Ornek is a display typeface in the newly proposed Kazakh Latin alphabet. The word Ornek translates to ornament in Kazakh. This typeface and these specimen posters are inspired by the patterns and colors found in traditional Kazakh tapestry.
In 2017, my country, Kazakhstan transitioned from a Cyrillic to a Latin-based alphabet. This isn’t the first time the country has switched alphabets. At one point, the official language was Arabic. When the new alphabet was announced, I saw an opportunity to create a new typeface.
Throughout history, my country’s culture has constantly been influenced and shaped by other cultures. As a result, many of our traditions have been lost. I wanted to create Ornek, not only as a tool for people but also to preserve the essence of Kazakh culture during this transition period.
I drew inspiration from the ornamental patterns found in traditional wool rugs known as “Shyrdak,” which are felted by Kazakh women. The crafting of wool rugs is a very labor-intensive tradition, that is still done today. These rugs are known to be vibrant in color and embellished with patterns, which I tried to emulate within my letterforms and specimen posters.