Vietnamese Sample: The Tale of Kiều

Nguyễn Du’s Truyện Kiều (The Tale of Kiều) is recognized as the masterpiece of national literature. Structured in lục-bát (six-eight) couplets, Truyện Kiều, which consists of 3,254 lines, is not only a literary bible but also a national epic that has inspired political debate, social critique, and revolutionary spirit.

Last Friday, I typeset Truyện Kiều in Portada to showcase Vietnamese Typography. With Portada, ​​Veronika Burian and José Scaglione set out to create a serif family that’s as clear and readable as a sans family in digital environments. Portada is designed specifically for user interfaces as well as long reading online. Portada has extended its support for Vietnamese. In working with Vik and José on Vietnamese diacritics for Portada, I caught a glimpse of how the two talented designers collaborated. They lived up to their foundry’s name: TypeTogether. For the title, I chose Water Brush, designed by Robert Leuschke, which has a hand-drawing vibe, to give the cover a paper quality.

When I published and launched the online version of Vietnamese Typography, I created a few samples just to give type designers how Vietnamese diacritics were being applied to different applications and publications. The samples, however, have turned into small design projects for me to experiment with Vietnamese typography. In addition, they have become my collection of Vietnamese art, culture, and literature. I hope you enjoy glancing at them or reading them if you can read Vietnamese. Take a look at Truyện Kiều.