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Cambodian Millennials Develop Typography to Keep Khmer Alive in the Digital Age

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Typing one Khmer letter on a keyboard involves multiple keystrokes. Consequently, Cambodians often use phonetic English spellings for informal communications. 

As the world becomes increasingly digital, many Cambodian millennials are keeping their alphabet alive by creating Khmer typography

The Khmer Typography Team can thrive thanks to Danh Hong, a Vietnamese graphic designer who programmed Khmer Unicode in 2001. Before that, any attempt at computerizing Khmer had to be done using Latin Lettering programs, which was extremely challenging. 

Hong explains why creating Khmer typography is so difficult: "2,821 complex consonant combinations with stacked overlapping consonant feet and vowels." Creating a complete alphabet takes a lot of time. 

Both amateur and professional Cambodian typographers use a Facebook group to look for help, encouragement, and inspiration. Part of the Facebook group includes an unofficial archive of fonts they like, fount anywhere from Buddhist Scriptures to album covers. 

A current typography projects is inspired by one of these posts in the Facebook group. The post is a picture of a chalkboard full of a teacher's writing. The group went crazy for her beautiful handwriting, and typographers are hoping to get permission to digitalize her style. 

We now live in a world where digital communication rules and the Latin keyboard dominates. We are lucky to have young, tech-savvy individuals like the members of Khmer Typography Team who are passionate about digitalizing their language. 

Here at FontSpace, we have a wide variety of fonts from up-and-coming typographers. Do you have a font you'd like to share? If so, contact us!

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