Posted by: Just_in | November 10, 2009

Arabic Typography

These typeface and production images come from Arabic type designer and typographer Pascal Zoghbi’s site called 29ArabicLetters

Baseet typeface

Baseet typeface


Baseet is a hybrid Neo-Naskh / Modern Kufi geometric typeface. It is a mixture of straight vertical, horizontal and diagonal pen stokes incorporated in-between curved corners and edges.

The font work perfectly with mono-spaced Roman fonts that share the same characteristics likeSimple, T-Star MonoRound, Module etc…

FF Seria Arabic typeface

Sada type family

Characteristics of Sada type family

Sada consists of two different kinds of sharpness applied in the structure of the letters. When the stroke flows into a closed counter (a loop), only the sharp corner is applied on the inner part of the curve, and when the stoke flows into an open counter, the sharpness is applied both on the inner and the outer part of the curve.

Since Sada has to work with the serif FFSeria. A Naskh based structure was adopted with a high contrast structure based on the broad nib pen. Yet, the weight in FFSeria is applied on the horizontal strokes and not on the diagonals as in a traditional broad nib based structure. As a result, the weight in Sada had to be moved from the diagonals to the verticals and make the structure of the glyphs more straightened up.
The solution was to make all the toothed glyphs and the right side of looped glyphs straightened up and the weight applied on the vertical (which is more Kufik), while the stroke in the left side of the glyph was kept flowing more calligraphically and the weight is applied on the diagonal (which is more Naskh). This combination gave Sada a unique feel.

Unlike most Arabic fonts, the counter shapes in ‘Sada’ are well opened and will not clot up at small point sizes. Additionally, the open counters enable ‘Sada’ to acquire more weights (from Thin to Black) and make it more legible and readable.

Usually in Arabic font the ascenders and descenders are taller than the loop and tooth heights. That makes the Arabic script feel like it is a line with some upper and lower strokes coming out of it. In ‘Sada’, there is an even balance between the loop height, tooth height, ascender and descender. This gives the font a more balanced look.

The color of ‘Sada’ in a set text is even. The grey of the text is the same as the grey of the Roman type. This is because the glyphs are proportional.

Sada is a marriage between a stiff straight baseline and a very calligraphic curvy one. The glyphs connect in a slight curve but at the same time define a very clear baseline. The glyphs connect in a slight curve but at the same time define a very clear baseline. The glyphs sit clearly on the baseline without having a robust straight line.

Sada supports Arabic, Farsi and Urdu Languages and offers the choice between Arabic hanging figures, Indic figures, Farsi figures and Urdu Figures. Usually, most of the Arabic typefaces only have the Indic figures while a few other new Arabic typefaces have lining Arabic figures. Since there are no capitals in the Arabic script, lining uppercase Arabic figures look bigger than the Arabic text. My solution was to borrow the hanging figures of FFSeria and modify them to work better with the Arabic script.

GillSans Arabic typeface

GillSans Arabic


Gill Arabic started as a project while working with GillSans in the Letter Press workshop at The Royal Academy of Arts (KABK). The project is still under development. Gill Arabic will be the Arabic type companion for GillSans. Once finalized the type will have an Arabic name and not GillSans Arabic. The type is based on the Arabic Naskh Style with a modern look that echoes the proportions and feel of GillSans.


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