Testing, Spacing, Kerning and Hinting Arabic Fonts

Vladimir Tamari's picture

There is a wealth of experience and documentation about testing, adjusting the spacing, kerning and hinting of Latin type. Arabic has a radically different sript structure - many letters are connected, dots and marks are significant design elements, and there is a lot more variation in the shapes of glyphs within one font. Software like FontLab are geared to Latin fonts for example there is no way to test Arabic using such rules of thumb as the XOX or HOH strategies. You are invited here to share your experience in dealing with these particular aspects of Arabic fonts, with thanks.

John Hudson's picture

For a typical horizontal Arabic type, I think a similarity of approach between Latin and Arabic can be found in beginning with the spacing of upright letters, i.e. alif and lam. Start with a run of isolated alif glyphs and space them so that the overall colour produced by the rhythmic repetition of black and white is neither too heavy nor too light. In Latin type, one generally starts with letters with strong uprights but also internal white space, such as H and n, but the internal white space of Arabic letters tends to be more variable, so at this initial stage I would work with simple upright forms.

اااااا

Once the isolated alif has been spaced, this gives you a guide for the left side of the final alif and the right side of the isolated and initial lam. The next step is to space the medial and final form of lam and make the connections of the appropriate length, again using the isolated alifs as a visual guide.

اااللل

The right side spacing of the medial and final lam provide a guide for the right side of the final alif. You now have a set of guide glyphs between which you can test the spacing of left-right connecting letters, e.g.

ااالهاااا

As with Latin spacing, the more glyph combinations you space, the more pairs you have against which you can check new combinations or refine previous spacing.

John Hudson's picture

PS. The spacing of a lot of Arabic typefaces is really bad, so trying to find good models can be difficult. We spend a lot of time on spacing (and also kerning of non connecting letters), and I think the Adobe Arabic fonts are worth looking at in this regard.

A major issue re. kerning is interaction between tightly spaced letters and vocalisation marks, which need to be contextually resolved to avoid unwanted collisions. Traditionally, this is done by shifting the marks, rather than by adjusting the spacing of the letters. I think that in a typographical environment, both techniques are valid, and can be used side-by-side and even in combination. However it is done, this is major work and one of the least attractive aspects of the OpenType approach to Arabic.

Vladimir Tamari's picture

Thank you John. This is very helpful. Common and sensible advice for spacing Latin is to try to equalize the spaces within the outlines with those between the letters. In other words the line of text should have an even texture and 'color'. This is not always possible in Arabic- for example a downward-curving ra will always leave a void above it, while a tightly knotted initial heh will always look dark however one spaces it.
هرانت
Of course this effect will vary from font to font, and can be lessened with kerning. But generally-speaking why not simply accept this basic variability in the visual density of a line of Arabic text? Aesthetic and reading comfort considerations aside, this may well prove to be an in-built aid to legibility.

John Hudson's picture

As I wrote, 'the internal white space of Arabic letters tends to be more variable', so you can't use the internal white space as a guide to inter-letter spacing as one can, to a certain extent, with Latin. This is why I start with the simple upright letters, because they enable one to establish a basic rhythm within which the more complex shapes can be optically spaced. In Latin script there are also letters, such as a and s, that can only be spaced by eye within the general rhythm established by other letters; in Arabic, there are simply more such letters.

Vladimir Tamari's picture

>>>’the internal white space of Arabic letters tends to be more variable’>>>

...and even more so between one calligraphic style and another, and their equivelant manifestations in various fonts. For example in riq'a scrip the loops of letters like waw, ain, feh and so on are all closed, and a line of such script (or font) will have a rather spindly thorny appearance. On the other hand more geometrical Arabic fonts with strong uprights and horizontal 'spine' will appear more like a compact frieze pattern. I think this is all fine, and other distinguishing patterns and textures will appear in the scripts and fonts of other languages . That is why I am wary of the recent 'matchmaking' trend where Arabic fonts are forced to lose their character by following the x-height and other features of Latin fonts.

Having said that I feel there must be common guidelines applicable to all fonts in any language- for example a rule of thumb comparing letter width and the space between letter-outlines? The minimum or maximum size of dots and other martks? Human vision is an amazingly sophisticated system, and reading a font is an act of seeing to which the basics of perception must apply whatever is being seen and read.

AzizMostafa's picture

Since All but 2 (Alif+Dal) out of the 17 Arabic sweet dancers are fonty,
then just soft space these 2 unless followed by hard space.

Or just duplicate the 2 making Tight+left-spaced ones
and screw the tight one at a hard (space)!

Vladimir Tamari's picture

Dear Aziz- all I can answer is ...huh? :)

AzizMostafa's picture

Misunderstood? Need Calrification?!
Ok, never use spaces in arabic fonts.
Neither right nor left spaces are necessary.
Happy designing with Flowers

Vladimir Tamari's picture

Thank you Aziz for the flowers and clarification. I will try to dream of the 17 dancing letters tonight (which ones are they?) maybe in the morning everything will become clearer. Many many years ago a friend looked at my ordinary Arabic handwriting in astonishment and said it looked a like dancing script.

Saad Abulhab's picture

Vladimir

In my projects, I divide Arabic letters and glyphs into two groups based on their connectivity: restricted and un-restricted.

Restricted letters can only connect from one side (Alif, Waw, Ra, Dal, ..) or never connect (Hamza). These glyphs need spaces on the left.

Un-Restricted letters can connect from both sides (the rest of the letters). No spaces are need for this group on either side.

I use minimum kerning depending on project and style.

-Saad

Vladimir Tamari's picture

Thanks Saad. I guess by spacing I meant the fine-tuning of these Restricted letter spaces. For example if the alef width is considered as one unit, how many units of space would you give it? What if it were bold- do you make the aleph thicker but keep the space the same, or increase the space proportionally?

John Hudson's picture

Note that when talking about 'spacing' in the context of Arabic, as should be plain from my comment earlier about spacing medial forms between initial lam and final alif, we need to consider both letters with actual space between them, e.g. waw followed by another letter, and also the relationship of connecting letters, i.e. the length of the connecting strokes. In the various classical styles of Arabic writing, these strokes are analysable as part of the fusion, i.e. as part of the letter in its appropriate form in a specific context. The advent of flat 'neo-naskh' and other typographic styles with a horizontal baseline stroke introduces a more Latin-like spacing model, in which the connecting stroke is analysable independently of the letter as a kind of spacing. This is demonstrated in the illustration below, in which we can say that the connecting stroke to the left of the mim is too short, and on the right it may be too long, i.e. that it is spaced too far to the left between the two upright letters. This could be a fault in the mim glyph, in the final alif glyph, in the initial lam, or any combination of the three. [Note that I messed with the spacing to produce this illustration; the actual font is not spaced like this.]

AzizMostafa's picture

Just a minor correction:
"Unless" in my earlier comment shoud be replaced by (if not), so the phrase:
> then just soft space these 2 unless followed by hard space.
should now read:
then just soft space these 2 if not followed by hard space.
Or:
then just soft space these 2 if not hard-spaced.
Apologizing with Flowers

AzizMostafa's picture

> [Note that I messed with the spacing to produce this illustration; the actual font is not spaced like this.]

Well John, the difference between your approach and mine is demonstrated here:
http://typophile.com/node/36706
The tighter, the nicer?!

Vladimir Tamari's picture

As John has demonstrated the the spaces between connected letters is as important as the space between unconnected ones. The figure above (using Segoe UI and some fun with Gimp) can be used to point out various aspects of spacing.

The colored areas are what I have been calling 'word shape' (perhaps another term is used in typography courses?). This shape is defined both by the letter outlines and the spaces between them. Arabic word shapes are irregular as compared to those of Latin, and arguably this helps legibility in Arabic because each word looks different than the other (an advantage erased by 'matchmaking').

Referring to the numbers in the figure I propose to use the term 'space' for 1,2,4,5 defined by the distance between the edge of the letter and the left or right sidebearings. Perhaps 'baseline distance' would be a good term for the distances defined by the length of the baseline in connected letters, such as in 3 (lam and meem). A 'gap' would be the visual space such as 3 or 8 that is defined by the word-shape and it depends on the design of the letters, the baseline distances and spaces involved.

-In this font the spaces 1 , 2 and 7 are all different I wonder if this is intentional?
-The gap 3 will be large even if the baseline distances are tightened to the extreme.
-The space 5 is unavoidable in most Arabic fonts (if kerning is not used) - is that similar to what Aziz was saying about the dal?
-4 and 6 are the only spaces between words here. In the Latin the spaces between the words appear more prominent.
-Final letters like the yeh, seen sad etc. leave a large gap such as 8.

In a good font the careful design of glyphs so that the gaps, spaces and baseline distances all combine to produce a pleasing balance. What would your idea of a 'pleasing balance' be? Examples of 'good' and 'bad' fonts in this respect would be useful for discussion.

AzizMostafa's picture

Hope this better explains my approach.



All the Best with Flowers

Vladimir Tamari's picture

That is beautiful calligraphy. But of course to reproduce this in type one will need either a yet-undesigned font in Tom Milo's Tasmeem or one mighty ligature. Note how the middle gap enhances the design. Aziz you appear to have mastered Arabic font design and the maxim "the tighter the nicer" should be inscribed in golden letters. But just how tight? Examples of tight and loose fonts would be appreciated. With thanks, and flowers of course.

John Hudson's picture

Aziz: Hope this better explains my approach.

That would be my approach too, if I were designing that style of writing.

As I wrote previously: 'The advent of flat ’neo-naskh’ and other typographic styles with a horizontal baseline stroke introduces a more Latin-like spacing model, in which the connecting stroke is analysable independently of the letter as a kind of spacing.'

Spacing is part of a trinity of factors, along with style and size, and isn't something to which I would describe myself as having 'an approach'. The appropriate approach -- or options for possible approaches -- depends on the individual typeface.

AzizMostafa's picture

John, in M$ Word 2003
Type>Format>Font>Character Spacing>Condensed up to
the logarithm of your "Font Size" and see yourself!



Vladimir, How Tight?
Thanks to the round limbs of AAOTF, you can screw further?!

Happy Experimenting with Flowers

Vladimir Tamari's picture

>>>The appropriate approach ... depends on the individual typeface>>>
>>>...see yourself!>>>

True it all depends on the design, and perhaps the only way to space it correctly is to use an intuitive 'see for yourself' approach.

The spacing S of an Arabic script or font whatever its style might be quantified as follows:
S= M/W
where W is the typical width of a vertical letter like the alef, and M is the minimum horizontal distance between outlines in the font. For example in square kufi where the letter-width is exactly equal to the space between letters, S=1. In the texts above the space between alef and initial yeh (or the dot of the zain and the alef, or the dal and the alef) seem to have a typically minimum space between them.

Then, roughly-speaking, S=2 for the comfortably-spaced top line, S=1 for the middle and S=0.3 for the tightly squeezed bottom example. I guess one can also use other measures for example A/W where A is the average space.

AzizMostafa's picture

@ Vladimir, Still talking about spaces?!
O Dotcoms!
O Dotorgs!
O WhoDotelse!
Remove all the spaces in your Arabic Fonts
save the ones to the left of Alif+Dal and their alike
and see how they look.

@ John, for more improvement to AAOTF, contact me to contact you.
All the Best with Flowers

Vladimir Tamari's picture

>>>@ Vladimir, Still talking about spaces?!>>>
Not with those who do not wish to discuss it O Aziz!

Saad Abulhab's picture

Vladimir, We are all interested!

Spaces, spaces, spaces!! We all like to talk spaces until we are "spaced out" !

>>The tighter, the nicer?!

I think the worst disease that have struck good old poor Arabic script was the many "self-appointing" prophets and guardians, complete with commandments and holly sermons! Reformers want to "fix it", calli-typographers want to freeze it in time.

Here is my commandment: the spacier the airier; and here is my second commandment: space it at 16 point, see it at 6 points! -:)

seriously, lets give theses Arabic letters a break. Calligrapher squeezed them, melted them, ligatured them, deprived them personality and independence, made art of them, claimed they were sacred .. This was (and still) fine and may be necessary IN CALLIGRAPHY . Still one thing the founding fathers of calligraphy did not do: they did not etch rules on stones, otherwise we would not have all these revoultionry different styles.

-Saad

AzizMostafa's picture

Self-appointing prophets say:
Make Right + Left + Word Spaces to make the sweet too loose to suck?!
Reformers say:
1. Be rational not emotional.
2. Do not you see that you add up 3 spaces between words?!
So, why not integrate the 3 spaces into a single revolutionary space?!
Flowers to All

Vladimir Tamari's picture

Thanks Saad! Your refreshing reminder that calligraphy and font design are (or should be) open to change, improvement and innovation is welcome. Over the centuries Arabic calligraphy has done very well for itself and the results are the fantastic 'polished' styles of classical calligraphy, with all their in-built rules and traditions. Enter printing, and now the calligraphers feel threatened but the font-designers gradually realize that here was a new opportunity to innovate. Because of technical issues like font metrics, the visibility of displayed and printed words font designers have to explore new issues, for example spacing, and find solutions to them.

By the way the tight spacing Aziz advocates is not a necessarily bad thing. In Chinese and Japanese characters the density of strokes is very high in a given space, but it seems that the eye can read such character-words at one glance. The Arabic equivelant to these characters would be, for example, the basmala ligature. Perhaps with such software as Tom Milo's Tasmeem where such overlapping of glyphs is possible and easy to control, old and new styles of 'tight' Arabic can be displayed.

AzizMostafa's picture

By the way, just have a look at what the Self-appointing prophets have done:
http://www.winsoft.eu/www/eng/products_solutions/WinSoft-Tasmeem-arabics...
Letter Spacing : Too loose.
Kerning: No
Mark Positioning: Not too bad
Ligatures: Up to the AC-practicing eye+hand of the user?!
Correct me if I am wrong.

Evaluation to what I have done is highly appreciated with Flowers
http://typophile.com/node/19348

Vladimir Tamari's picture

Since there are already several typophile threads dealing with Arabic perhaps we should ask Miss Tiffany to kindly have them moved with forwarding to this Special Interest Group.

In the thread referred to by Aziz there is an image MRALLAH1 of his font. I am not an expert of Koranic script, but I liked the elegance and smooth connectivity of the font. In some places it is too tight for example in the word كفار the kaf touches the feh. However in the word كزرع the ra and zain and kasratan fit beautifully within the curves of the ain. In fact the marks everywhere fit very nicely within the outlines. Can you tell us more about this font family - its name, number of ligatures, kerning, hinting and other features. How long did it take you to develop? Congratulations with flowers.

AzizMostafa's picture

Thanks Vladimir, To make the fonty flash one-mega watt smile, I did
I. make more than 1100 ligatures
2. place more than 99 H+V marks for the 1+0 (wide+narrow) parts.
3. write AC-juggling word-macros.
4. screw the tight parts at hard spaces.
Please allow 2-3 weeks for further details + new samples.

Thomas Milo's picture

>By the way, just have a look at what the Self-appointing prophets have done:
>http://www.winsoft.eu/www/eng/products_solutions/WinSoft-Tasmeem-arabics...

Wots a self-appointing prophet? And, why the sneer? Are you against innovation? Or are the French unwelcome in Arabic typography? Wots the point?

>Letter Spacing : Too loose.

This is a parameter, it can be set loose or tight by the user. The designer provides the default

>Kerning: No

This is also a parameter, but there are no kerning pairs, because the font is dynamic.

>Mark Positioning: Not too bad

1. Designer sets defaults, 2. ACE looks for best implementation, 3. user can adjust the position.

>Ligatures: Up to the AC-practicing eye+hand of the user?!

There are no ligatures at all. The font is less than 400 glyphs. What you see are letter block fusions according to naskh script grammar. Wherever this grammar provides more than one solution, the user can choose.

>Correct me if I am wrong."

You were wrong :-)

Tulip bulbs,

Thomas Milo
DecoType
www.decotype.com

AzizMostafa's picture

Happy to see Thomas back among typophiles. Welcome with Flowers:

> Wots a self-appointing prophet?
On July 16, 2007 at 10:01 am, and in reply to my never-answered-to-the point questions, here:
http://29letters.wordpress.com/2007/01/15/arabic-calligraphy-written-by-...
Thomas Milo wrote:
...IT’S SMART FONT TECHNOLOGY ON TOP OF OPEN TYPE IN THE POST SCRIPT FLAVOUR - THE BEST OF ALL WORLDS.

Emphasizing your words "THE BEST OF ALL WORLDS.",
If this is not self-appointing prophecy, what is it?
Owing Saad for his touching words+wording...

> And, why the sneer?
"Sneer of what?" Here is a scientific forum, not anything else?!
Nothing in my heart against you, and you do agree with me that
What a man does is more important than who/what is he/she,
regardless of his/her race, religion and color?!

> Are you against innovation?
Clicking my avatar says it all?!

> Or are the French unwelcome in Arabic typography?
When it comes to typography+Calligraphy, I do acknowledge that the French are among the most fonty...

> Wots the point?
The point is made clear by your comments on the 4-mentioned parameters that are inter-phrased with " the user can choose."

>Letter Spacing : .... it can be set loose or tight by the user..
A gallant failure even if thing goes word by word?!

>Kerning: ... there are no kerning pairs, because the font is dynamic?!
A bit like a man saying to his goldfish: " I do not make love with you, because you are fonty"

>Mark Positioning: ... ACE looks for best implementation, ... user can adjust the position.
If ACE looks for best implementation, then what is the user supposed to adjust?!
One or more mispositioned mark like the zamma here?
http://www.winsoft.eu/products_solutions/WinSoft-Tasmeem-NashkFont.php,
Then what if the letter-spacings is changed or an alternative font is used after the repositioing?!

>Ligatures: ... What you see are letter block fusions according to naskh script grammar. Wherever this grammar provides more than one solution, the user can choose.
Of course not regardless of the 3 more parameters?

Your answer does emphasize that is" Up to the AC-practicing eye+hand of the user?"
Nevertheless you say: " You are wrong."

Then tell me what a fonty user do you target that:
1. must have Arab-eyes, and
2. can change 4 or more correlated/dependent parameters,
that if a change is made to one, then he/she has to adjust back and again the others?!

Pity the hopeless user?! Correct me if I am wrong with Flowers

Thomas Milo's picture

Oh.

Thomas Milo
DecoType
www.decotype.com

Saad Abulhab's picture

Aziz wrote:

Evaluation to what I have done is highly appreciated with Flowers
http://typophile.com/node/19348

Aziz, I am sure any fair person would give you high mark on your font (lets call it wurud - flowers-:) but I have only one problem with it: it is not yet a font that I can buy, and select from the font menu! In other word: I agree with the question put by Vladimir, where is the beef? Tell us more.

As for Tasmeem:

In defense of Milo's fascinating work, he has produced a *working* Arabic engine that can work as a desktop publishing software to print involved texts like historical works, complete with few involved and high end fonts. Tasmeem is not a common commercial application like MS-Word targeting the general audience ... at least not yet. One can agree with some of your points and disagree with others, but you have to keep in mind what Tasmeem is really targeting. Personally, I like to see Open Type flourishing for Arabic. I do not like to think of Decotype format as a replacement for it.

-Saad

Vladimir Tamari's picture

I agree with Saad that there is room for both Tom's Tasmeem and Aziz' Open Type naskh. Once the user has access to both, either can be used according to availability, the level of control needed and platform used. As in Latin fonts there is always room for excellence, and healthy competition can benefit typography as a whole.

As I understand it Aziz has made an incredible labor of love to create a unique font family (Wurud??) TTF (or OT?) with artistry and precision. Let us call it a full-course naskh meal by a master chef. We look forward to the feast.

Tom's Tasmeem work is an incredible labor of love consisting of the scholarly analysis of the roots of what he calls the grammar (the visual language) of Arabic writing systems and naskh in particular. This has been ingeniously implemented by the decotype team in software where such writing can be re-created naturally on the computer. In Tasmeem's naskh the user can control spacing and choose the details of various letters and markings. This flexibility applies to any other font adapted for the system, where it can be fine-tuned according to need or level of design experience. One might say Tom makes available a gleaming futuristic kitchen; and (as soon as any techno-phobia has had a chance to wear off) guides us to effortlessly create a superb meal to taste.

Aziz gives flowers. Tom gives magic tulip bulbs to instantly grow your own.

Thomas Milo's picture

Vladimir,

Thanks for clarifying this is such nice culinary metaphors. I love cooking, you could guess as you caught me the other day baking a loaf of bread and one day I hope to present you my version of felafel!

But after some soul searching, I had to come to the conclusion that I am more of model builder where Arabic is concerned. Models you normally make from fascinating objects like intriguing cars or famous airplanes. Grammars are models of languages - mental exercises driven by fascination and curiosity, attempting structurally to understand and reproduce what can be observed. The object of analysis itself, language, is is taught by examples and learned by imitating. I felt that Arabic script should be approached from the same point of view: not as a capricious art-form irreverently called AC, but as a communication system where senders and receivers over a period of many centuries successfully shared the code. In this approach historical Arabic script is understood as a tool for text manufacture with not so much learnability, but legibility as its primary characteristic.

Azizi Aziz,

Lemme try to clarify what that implies.

Naskh is a historical script style. We made a computer model of it. That's all.

DecoType ACE is technology to make this possible (which incidentally was the proof of concept for OpenType). It is not naskh, but a programming environment we (for I am not doing this alone) developed over the years for projects like a naskh model - the ultimate challenge.

Tasmeem is Adobe In Design with ACE built into it by WinSoft, who, together with DecoType, designed a User Interface around ACE. With ACE, Tasmeem can handle any Arabic script style.

ACE was first conceived as early as 1982-83 to enable the creation of a ruq`a replica. As said, the result was not so much a font, but a computer model of ruq' a. It was licensed by Microsoft around 1993. It was Microsoft who asked us to do a naskh with the same method in 1995. But not after they had first asked us in 1991-92 to provide a realistic naskh solution within their very simple design template - but I suppose that's more a topic for the other thread.

InDesign is a typesetter's tool with enormous precision and many specialized controls - for Latin-based scripts. Some people just want it like that. With Tasmeem, we try to introduce this kind of precision into the field of Arabic script.

Against this background, Tasmeem provides the user with tools to adjust the positioning of points and vowels. And, it provides specialized kerning and tracking controls based on the structure of Arabic - which is I believe the subject of this thread.

Tom's Tasmeem (nice alliteration, but it is really WinSoft's) and Aziz’ Open Type naskh are sooner complementary than mutually exclusive.

Each is in it's own league.

Bulbs,

t

Thomas Milo
DecoType
www.decotype.com

Saad Abulhab's picture

Tom wrote:

>>In this approach historical Arabic script is understood as a tool for text manufacture with not so much learnability, but legibility as its primary characteristic.

The historical calligraphic script was not primarily about Legibility or learnability. It was about speed and harmony. Read what one of the fathers of Caligraphy, Barmaki, said 1000 years ago:

الخط صورة روحها البيان، ويدها السرعة، وقدمها التسوية، وجوارحها معرفة الفصول

Translation: Calligraphy is a living picture, whose soul is representation, hand is speed, foot is harmony, and strength is the knowledge of derived styles.

>>With ACE, Tasmeem can handle any Arabic script style.

My font Mehdi, which uses both Tatweel (kashida) (not today's common dash-like imitation) and Irsaal (final form tatweel) was implemented across 5 fonts with more that 2500 glyphs and plenty of glyph substitutions. In Tasmeem, less than 500 glyphs were needed. Plus, users do not need to keep changing fonts and they have additional power and flexibilty. This was accomplished with a simple template on Fontlab with no letter chopping.

Also, Tasmeem can keep your flowers fresh: Users can not steal fonts since they can not work outside the environment.

-Saad

AzizMostafa's picture

@ Tasmeem is Adobe In Design with ACE built into it by WinSoft, who, together with DecoType, designed a User Interface around ACE. With ACE, Tasmeem can handle any Arabic script style.

... I can understand that some companies lack the expertise in certain fields, so they initially rely on external providers....

Twardoch's comment on 5.Dec.2007 at the end of this topic:
http://typophile.com/node/36706

Vladimir Tamari's picture

>>>The historical calligraphic script was not primarily about Legibility or learnability. It was about speed and harmony.>>>

Saad- surely legibility was an unwritten law? A beautiful harmonious but unreadable style would have been discarded as a script evolved.

>>>ACE was first conceived as early as 1982-83 to enable the creation of a ruq‘a replica>>>

Tom- nice alliteration here too ruq‘a replica! Was there just one stroke-like curve for each glyph (not a complete outline)and the program creates an outline from this curve according to a 'nib' (qalam tip) length and angle? Some reference graphics would be nice to see. Is r-r included in Tasmeem? I guess it is time to start a Tasmeem thread here.

AzizMostafa's picture

> I guess it is time to start a Tasmeem thread here.
Vladimir! Already started?!
http://typophile.com/node/40979

As you asker earlier:
>... we should ask Miss Tiffany to kindly have them moved with forwarding to this Special Interest Group.
Also looking forward to seeing it moved along with all the related topics that appear on my page.
Hope the Miss wont miss this node with my endless Flower greetings to her.

Thomas Milo's picture

>>@ Tasmeem is Adobe In Design with ACE built into it by WinSoft, who, together with
>> DecoType, designed a User Interface around ACE. With ACE, Tasmeem can handle any
>>Arabic script style.

> ... I can understand that some companies lack the expertise in certain fields, so they
> initially rely on external providers....

We do not need to rely on external providers. WinSoft and DecoType have all the expertise in house.

Thomas Milo
DecoType
www.decotype.com

Thomas Milo's picture

> My font Mehdi, which uses both Tatweel (kashida) (not today’s common dash-like
> imitation) and Irsaal (final form tatweel) was implemented across 5 fonts with more
> that 2500 glyphs and plenty of glyph substitutions. In Tasmeem, less than 500 glyphs
> were needed. Plus, users do not need to keep changing fonts and they have additional
> power and flexibilty. This was accomplished with a simple template on Fontlab with no
> letter chopping.

Saad,

It's less. The total glyph complement of Mehdi is now 235 including punctuation and static Arabic characters. The ACE-driven set, that replaces the original 5000 with partial Unicode support is only 161 for full support (excluding Koranic tajweed).

Thomas Milo
DecoType
www.decotype.com

AzizMostafa's picture

> WinSoft and DecoType have all the expertise in house.

Ya! By now, I know you and my Turkish friend:
http://rtsoft.dilafilm.com.tr/
Is there any Arab among you?
Man yacrafu yucallimu man laa yacrafu!
من يعرف يعلم من لا يعرف
c=cayn: appears in all words.
While editing my post, my little daughter has come up to kiss me on my forehead.
So I have to respond to something more important than Type?!
Correcting your vocalization, you have to replace the Fatha of r of yacrafu with Kasra!
Flowers to All the expertise in house

Thomas Milo's picture

> Is there any Arab among you?

Ha. I must have entered the wrong forum. I thought this is about Arabic Type. But now I understand it is about Arab Type - not my type of type. Sorry to have intruded.

BTW, why aren't the Italians more prominent in Roman type discussions :-)

Thomas Milo
DecoType
www.decotype.com

Thomas Milo's picture

Man yacrafu yucallimu man laa yacrafu!
من يعرف يكلم من لا يعرف

c=cayn:

مَنْ یَعْرَفُ یُعَلِّمُ مَنْ لَا یَعْرَفُ

Thomas Milo
DecoType
www.decotype.com

Thomas Milo's picture

Dear Aziz,

You are confusing grammar with script structure are typography.

Anyway, since when can a Dutchman not make a minor error in Arabic, while all foreigners are happily screwing all over English?

Bulbs,

Thomas Milo
DecoType
www.decotype.com

Vladimir Tamari's picture

Thank you Tom for the promise of falafel فلافل ! Aziz a daughter's love is worth the whole world هنيئا لك.

Saad Abulhab's picture

Aziz wrote:

>>Is there any Arab among you?

As a matter of fact I think the managers of Winsoft are Arabs, but this is completely irrelevant since Arabic is an international script, like English. Crucial expertise and contribution of non Arabs is well documented from the days of the first "melting pot" city on earth "Baghdad". Sibowayh?!

>>While editing my post, my little daughter has come up to kiss me on my forehead.
So I have to respond to something more important than Type?!

Why not naming your next font after your little daughter, this way you can instill your love of Arabic type in her instead of dividing it :-)

-Saad

Saad Abulhab's picture

Vladimir wrote:

>>Saad- surely legibility was an unwritten law? A beautiful harmonious but unreadable style would have been discarded as a script evolved.

Only to some degree. Calligraphers were more busy with harmony and visual effect than with readers inability to read the text. They felt free to mold the letters leaving the reader to solve the puzzle. As a matter of fact, complicating the Arabic script for the sake of calligraphy contributed to high illiteracy rates then and is contributing even now.

-Saad

Vladimir Tamari's picture

>>>>Is there any Arab among you?>>
Me. Also Tom's dedication to Arabic has practically made him an Arab.

>>>>Calligraphers were more busy with harmony and visual effect than with readers inability to read the text. They felt free to mold the letters leaving the reader to solve the puzzle. As a matter of fact, complicating the Arabic script for the sake of calligraphy>>>
It is true that under Islam geometrical patterns and scripts were prized as a sophisticated abstract art form. This led to illegible calligraphic styles that were enjoyed as decorative puzzles. At the same time it was a period of intensive scholarship when books on science, philosophy and theology were written by skilled scribes. For those books legibility would have been important. This lead to the highly legible naskh. Later for official Ottoman government documents the highly legible ruq'a was adopted.

AzizMostafa's picture

I feel reminded of a previous discussions about the goods and bads of DecoType/WinSoft’s InDesign plug-in Tasmeem, a layout engine for typesetting Arabic which uses a special font format. Thomas Milo usually presents its capabilities with help of a high-end typeface of a special style. (By the analysis of this style he arrived at the technology, but in the end the technology is suited for any other style too.) To my amusement or regret (depends on my mood) this provoked some critics to blame him for propagating this particular style which they consider outdated — and disregard the layout engine because of the style of the typeface used for presentations! A layout engine of course is “mere” technology and is ignorant of anything like designers’ sentiments.
Same is true for iKern. If you object to a Fell being kerned at all, then I had preferred if there were no “automated” in “applying automated spacing to pre-designed types”. ;-)
_____________________________________ k.l. on 12.Jun.2008 1.48pm
Read more...
http://www.typophile.com/node/46301

behnam's picture

Back to John Hudson suggested space builder pattern, how about some additions?
ددواورارداداالماا
If the left side bearing of all glyphs are set to zero, the right side bearing of alef would define the right side bearing of dal, reh waw and all no right joiner glyphs. And the same amount cut off from left of reh and waw (as a start) and half of that amount added to the right of alef (and its final form).
Just a thought.

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