HANTIN In the making

Nov 2017

HANTIN:  A Hybrid Typeface Design for Multilingual Typography

HANTIN is a hybrid modular typeface that combines of Hangul and Latin letter forms and writing systems. This typeface enables a reader to understand Latin phonetic sounds without needing to study English beforehand. Conversely, the typeface also allows a reader to understand Korean phonetic sounds without the need to study Korean.

HANTIN is a response to the multilingual phenomena of several languages being used simultaneously in a single piece of visual communication. Nowadays, different typefaces are frequently seen together and this is having a growing influence on the basics of written communication. In countries where alphabets are not Roman, the contrast is remarkable. It is common to see advertisements, sign posts, publications, newspapers in more than one language – especially in Korea where English can be seen everywhere.

Fig. 1. An illustrated example of the mixture of Korean and Latin phonetic
sound that shows ㅅequals A and S equalㅏand, together, SA equals 사

As a bilingual speaker of Korean and English, I intuitively link Latin and Korean alphabets by the similarity of their shapes or phonetic sounds. For example: ㅅ equals A and S equal ㅏ and, together, SA equals 사. Because of the common features in these phonograms, I found this to be a very interesting way to address this phenomena of bilingual speaking and reading.

Fig. 2. Hangul in HANTIN A and Latin in HANTIN B typeface

HANTIN consist of two distinct styles: HANTIN A and HANTIN B. HANTIN A is arranged by following the Korean writing system and allows English speakers to read Korean. The Korean writing system is phonemic writing system which the consonants and vowels arranged on the horizontal, or vertically up or down, which gives Korean writing it’s distinctive form for individual words. HANTIN B writes both alphabets in the linear Latin writing system. In this way, Korean speakers can read Latin letters.

Fig. 3. A glyph from HANTIN A that overlaying ㅎ and H
Fig. 4. An example of a word written in HANTIN A. This word means
‘type’ in Korean, which is phonetically pronounced ‘hwal ja’

In HANTIN A, the phonetic sounds represented by Korean characters are matched with Latin letter counterparts. The HANTIN A alphabet is produced by overlaying glyphs with corresponding phonetic sounds. For instance, ㅎ is a Hangul consonant; its phonetic sound matches the Latin letter H. Thus, in the HANTIN A, the [sound ‘huh’] will appear in a overlaid form of ㅎ and H.
In HANTIN B, the process is reversed: the phonetic sounds that are represented by specific Latin letters are matched with corresponding sounds in the Korean alphabet. Each letterform in the HANTIN B alphabet is then also created by overlaying the two glyphs that share phonetic sounds.

Fig. 5. Letters from HANTIN B which correspond different sounds
made by the letter ‘A’

Despite their connection with similar phonetic sounds, HANTIN A and HANTIN B alphabets are quiet different because individual letters in the Latin alphabet have more than one sound, while Korean characters represent only one sound. For instance, the letter ‘A’ can be read as different sounds depending on its location in a word. Thus, in HANTIN B, ‘A’ is matched with five different Hangul vowels.
HANTIN is a font in the usual sense as it is a means of writing Hangul and Latin alphabets, but it can also be used to transliterate Korean into Latin and vice versa. This typeface is for the Korean or Latin speakers who want to know or learn about the other’s language.

Fig. 6. An example of a word written in HANTIN B. This word is ‘cat’ in
Latin which is phonetically pronounced as ‘캣’ in Korean