Arabic Type Anatomy & Typographic Terms

Since most documentation and references about the Arabic script stem from the calligraphic methodology, this article will tackle the problem of allocating typographic terms to Arabic type and typography.

بينما نجد معظم الوثائق والمراجع التي تتناول جذور الخط الطباعي العربي من ناحية المنهجية الطباعية، تعالج هذه المقالة مشاكل تحديد صفات الحرف والخط الطباعي العربي.

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29LT Zeyn : A Graceful Multilingual Typeface


29LT Zeyn is an elegant, contemporary Arabic and Latin typeface. Each weight contains 900-plus glyphs covering the Arabic, Persian, Urdu, and Western European languages. The Arabic set contains an extensive set of ligatures in addition to short and long stylistic sets to give the font an added elegant appeal and feel.

Zeyn «زين» is an Arabic word meaning beautiful, graceful, and elegant.

Arabic character set designed by Pascal Zoghbi from 29LT. Latin Character set designer by Ian Party from SwissTypefaces.

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Experimental Arabic/Latin Type Workshop

Arabic Letter “Yeh” of Seria Arabic type drawn with coffee, ink and dantelle pattern.

Students in the Advanced Typography course at the Lebanese American University [LAU] were asked to experiment with textures/patterns and try to apply them on existing bi-script Arabic/Latin fonts in-order to create their own experimental fonts. The students were handed the outlines of Seria Arabic and Fedra Arabic.

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Khatt Fonts Event (Art Lounge) & 29letters Lecture (AUB)

Through out November and December in Beirut, I had giving : 1. a lecture entitled “29letters” about my Arabic type project and type design process at AUB, 2. a presentation about EL HEMA project alongside the Arabic team (Wael, Kj, Maria & Raya) at NDU Zouk and NDU North, and 3. took part of the event, lecture and exhibition of the “Khatt Fonts: Matchmaking Amsterdam – Beirut” with Huda Abifares and the Arabic team.


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Imarat Headlines Arabic Type

Imarat is an Arabic newspaper type family consisting of “Imarat Headlines” & “Imarat Text”. “Imarat Headlines” is a display type for use in the headlines and titling of a newspaper, while “Imarat Text” is for the copy text of the newspaper. “Imarat Headlines” will be exclusive for 3 years for “Emarat Al Youm” newspaper in Dubai starting from 2008. The newspaper needed a new, young and crispy headlines type that will appeal to their young readers. You can see the font in use on the online e-paper version of “Emarat Al Youm” newspaper.


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EL HEMA at Mediamatic, Amsterdam.

August was a great experience for five young Arabic graphic designers (fresh graduates) from the Arab world and I. The 24th of August was the “Khatt Kufi Kaffiya” symposium on Arabic Visual Culture, the official launching of the Khatt Foundation website and the launching and book signing of the Typographic Matchmaking book. Alongside these events, Mediamatic initiated an exhibition to team up Arabic typographers with Dutch design and culture. The exhibition was to create an Arabic version of the famous HEMA Dutch stores.

Design of the White Scarf by Kj using Sada Bold. The text on it is the lyrics or the song “YA Maré’ 3al Taya7een” for Fairuz.

Wael, Kj, Maria, Ray, Abi (the 5 young Arabic graphic designers) and I were invited by Mediamatic to come to Amsterdam for 6 weeks before the opening of the EL HEMA exhibition to work on the making of this exhibition. Continue reading “EL HEMA at Mediamatic, Amsterdam.”

History of Arabic Type Evolution from the 1930’s till present.


1.1 The origin of the Arabic script goes back to the first alphabet created by the Phoenicians. The Phoenicians were living on the coastal areas of Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria. Since the Phoenicians were traders sailing throughout the Mediterranean, their alphabet influenced all Mediterranean cultures and nations. The fact that the Middle East was located at the center of the Ancient World, between East and West, also had played an essential role in the spread of the Phoenicians’ alphabet. That is why the Phoenician alphabet is the mother of both Latin and Arabic scripts.


Continue reading “History of Arabic Type Evolution from the 1930’s till present.”

Typographic Matchmaking: Arabic type with a Dutch flavor.

The long awaited ‘Typographic Matchmaking’ Book will be launched at a symposium and exhibition at Mediamatic in Amsterdam on the 24th of August 2007.


The following text is written by Huda Smitshuijzen AbiFarès:

The project began with the idea of creating Arabic type with a Dutch flavor in order to bring the high quality of Dutch type design to the rather underdeveloped Arabic design tradition. Continue reading “Typographic Matchmaking: Arabic type with a Dutch flavor.”

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