LANGUAGES MATTER! A UNESCO poster competition

Competition Details

United Letters

by Ayse Kongur

My solution was to promote the brotherhood of multilingualism by creating a composition of non-Latin and Latin letters in typographic harmony. These letters will be immediately recognized by native speakers of the languages in question, and will spark visual interest and prompt curiosity among those used only to the Roman alphabet. The poster aims to celebrate the fact that we have so many different languages and cultures in our world, even if sometimes they are in conflict. Arabic and Hebrew, Armenian and Turkish, Estonian and Russian letters (among others) are positioned harmoniously together. The principal use of English and French is a way of reaching a large majority of potential readers, but our targets have their individuality formed in the context of an immense diversity of scripts and sounds. The use of letterforms is also intended to stress the importance of literacy in the mother language.

The non-Roman letters used, in order of appearance along the line are: Armenian, Greek, Inuktitut, Tamil, Swedish, an e used in Lithuanian and Polish, again Tamil, Arabic and Cyrillic. Then in the French slogan: Japanese, Turkish, Thai, a Devanagari letter used for Hindi, an A with an umlaut used in many European languages including German, Swedish and Slovak, Estonian, Hebrew and again Greek.

The choice of colour is intended to provide a clear contrast for the letter designs. The two examples with a softer colour background aim to convey a gentle, maternal effect, whereas the two bolder choices are more immediately striking to the eye.