Shani Avni

Curator and designer, USA
Shani Avni is the Ismar David Assistant Curator in RIT Cary Graphic Arts Collection. She designs, researches, teaches, consults, writes and lectures on Hebrew type design and typography. Shani holds a BA in Graphic Design from Shenkar College, Israel, and an MA in Typeface Design from the University of Reading, UK. For her MA thesis she researched The David Hebrew typeface family and, since receiving her degree, continues to do so. In 2017, she was chosen for The Cary Research Fellowship, where David's work is archived. Since 2020 she has been the Ismar David Assistant Curator. Her work includes facilitating the access, arrangement, description, preservation and enhancement of the Ismar David papers, as well as processing and researching the printing realia collection of historic Hebrew and Yiddish woodtype. In addition to her focus on Hebrew typography, she holds various classes on the history and practice of Latin typography and type design using the Cary Collection's unique holdings.
About the talk
Hebrew Wood Type at the Cary Collection The Cary Graphic Arts Collection at RIT is one of the world’s premier libraries on graphic communication history and practices. In an effort to expand coverage of global scripts, the Cary acquired a collection of some 40 fonts of Hebrew/Yiddish wood type in 2014. As the Cary focuses on telling the history of printing through original artifacts, this collection has been carefully cleaned and restored in accordance with established archival practices. Now, it serves its purpose as an accessible historical resource. Various research avenues are explored through this unique collection: the development of immigrant presses in the US and their profound cultural influence on the local population; the story of the Jewish communities and the development of the Yiddish language; the Hebrew script and its transformation into movable type and the many constraints this entailed. This talk will focus on how in-depth hands-on research on this printing realia collection informs contemporary Hebrew type design practice.