In the sixties I was inspired by ancient calligraphy such as the Dead Sea scrolls and copied passages from the Bible using that style of writing. While I was living in Israel I began to cultivate my own design for Hebrew letters. After retirement I realized that inexpensive software tools had become available for creating fonts of my own. This activity occupied me in the dark Massachusetts winters and eventually I made a True Type font which I named "Mike Hebrew" available on my website. This font proved popular with 58,000 visits and a total of 25,250 individual downloads. My next step was to take advantage of Open Type technology to create a professional font which I called "Shuneet" (my wife's name).
In my handwritten calligraphy the shape of each letter could be improvised to fit into a word. In contrast with a computer font, a given letter always has the same shape. I gradually evolved letter shapes which would look good no matter which letters were neighbors. This was done by examining whole pages of text. I strove for a crisp modern appearance which at the same time might remind one of ancient writing.
I am not a native speaker (or reader) of Hebrew so I chose texts with which I could become as familiar as possible - poems, biblical passages and song lyrics. My Hebrew reading improved. Instead of single letters, I saw whole words, phrases and even sentences at a single glance. Each letter was made unique and readability improved. While reading a lyric, I listen to the song and delight at the many renderings available on the internet. This accounts for an unusual feature of this website: I present the lyrics in my own fonts and provide links to the music so you too can read and listen.
Michael Cunliffe Thompson