One of the most famous students in “old” Bezalel was type artist Yaakov Stark, who emigrated to Israel in 1905 and joined the institute a year later as one of it’s first ten students.
the student Yaakov Stark in action, 1906
Stark used the Hebrew letter as a decorative motif, mainly for decorative wall hangings patterns and for books. Stark’s design was influenced by the Islamic arabesque as well as the European typography of the beginning of the century, in the style of Art Nouveau.
In his monograms, it was sometimes difficult to detect the exact letter on which the ornament was based on, though it was very clear it originated from the Hebrew alphabet. In later years, influenced by Bauhaus ideology, the stylized letters Stark was influenced by started disappearing, and instead simpler letters, more easy to read appeared.
examples of typographic decorative wall hangings patterns, Yaakov Stark, 1906
More than a century have past, and again at Bezalel Hebrew letters appear as a decorative motif. In a beautiful project within a typography class led by Avi Eisenstein, a fourth year student, Yael Segal presents typographic patterns based on individual letters from contemporary Hebrew fonts.
Yael Segal presents typographic patterns, 2011. Right: Prof. Eisenstein
“The project began out of respect for the Hebrew letter, it is in fact a visual research that includes over 500 examples”, says Yael. “I tried to display a different outlook of pattern making using the Hebrew letter, that loses its familiar sound and undertakes a new sound, a new look, a new form – and yet it remains strong.
from the project: A pattern based on 'Meoded Serif' typface
from the project book. Respect for the Hebrew letter