The Endangered Alphbets - Chittagong Hill Tract Project
The Mro Typeface
For my Final Major Project at Cambridge School of Art, I was asked by a teacher if I would like to join Tim Brookes and His Endangered Alphabets Project team. I jumped at the chance to join as I had a keen interest in typography, non-latin scripts and constructed languages.
The Project involved the development of several endangered writting systems from the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh. The idea was to take scripts that are dying out and transform them into a fonts so that people could start typing with them and publish books to try and save them. For the project it was decided that I would create two of the scripts into a typeface that would be able to enter font creation stage after my deadline had come and that for the Final Major Project I would just create the vector forms of the typefaces and present them as specimen books and posters.
This is the first typeface I picked, it is called Mro.
The Mro (also called Mru or Murong) script is used for writing the Mro language, spoken in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh. The script was created in the 1980s by a man called Menlay Murang (or Manley Mro), a Mro by descent, as redemption for a catastrophe told in Mro legend. Traditional folklore has it that god Turai wrote down a script and a religion for the Mro people, as for all the other tribes, and gave it to a cow to deliver to them. However, the cow became tired and hungry during the long journey from heaven, and ate the book it was carrying, and the script was forever lost. Every year the Mro sacrifice a representative cow in a festival to commemorate their loss; this festival has become one of their most distinctive rituals. Until the 1980s it was a great source of shame to the Mro people that they did not have a script of their own, and Menlay Murang is held in high esteem for redeeming them from this. It is estimated that the literacy rate among the Mro in their own script is greater than 80%. Education in the script is available up to grade 3. Some textbooks claim that Menlay Murang based the script on Roman, Burmese and Chinese characters, although others state that any similarity to other scripts is purely coincidental. Sources agree, however, that the script bears no natural genetic relationship with any existing script. The Mro script is an alphabet; each character represents one sound, and some sounds are represented by more than one letter. It is written horizontally from left to right with spaces between words. No tone marks or combining characters are used (Source).
The typeface for Mro I created takes inspiration from blackletter type and Calligraphy forms of the letters in attempt to creat something that could work in print but keep its orginally feel to it.
More infomation on Endangered alpahbets at: http://www.endangeredalphabets.com
Download the Keyboard layout here