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This free typeface is a love letter to Filipino accent marks

I bought a book of Manila Times’ essays from Intramuros’ Tradewinds Bookshop. Upon reading a couple of pages, the first thing I noticed were accent marks. Philippine literature was once riddled with them in the past. Nowadays, we barely see them in textbooks and novels. 

That’s why graphic artist John David Maza created Maragsâ—a typeface serving as an homage to the lost usage of Filipino accent marks. 

“Hango sa hubog ng tuldik na pakupyâ, nais nitong ipagdiwang ang mga Pilipinong wika,” reads his Facebook post. “Ito ang aking paraan upang maipamalas ang pagmamahal sa bayan.”

The semi-serif typeface’s elements come from the pakupyâ accent. Its tapered tips, hastily drawn strokes and abrupt cuts guide the look of Maza’s typeface. Maragsâ is how we pronounce words with stress and a glottal stop (a.k.a diin at impit), which is represented by a pakupyâ mark. 

“One of the perks of growing up in the Visayas is being able to understand a variety of regional vernaculars along with the national language Filipino, which is largely based on the tongue of the Tagalog people in Luzon,” shares Maza in his post. “I wanted this project to be inclusive and showcase the beauty of other local languages as well through accented glyphs.”

At a time where Filipino and Panitikan are no longer core subjects in college, it’s nice to see artists honor our lingua franca. It can be through promoting our literature or through innovative ways—like making a whole typeface to honor it.

Read more: Subliminal Strokes: The art of Filipino sign painting

Check out the Maragsâ typeface here.

Read more:
Get to know the first Tausūg National Artist’s work through this free font
These free fonts were inspired by the Philippine revolution
We talked to the creator of the free Cavite-inspired typeface

Photo from John David Maza

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Rogin Losa
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