Our newest font family: Mashq

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Saad D Abulhab's picture
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Joined: 27 Jul 2005 - 2:27pm
Our newest font family: Mashq
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Our new Mashq font family, possibly the first typeface implementation ever of the early Quranic scripts of the Early Mashq, Mashq Kufi, and Mashq Ma'il, is now available. The font family design is primarily based on the scripts of the Quran manuscripts of the Topkapi Museum, the Bergstraesser Archive, and other scattered samples. Early vocalization (harakat) and Tashkeel (niqat) are fully implemented. The variant shapes of the letter families of Yaa', Haa', and their ligatures are also implemented, but their baseline shifts are only implemented for initial and final positions in the early Mashq.

Browse images and try the font at: http://bit.ly/2icThU9 (you will need Java enabled and arabetics.com added to trusted sites in Java)

Vladimir Tamari's picture
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Joined: 4 Nov 2007 - 11:15pm
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Just beautiful. In my days as an art student in London around 1963 I became fascinated with this script
I was allowed to study closely a 7th. c. Koran in this script (see attached photo)and had enlargements of the waw و ordered, but to this day I wonder how the calligraphers created that tiny counter for this and other letters- it was written with multiple passes of the pen, but how?
Anyway seeing Saad's fonts reminds me so much of the beauty of the original script. He caught its noble spirit, neatness, and economy of form. Inevitably however the mechanical reproduction makes the page look too
slick when compared to the slight variations between letters in the handwritten originals, but that cannot be helped! Congratulations!

Vladimir Tamari's picture
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Joined: 4 Nov 2007 - 11:15pm
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I was having trouble uploading the photo mentioned in my comment above. I got an error message and will try again:

Saad D Abulhab's picture
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Joined: 27 Jul 2005 - 2:27pm
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Dear Vladimir, Thanks. Your photo is showing fine.
The beautiful sample you posted is Mashq in its later mature stages, borrowing from its Kufi style. A wonderful Iranian Calligrapher, Seyed Vahid Mousavi Jazayeri, worked very hard in the past two decades to revive this calligraphy, giving many workshops and producing master pieces. He discovered the exact Qalam angle cut used. You can see his work on the kuficpedia.org site. You should join our group!

In my font I was more concerned with the various Mashq scripts. Both the the original Mashq and its Kufi version were unstable for a while, it seems. Original Mashq had three baseline levels triggered by the Haa' group, and one shape for Yaa' (see sample1). Kufi eliminated that, eventually, and introduced three styles of Yaa' but maintained one baseline level for most. Mashq lived for a while side by side Kufi, borrowing from it, as it is seen from the "battah" Yaa' shape in the sample you uploaded. In Sample 2 and 3 (early Kufi) the Haa' ligatures are mainly in initial positions to maintain one baseline. Notice medial Haa'. This is the style I adopted in my Mashq Kufi font.

Claudio Piccinini's picture
Joined: 11 Jan 2003 - 9:32am
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Saad,
I always love your work and its inspiration, its going to historical roots and/or experimenting.
I never used the Sabine Irsal and Mutamathil Taqlidi weights I licensed in 2008 because I never had the occasion to have a text typeset in Arabic (and I stopped upgrading to InDesign ME too, for the same reason).
So happy to meet you once again! (Vladimir just told me the Typophile forums were back online).

Not having enough familiarity with the forms, may I ask: there are some letters whose curves do not look much armonized: did you strive to keep as close to the manuscript forms, instead of "redesigning" the letters in a more structured way? Anyway, I appreciate a lot your approach, and most of your typefaces. All the best!

Saad D Abulhab's picture
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Joined: 27 Jul 2005 - 2:27pm
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Dear Claudio,
I am glad our group is back. Happy to meet you again, and thank you for your encouraging words. My main goal in designing this family was to make it easy for many to learn reading the Early Mashq/Kufic scripts. Despite the extreme importance of these scripts, since they were the first Arabic calligraphic styles introduced, I could not find fonts available for them. It should be noted, most Arabic readers are unable to read these scripts. In fact, I have seen works by some calligraphy experts mixing up Early Mashq with the derived Early Kufic! In this project, I concentrated more on the script rules and early vocalization (Tanqits) than on the beautiful calligraphic quality of these styles, which could only be seen much later after the two styles matured. Yes, I wanted the font to look and behave as much as possible like the very early scripts seen in the Quran manuscripts displayed in the Museums. Since this was a ground-breaking font design project, I had to revisit some of the common logic employed today in producing Arabic OTF fonts, to make sure the font would be compatible with current Arabic keyboard and the Unicode Arabic alphabet.
-Saad