Ross Mills, with the latest release of Huronia, is cornering the market on Amerindian type design. (The official typeface of the Nunavut government, Pigiarniq, was released by Mills in 2001.) One of the only modulated Inuktitut renditions I’ve come across, Huronia is a pleasure up close and a graceful plodder for setting long copy.
For this write-up, I’ve had to educate myself on the origin and use of Inuktitut. A recent system, Inuktitut was modified from the Cree and Ojibwe syllabic systems, which themselves only came into existence around 1840 by the missionary James Evans. The aboriginal North-American languages were almost always exclusively oral, and currently Inuktitut uses Latin (Canada) and Cyrillic (Siberia) interchangeably with Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics for their written communications.
Across the writing systems, the Huronia drawings are a beautiful post-individual-tool rendering: somewhere between brush strokes (the Inuktitut italics!) and paper cut-outs (the Latin Capitals!) with their mix of smoothly wavering curves and scissor-turning corners. The sometimes cockeyed angles and decisions of the individual glyphs, when viewed at a macro scale, explain themselves as they blend seamlessly in text — a warmer Dwiggins, not to overuse the reference.
When I first spotted Huronia, only Latin and Inuktitut were supported. Upon a revisit for penning this, I saw that Cherokee, additional Native American support, and Greek are en route, thus soon covering all of North America and a small peninsula in the Mediterranean.
Stunning! What a beautiful take on these glyphs!
I find it unconscionable that a font that is supposedly designed for the purpose of transcribing oral histories of Indigenous Peoples is not freely available for download by those who need it most –> Indigenous Peoples. I would use this font for many family projects related to transcribing our stories but I cannot even download it without having to pay for it. I was originally excited to find Huronia but now I feel exploited.
Have you tried contacting the designer or foundry, Trudy?
No one is being exploited. The Huronia family is both beautiful and fully comprehensive in multiple languages. The Regular face has more than 911 glyphs in 21 character sets. I know the type designer personally. He is incredibly knowledgeable, talented (obviously), and generous with his time. It is entirely reasonable that professional type designers monetize their efforts just as do those in other professions. I agree with Stephen that it’s always worth contacting the foundry.