Publishers on design and visual culture of the Middle East and North Africa

Interviews with the creators of Arabic Type

Typing has replaced handwriting for most forms of written communication. Our written messages carry no longer the personal ink trace of our handwriting. A type designer is now responsible for the visual form of our words. Yet, our signature must be handwritten and our hands remain the indispensable research tools for creating typefaces professionally. The Western world has never seen so many different styles and so much high quality type. The users and creators of typefaces for the Latin script live in a world of plenty. There is a font available to fit any imaginable taste. Nevertheless, new typefaces are launched as if it was popcorn.

The situation for the Arabic script is quite different. There is an immensely rich calligraphic tradition. The handwritten world of the Arabic script is one of abundant and often dreamy splendor. For the development of high quality fonts at last springtime has arrived after a long and cold winter. Enough well educated professionals are now involved in the creation of type for the Arabic script. An important momentum is reached. Many designers, also from the West, are eager to create new fonts inspired by the treasure trove of Arabic calligraphy. Today’s font technology makes it possible to pursue all the curves of even the most complex Arabesques. The future of type design for the Arabic script has never been brighter.

This book is a collection of a series of interviews with people and designers who play a role in the development of technology and design for the Arabic script. The interviews were conducted over a period of two years and previously published online on the Khatt Foundation website. They are further edited and illustrated for this publication, and covering themes ranging from technological developments to aesthetic trends in Arabic type design and typography.