a system of hierarchy in design with text and image. 

Within the state of Israel, the typography of public spaces presents three languages; Hebrew and Arabic (official), and English (semi-official). This linguistic structure is re-established within the visual presentation of typography upon the country’s linguistic landscape. Currently, trilingual signage is a commonality of Israel’s urban environment, where letterforms of Hebrew, Arabic, and English are presented to supply a translation of the same information. This essay examines the culmination of Hebrew, Arabic, and English typography within Israeli public spaces and explores visual strategies in multilingual design.

Keywords: typography, visual communication, linguistic landscape, and language preference