29LT Azer : Multilingual Typeface

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Azer in Arabic means friendly, ready to assist and lend a hand. This multilingual typeface combines simple lines with careful detailing to create a serious but approachable look. The Arabic is a Naskh/Kufi hybrid and retains a balance between calligraphic angular cuts and unadorned construction. The Latin is a humanist sans-serif with crisp cuts based on the broad nib pen calligraphic structure and contemporary outlines. The fonts include Arabic, Farsi, Urdu and Latin variants. Azer is available in five weights, ranging from a delicate thin ideal for refined headlines to a thick black perfect for chunky titles and in-text emphasis.

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Where Arabic typefaces have a strong horizontal structure because of baseline letter connections, Latin typefaces have a vertical rhythm because of an upright stem structure present in most glyphs. To resolve this discrepancy, Azer Latin was drawn with conic shaped stems, inspired by the Arabic Alef glyph. The thirty-degree angle of the broad nib pen increases the horizontal stress of the Latin letters, which brings the overall color of the Latin text closer to the Arabic Text.

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The Arabic and the Latin mirror each other’s appearances much like fraternal twins with compatible attitudes. Azer Latin is earnest and sincere; Azer Arabic is direct and austere.

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The Naskh calligraphic style of the Arabic variant is complemented by a calligraphic broad nip pen technique in the Latin, creating strong pen strokes: crisp broken cuts with open and fluid letter structure.

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Azer is approachable without being sloppy, serious without being conformist. The typeface combines charm, simplicity and consideration.

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This mix of influences defines the “flavor” of the Latin, making it an interesting original typeface that is not only a perfect match for its Arabic counterpart, but also a friendly standalone typeface with a lot of personality. It can also be considered an original Latin typeface with a good Arabic companion.

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In 2008, Azer was designed part of a branding project Wael Morcos and I, Pascal Zoghbi, were collaborating on. When the Global Financial crisis took its toll on the UAE, the project was postponed indefinitely and the first outlines of the font remained unfinished.

There remained a strong need, however, to address the shortcomings of contemporary Arabic typography, which tends to be either too classical or too resistant to the aesthetic values of Arabic Calligraphy.

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We resumed the design in preparation for the launch of the 29LT type foundry. As the Arabic design took shape, we contacted Ian Party from SwissTypefaces to design the Latin companion. Ian loved the outlines and cuts and was enthusiastic to draw the Latin inspired from the Arabic structures. As such, Azer is one of the few multilingual typefaces originated in Arabic.

The design progressed over a two-year period during which the three of us collaborated to bring the fonts to fruition. Azer will be one of the typefaces published as part of the official launch of the 29LT type foundry in August 2013.

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Azer comes in five weights (thin, light, regular, bold, black) and includes over 200 Arabic Ligatures that lend distinctive calligraphic character to contemporary type. When turned on, the ligatures change the look of the design and add energy to the line, making the words richer and more expressive.

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The two scripts share many characteristics including overall proportions, contrast, open counters and endings, terminal and finial structure, as well as diamond-shaped diacritic dots.

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8 Comments

  1. I was spellbound reading this and looking at the letters. They definitely live up to the description! They are perfect for our times and beyond: serious yet approachable lending themselves to many writings, especially on the web. I’m especially thinking about blogs and web pages, as well as some corporate fonts. The Latin characters can definitely stand on their own. Bravo!

  2. في الواقع الفونت مبتذل . لا اعتقد انه سينجح صديقي . اتمنى ان ينجح لكنه متعوب عليه

  3. In fact, just doing a mental inventory of all the things in your life you have to be grateful for will help you feel better about the one or several things you are down about.
    Well, you probably wouldn’t have much fun sulking either.
    Beginning your path to becoming positive can start with the simplest of things.

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