Art and design inspiration from around the world – CreativeRoots

Inspired by - Central America

New Maya Language Redesigning an Ancient Script

Posted by rod - 27.09.2010

Designed by Frida Larios

The Maya was a civilisation of indigenous natives that populated Central America from around 1500 BC who invented the concept of number zero and whose calendric measurements are the most accurate in the history of the civilised world. They created and used one of the most beautiful and intelligent logographic languages, still quite unknown to western hemispheres. The Maya scribes had a very privileged position in the socio-political system and were multi-talented“ they were artists, sculptors, and calligraphers, and were also believed to be astronomers, mathematicians, historians and royal book keepers.

Original Maya hieroglyphs were both ideographic and syllabographic. The research proposes a unique interpretation of the original Maya hieroglyphs with the aim of applying them to contemporary visual communications by designing symbols and pictograms that can be used in signage across archaeological and public sites in Central America. My New Maya Language is a redesign of certain ideographs that communicate concepts and even sentences. My work parallels the principle of the Chinese-concept script where primary root or Lego-like pictograms can be combined to generate compound pictograms that signify a more complex idea. For example, Stone +Fire combined equal the Lavastone New Maya Language ideogram.

The first image shows the set of narrative glyphs developed as my Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design in London master’s thesis case study for Joya de Cerén, an UNESCO World Heritage Archaeological Site in El Salvador in Central America. Its content is about common citizen’s way of living, about their eating habits, social relations, architecture and agriculture very unlike the majestic religious temples usually found in the region. Because the Maya written language was not democratic, this system can help surpass language barriers and literacy disadvantages while at the same time enhance users experience and learning in public locations, or simply be appreciated as an art form.

The rest of images shown are live examples of how the proposal has been taken forward to different areas of communication, such as corporate, information and product design. The 100-page hand-bound book, translated in four languages: English, Spanish, Maya, and visually, compiles and decodes the project. via indigodesignnetwork and robertlpeters

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1 Comment (add yours?)

This one was fascinating. Thanks for the good images and links. I quite like Larios’ work and projects. More like this please.

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