Huruf is a collective of people coming together to inspire interest in typography in Malaysia. Here is our manifesto:

1. To create awareness of typography in Malaysia
Typography is an under-appreciated subject in Malaysia. It is a designer’s jargon and is often assumed to be a discipline for nitpickers. But typography is ubiquitous in our everyday life. Like the air we breathe, like the voice you speak with, typography is alive and well as soon as a written communication takes place, even in these very words you quietly read in your head.

2. To explore the typographic heritage in Malaysia
Typography is not just about craft and technicality, it is the study of the texture and grain of the written voice at the interface of language, history, and culture. How could the typographic expression in our surrounding shed light on the variety of identities and richness of the people living in Malaysia? Huruf considers typography as a fruitful entry point towards the understanding of cultural heritage in Malaysia.

3. To experiment with typography using various types of media
Typography stretches beyond the “type”. To Huruf, typography is inclusive of all written, calligraphic, vernacular letterforms. As a medium of the written voice, typography should reflect the amplitude, rhythm, intonation, or accent, all of which constitutes a distinct personality rooted in specific localities. Type is media. Type is an extension of the person. As such, Huruf seeks to challenge the canonisation of typographic standards and is open to non-conventional methods.

4. To advocate the teaching and learning of both Latin and non-Latin typography
There is an unstated presumption that typography is almost synonymous with “Latin typography”. The near absence of non-Latin typography in Malaysia’s design pedagogy undermines its diverse linguistic landscape. In stressing the importance of locality, Huruf prioritises multilingualism and vernacular typography to offset the uneven emphasis on Latin over non-Latin scripts.

5. To consider typography as a discourse of knowledge to be shared and contested
Typography essentially seeks to communicate. Typography is about connection, engagement, and understanding. With this in mind, Huruf hopes to play a meaningful role in the dissemination of typographic knowledge in the form of open discussion and critical exchange.

Still typing
→ Type:Seeing | Jalan-Jalan Kuala Lumpur,
first premiere at Type Drives Culture 2022

Huruf is a type and design collective that seeks to encourage awareness of and discourse on typography in Malaysia. Huruf has developed projects that investigate vernacular typography, local typographic heritage and multilingualism. Working at the intersection of design and pedagogy, Huruf is active in organising workshops and talks to facilitate knowledge exchange among type enthusiasts. Founded by Tan Sueh Li in 2017, Huruf has since grown to include an eclectic mix of creatives including Low Hsin Yin, Tan Zi Hao, David Ho Ming Aun, Fam Kai-Cong and Louie Lee Wei Yi.