29LT Azer type family consists of 14 styles, 7 Standard styles, and 7 Slanted styles, covering the following weights: Thin, Extra Light, Light, Regular, Medium, Bold, and Black.
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.
29LT Azer Description:
29LT Azer is drawn with extreme refinement and low pen contrast that conveys a modern and friendly outlook. The typeface combines simple lines with careful detailing to create a serious yet approachable mood. Azer is amicable and serious without being conformist. The typeface combines charm, simplicity and consideration. The light weights of the type family are easy to read in long blocks of copy, while the heavy weights imply strength and seriousness which makes them suitable for display-text such as titles and slogans. The slanted styles give the type family an added typographic voice for highlight or emphasis.
The standard styles retain a balance between calligraphic angular cuts and unadorned construction. The contrast in the letters was complemented with strong cuts and edges to give the font a crispy robust attitude. Letterforms were given innovative letter structures inspired by calligraphic makeup but drawn in a contemporary approach. The Arabic ligatures are intended to enhance the script’s ‘friendliness’, and friendly is after all, what Azer means in Arabic.
The slanted styles are redrawn based on fast hand-gestures and not merely slanted from the standard fonts. The stems are slanted while the counters are round and smooth. In the Arabic character set, the terminals are curvy with open-ended bowls and smooth baseline links. They are a set of free-spirited styles that can accompany the standard set for a change of text tone, or may stand alone as a casual copy text or delightful display text. The slanted styles in the Latin script are the cursive set of fonts that is known as “true-italics” which are based on a stylized form of quick calligraphic handwriting. The name “slanted” was adopted instead of “italic” for the inclined styles because in Arabic typography and calligraphy the term, italic, does not exist.
A number of elements bring the Arabic and Latin scripts together; the overall design approach, open counters, proportions, weight, contrast, terminals and finials, as well as a diamond-shaped diacritic dot. Both scripts were created in synergy and were inspired from each other simultaneously. The Naskh calligraphic style of the Arabic 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. Azer Latin was drawn with conic shaped stems, inspired by the Arabic Alef glyph. The two scripts are like twins, with different attitudes.
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. 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.
29LT Azer Story:
In 2008, Azer was designed part of a branding project Pascal Zoghbi and Wael Morcos 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.
The design was resumed in preparation for the launch of the 29LT type foundry in 2012. As the Arabic design was taking shape, Swiss Typefaces, 29LT design partners, designed a sans serif Latin companion inspired by the Arabic letters structures.
The design progressed over a two-year period during which the three of them collaborated to bring the fonts to completion. Azer was one of the typefaces published as part of the official launch of the 29LT type foundry in August 2012. Back then it only existed in 5 standard styles; Thin, Light, Regular, Bold and Black.
In 2017, 5 years after the first release of 29LT Azer typeface, 29LT took on the challenge of growing the type family from 5 to 7 weights and to expand it into two design categories, standard and slanted, extending the family from 5 to 14 fonts. The development of technology with the additional support of the Arabic script in the past 5 years required a complete transformation of the old font files into newly developed ones using the latest type design software. The main character set was revised and updated to cover more languages, and a set of ligatures and stylistic sets were added to the original set.
After the creation of the 7 new weights, the time came to think about what would be the best way to approach the “italic” version of the typeface. New design decisions were needed and a calligraphic and typographic research was undertaken. Type designer Jan Fromm from Berlin was approached to create the italic version of the Latin, while Pascal Zoghbi tackled the solution for the Arabic counterpart.
In addition to the expansion of the weights and introduction of the slanted styles to the type family, the new fonts include advanced typographical support with features such as ligatures, alternates and stylistics sets inspired from calligraphy to improve the legibility of the fonts. Consequently, the range of western languages support grew to cover all Western, Central and Eastern European languages besides all American and African languages using the Latin script. Hence, the number of glyphs per font grew from 725+ in 2012 to 1625+ in 2015.