Donmeh is a display typeface based on specimens and samples found on Greek advertisements from the 50s. It is a caps only typeface with reversed stress, a rather unorthodox but popular approach with Greek sign painters and letterers.
Its name (properly written with an dieresis over the o, Dönmeh) refers to a group of crypto-Jews in the Ottoman Empire who converted publicly to Islam, but were said to have retained their be-liefs (you can read more about them here). The reason for choosing this name is multifold:
1.As a tribute to Thessaloniki, my birth-/hometown, which was actually the main center for the historical movement of the Dönmeh. An open city with an long multicultural tradition, where Greeks, Hebrews, Muslims, Armenians and several other ethnic groups created a rich cultural amalgam whose remains are still visible today.
2.Due to the similarities of the typeface’s strokes with both the Arabic script and the Hebrew alphabet, with its heavy top and bottom horizontal strokes. Even though I have no solid knowl-edge or historical proof for the actual origins of this typeface’s design (or its original design-er), I am certain that it has such roots (to be further researched).
3.As a tribute to openness, collaboration and cultural diversity, and, most importantly, a tribute to the “sacred humans” (in a literal/poetic sense and not Giorgio Agamben’s interpretation of the homo sacer); she who constantly reminds us that the most important aspects of being a human are selflessness and solidarity; he who seeks asylum and protection, and who must be treated with respect and the utmost compassion and support; those whose tragic and un-fair deaths in the Aegean sea, Lampedusa or Calais, should not be in vain but change us and shake us to the core instead. Those “sacred humans” that essentially were/are/will always be (like) us; and we will always be (like) them: The refugees.
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