Events » SHARE#3 Brussels Conference » Speakers » Jo De Baerdemaeker

Jo De Baerdemaeker


"Mongolian script: from metal type to digital font" aims to provide a comprehensive historical account of the evolution of the printed Mongolian character, and to offer practice-oriented guidance in designing and developing new digital fonts for the traditional Mongolian script. It adopts the methodology developed and tested in De Baerdemaeker’s work on Tibetan typeforms, which uses an exhaustive historical survey to support critical contemporary analysis.

The prime objectives are to develop a framework for describing the visual and technical quality of Mongolian typefaces; to determine the extent of printing houses using Mongolian typefaces and the connection with the individual punchcutters/type designers or typefoundries & companies of printing material and typesetting equipment creating and/or supplying these founts; to explore how Mongolian typefaces were developed and typeset; and to set up practical guidelines for creating contemporary digital fonts for the traditional Mongolian script.

The project website presents findings and practical guidance supported by theoretical analysis, in conjunction with the database of Mongolian typefaces, publicly available to scholars of Mongolian language and culture, to historians of print, to professional (typeface) designers, software developers, librarians, linguists, academics, and to all those who have an interest in non-Latin typography and typeface design.

This research project is funded by the Leverhulme Trust and collaborates with The British Library (London), St Bride Library (London), Cambridge University Library, KBR (Brussels), Bichig Soyol Script and Language Center (Ulaanbaatar),  National University of Mongolia (Ulaanbaatar), the Institute of Mongolian Language and Literature (Ulaanbaatar), National Museum of Mongolian History (Ulaanbaatar), Khumuun Bichig newspaper/Montsame Mongolian National News Agency (Ulaanbaatar), Museum of Rare and valuable books at the National Library of Mongolia (Ulaanbaatar), Gandantegchinlen Monastery (Ulaanbaatar), Zanabazar Museum, Ulaanbaatar (Ulaanbaatar), Imprimerie Nationale (Paris), Hessisches Landesmuseum (Darmstadt), Klingspor Museum (Frankfurt-am-Main), Museo Bodoniano (Parma), Academy of Sciences (St Petersburg),  Institute of Oriental Manuscripts (St Petersburg)

The outcome results in practical consultancy with font software companies to improve the tools for creating digital Mongolian fonts, in an online database of Mongolian typefaces and in the publication of a one volume monograph. This talk will outline the objectives of the research project and shed a light on how the material of the various international locations was collected, managed and processed during the research period.


Dr Jo De Baerdemaeker is an independent Belgian typeface designer and researcher. He holds a PhD in Typography & Graphic Communication from the University of Reading and an MA in Typeface Design from the University of Reading. His interests are designing, researching and writing about world script typefaces and multilingual typography. He is elected board member and the ATypI Country Delegate for Belgium, and currently teaches in the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication (University of Reading) and in LUCA (campus Sint-Lukas Brussels), and in KASK School of Arts (HO Gent). In May 2011 he started his postdoctoral research fellowship on “Mongolian script: from metal type to digital font” at Reading.
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