khalid's blog

I came up with a new concoction which is a cross between Arabic Letterism and Generative Art.

Arabic Letterism has been around in the Arab countries for more than three decades now. The works of one its most notable artist, Nja Mahdaoui, have inspired me very much when I saw them, and one of my first abstract art works in 1984 was a Letterism piece in which I tried to copy Mahdaoui's style.

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Three is a Crowd

Last week I had a good apatite for writing and I added three entries to my blog ArabicType.

One was about Arabic support on the Samsung Galaxy Tab v10.1. The machine had a beautiful Arabic font which it beautifully rendered on its screen. It really assured me that there are huge possibilities in designing Arabic fonts that would render on screens much better than what Windows already provides.

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Successful Arabic Fonts: Muna

The Muna typestyle is everywhere in the Arab countries. It is not difficult to find an example of its usage anywhere you happen to be in these countries. Ranging from its usage on huge commercial advertisements, Arab Spring protest banners, shop signs, to small tickets, the Muna font is usually the designer's or typesetter's preference.

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Not All that Shines is Gold

Classifciation of Arabic script styles is not quite consistent. In my latest blog article on I try to discuss a new approach to Arabic script style classification.

Based on the six script style elements suggested in an earlier article, I suggest a method to quantify the visual aspects of the style. These elements could be then processed in a number of ways. When cobined with XML coding, it might be possible to classify Arabic script. The suggested classification and quantification could find use in applications such as font substitution in portable documents, e.g. HTML, PDF, etc.

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Characteristics of Arabic Type: Part III

The first draft of this post for my blog was completed in April. However, the graphics needed for the post, among other issues stood in the way of publishing it.

In this article I try to explain to the young Arabic font designer three areas that require attention in font design:

  1. Readability
  2. Aesthetic principles
  3. Style

I analysed the elements of Arabic type style and identified the following factors:

  1. Overall form
  2. Contrast
  3. Treatment of outline and ends
  4. Weight
  5. Oblique
  6. Width (condensed/extended)
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One of my dream projects is to design the Mushaf (the Quran in print). In searching for a digital version of the Quran over the internet, I came across Abdul Samee' Rajab Salem,who calls himslef Abdo, and is an Egyptian typographer. Abdo has devised a prorpriety font to render the text of the Quran, which he named "Mushaf Misr" or the Mushaf of Egypt.

What caught my attention is the high resemblence of the font he devised to that of Mushaf Al Madina, which is rendered using calligraphy. The letter forms are very balanced and elegant, and capture much of the beauty of the calligraphic version.

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The Tugra is a fantastic calligraphic device. It was invented by Uthmani calligraphers to represent the seal of the Uthmani Sultan. However, it is now used for various sorts of calligraphic representations such as Quranic script, signatures, and logos.

In an article on the Tugra, I demonstrate how non-Arabs have contributed to the Arabic script, particularly in the refinement of the Thuluth calligraphic style and the invention of the Tugra by the Uthmani Turks. I also try to show the origins of the shape of the Turga and analyze its visual characteristics. Finally, I show the impact of the Tugra on the design of modern logos such as that used by Al-Jazerra and by Bahrain TV.

have posted two articles on my blog about the characteristics of Arabic type. I have grouped the characteristics in four categories:

1. General characteristics: that relate to the representation of the Arabic alphabet and number of glyphs needed in the font files.

2. Inherited characteristics: what Arabic type has taken from the calligraphic representation of Arabic text.

3. Acquired characteristics: how print and digital technologies have affected the shape of Arabic characters. Special focus was made on the introduction of the Linotype hot metal system and the resultant Simplified Arabic style.

Hi there Typophiles,

It has been a little more than a year now since I started a blog on Arabic Typography in Arabic. Ever since, I have been trying to find ways to make the blog accessible to non-Arabic readers. While my main objective is to increase awareness and build capacities in the area of Arabic Typography among the interested Arab youth, I still think it is important to make the content of the blog available for a wider extra-Arab readership.

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