Creating Arabic adaptations for existing Latin logotype is not a matter a copy pasting (chopped-up & collage) letter parts from the Latin to create the Arabic, but a real understand of both Latin and Arabic script and the ability to work professionally with both of them. The Arabic adaptation should be drawn from scratch keeping in mind the proportions and characteristics of the Latin logotype.
Mike, LAU Byblos — Sketches for Chaos Arabic logotype adaptation.
Four major typographic key points must be respected in-order to achieve a professional Arabic type/logotype adaptation:
1. What are the typographic aspects of the Latin type/logotype? Analyze the Latin type and understand its characteristics.
2. Which Arabic calligraphic style works best with the feel of the Latin? Geometric SansSerifs work best with Kufi based Arabic fonts, Humanist SansSerifs work best with modern Naskh based fonts, Serifs work best with cursive Naskh, Thuluth and Diwani, so on…)
3. What will the Arabic typographic guidelines be according to the Latin? Since there is no x-height in Arabic, you need to decide on the heights of the loop, eye and tooth heights for the Arabic letters. The ascenders and descenders remain the same, but some additional descenders or ascenders might be added.
4. How to transfer the stroke weight, contrast and endings shape from the Latin to the Arabic logotype.
Bellow are some case studies from projects I worked on, my students’ work at LAU and images from UAE and KSA showing Arabic type adaptations:
Jumeirah Arabic Case Study:
Jumeirah Arabic is an exclusive corporate type for Jumeirah International in Dubai. It is a descriptor type for the main Jumeirah Logotype in-order to typeset the names of all the luxurious resorts and hotels in Jumeirah. The type might also be used as display and signage type for all the publications and facilities of Jumeirah International.The type was created in collaboration with Huba AbiFares.
Below is an illustration of the previously done Arabic adaptation for Cronos Pro:
• The design shows no consistency in the stroke contrast, no respect for the proportions or shapes of Arabic letters.
• The Arabic letters are not based on the proper styles of the Arabic writing system and so some letters (like the Jeem, could read as a totally other letter, the Sad or Meem).
• This Frankenstein type of design, known as LATINIZED ARABIC, shows little understanding for the art of Arabic lettering and lack of respect for the Arabic script or culture (most probably not intended as such).
The wrong creation process that was used to create the old Jumeirah logo descriptor font. WHAT NOT TO DO.
Arabic type created from parts of Latin letterforms without any respect for the stroke contrast or proportionality of the letters. The type is not based on any Arabic calligraphic style like Kufi or Naskh. The Arabic letters are created from the Latin letter directly using the process of cut and past with rotation and flip. Notice how the “o” becomes the “meem”, the “b” becomes the “jeem”, the “q” becomes the “heh”, etc.
Below are my sketching alternatives for the new Jumeirah Arabic type:
Kufi based sketch with proportional guidelines, contrast and guidelines as the Latin. Kufi type is chosen since the Arabic needs to work with the Capitals of the Latin
Kufi based construction sketch with a straight baseline and the letters are very close to the old letter-forms. The “dal” is redrawn since the previous one was so obvious as a “h”. The other letters where redrawn with a Arabic feel to them but keeping as much possible the old shape.
Same as the second sketch but here the baseline is not straight and there is up-strokes at the ending of each letter.
Simplified Naskh construction sketch. Notice the “dal” now is open, the “meem” and “heh” have more a Naskh based construction, and the “jeem” has a curvy lower stroke on the right side to make it look more as a Naskh “jeem”. This option is more calligraphic and based on the pen stroke rather then the first two option where the Letter-forms are constructed of geometric kufic forms.
Same as the forth sketch but even more Naskh or even Diwani based constructions. Notice the shapes of the “meem”, “heh” and “jeem”.
The final analysis of the new font is:
Jumeirah Arabic is a Neo-Kufi type with large open letterforms and short ascenders and descenders. The starting and ending strokes of the pen have a free and fresh feel to them. The type renders the characteristic and atmosphere of the Jumeirah resorts and hotels. Since Jumeirah International uses Cronos Pro as their Latin corporate type, Jumeirah Arabic is created to work side by side with Cronos Pro and it has the same feel and structure to it.
Kufi based Arabic type with proportional guidelines, contrast and guidelines in relation to the Latin font (Capitals) of Cronos Pro. That is why the font has a large loop, tooth and eye heights and very short ascenders and descenders.
Jumeirah Arabic was created as a replacement to the previous Latinized Arabic type that they were using. We were asked to created a TRUE Arabic type that works with the Latin type and not like the previous Latinized Arabic type which was created from collaging parts from the Latin letters of Cronos Pro font.
The type has calligraphic traits but is based on the upright geometric Kufi style, which gives a contemporary sans serif look but maintains the legibilty. Kufi style was mostly used for monumental inscriptions and large texts, due to its high and clear letterforms. This gives the arabic font an elegant, majestic and authoritative look that matches the latin Cronos font. The type has some mixed letter shapes from the Naskh style (to match the handwritten flavor of the Latin font).
Al HEMA Arabic Case Study:
The following two Logotypes are my own proposals for the HEMA Arabic Logotype. Since the HEMA logotype is written with Helvetica Bold, I decided to draw the Arabic version of it based on the Geometric Kufi style. The four letters where based on the kufi letter structures and proportionate to the four Latin HEMA letters.
The first has a straight unbroken baseline which makes it look more even with the Latin capitals. On the other hand, the “Meem.medial” looks more like a “Meem.initial” and might be less legible than the “Meem.medial” that is found in the second option. In the second option, the baseline is broken but it keeps its stiffness. The “Meem.medial” descends below the baseline as a standard medial Kufi “Meem” is drawn. This improves legibility for the “Meem” and makes the Arabic Logotype look more “Arabic”. ;)
The HEMA logotype is composed from Helvetica Bold. Since it is all Caps, I analysed the Characteristics and the stroke flow of the Capitals in Helvetica Bold. The “H”, “E” and “M” were used to define the horizontal and vertical weight of the stroke for the Arabic version, while the “P” and “U” were used to determine the curved corners and the links between straight and curved strokes.
Since Helvetica is a neutral sans serif, I experimented with Kufi Arabic letterforms. I Sketched different alternatives for the “heh.initial” & “meem.Medial”. The Arabic letters need to be straight and stiff as the Latin capitals but at the same time preserve the curved characteristic of the Arabic script.
I drew four different shapes for the “heh.initial” and five different shapes for the “meem.medial”. For the “heh”, I have drawn the open Kufi initial “heh” and the closed Kufi initial “heh”. As for the “meem”, I drew a “meem” standing on the baseline while the other descends below the baseline as the usual Kufi medial “meem” is drawn. Finally, I experimented between standing upright glyphs and curved glyphs.
FOO Case Study:
FOO is a new Lebanese/International software solutions company. I was asked to create the FOO corporate identity in English and Arabic. Creating an Arabic adaptation logotype for the existing English logotype is not valid in this study case. The creation of both Arabic and English logotypes needed to be done at the same time. The concept of the logotype stamps from the binary 010101 visual and the typing screen cursor that appears in scripting applications. The two OO can also be seen as two 00 and two 11; while the dash after the FOO word represents the typing cursor.
The logotypes have a sturdy strong feel and scientific feel to them. The Latin is based on geometric black type, while the Arabic is based on geometric old black Kufi script.
A print and screen version of the logotypes was created.
Mirna Al Jourdi Case Study:
This project shows the creation of a Latin Logotype from an existing Arabic typeface.
Mirna Al Jourdi is a beauty house centre in downtown. The brief was to link Lebanese ornaments and arabesque with modern visuals. Therefore, an ornamental Kufi Arabic font was chosen for the Arabic writings, as for the Latin logotype, it was produced from the Arabic letters. Arabesque shapes and outlines of relaxing women were used to finalize the identity for the centre.
The development of the Latin Logotype from the Arabic Kufi letters.
The Latin logotype borrows from the kufi typeface the ornamental feel and respects the construction method of the Latin type at the same time.
Arabesque pattern and visuals used with the logotype.
Arabic logotype and type adaptation exercises are always integrated into typography courses.
Bellow are some samples of my students’ work from LAU [Lebanese American University]:
Manal Hamed, LAU Beirut — KENT Arabic.
Lynn Amhaz, LAU Beirut — MINI Arabic.
Mouhamad jesper Ramadan, LAU Beirut — SEGA Arabic
Carine Haidar, LAU Beirut — MONDO Arabic
Rasha Sayegh, LAU Beirut — Vigin Arabic
Lynn Amhaz, LAU Beirut — Swatch Arabic.
Eyad Tohme, LAU Beirut — Facebook Arabic.
Rend Shamma, LAU Beirut —Dunkin Donuts Arabic.
Whenever I am traveling in the Middle East, I always try to capture the Arabic type adaptations in the shopping areas and try to analyze them.
In UAE and KSA, the government have a bilingual policy that requires each international brand to appear in English and Arabic.
Bellow are GOOD samples of Arabic logotype adaptations from KSA and UAE:
Bad Arabic adaptations were given the name of “Frankenstein Arabic” by an Arabic type colleague Nadine Chahine.
Unprofessional Arabic adaptations can be recognized from:
1. Visible cut and past parts from the Latin into the Arabic.
2. Serifs are still present in the Arabic logotype. Arabic Does not have serifs. Arabic is a cursive script. Only the ornamental Kufi have some serif like pen strokes.
3. Disproportional letterforms. No proper typographic guidelines.
4. Pen strokes are broken and not continuous.
5. Some Arabic letters are so deformed that they can be misread.
6. Bad spacing and kerning of glyphs.
Bellow are BAD samples of Arabic logotype adaptations from KSA and UAE: