Arabic font: Is this Qalmi?

saadat's picture

Hello Typophiles,

I am a frequent reader of the Typophile forums, but this is my first post.

I have an Urdu book, the back cover of which has some lines of text set in a peculiar nastaleeq font (see the image below). I remember when I was a kid (early 90's), I used to read a children's magazine that also utilized this font for typesetting its stories. Reading around the Web (and the Typophile forums), I have come to believe that this font may be Linotype Qalmi, the font designed by Tim Holloway.

Can any of you confirm if my guess is correct? If not, can anyone identify which font this really is?

John Hudson's picture

I think it might be Qalmi. I'll bring this to the attention of Fiona Ross, who worked with Tim on the design. She should be able to confirm whether this is Qalmi or something else.

saadat's picture

Thank you, John. I shall eagerly wait for Fiona Ross's input on this.

John Hudson's picture

My apologies for the delayed follow-up on this question. I saw Fiona in the UK recently, and she gave me specimens of two closely related Linotype nastaliq designs, Sheeraz and Qalmi, both designed by Tim Holloway. Having compared these specimens to the image you posted, I am able to determine that the type on the back cover of your book is Linotype Sheeraz. Linotype Qalmi, which was released a few years later, was created in response to feedback on Sheeraz provided by Urdu newspaper publishers. Qalmi has a slightly less steep lettergroup angle, and stronger hairlines with less overall stroke contrast.

saadat's picture

Thanks again, John. I had completely ignored Sheeraz while taking my guess.

By the way, if it's not too much trouble, could you post the specimens that Fiona Ross gave you? After years of seeing Noori Nastaleeq virtually everywhere (at least here in Pakistan), I find Tim Holloway's designs very refreshing. (Even the book that sports Sheeraz on its back cover is otherwise set in Noori.) For me personally, it would be very interesting to compare Noori with Qalmi and Sheeraz, and learn about the intricacies of overall nastaliq type design.

John Hudson's picture

Here is a comparison of the two Linotype nastaliq types.

saadat's picture

Wonderful!

Thanks, John, once again.

Bahman Eslami's picture

@john
Sorry this might sound awkward, but are you sure these are designs of Tim Holloway? what date they are completed? it seems they are very different work from what I've seen from him.

John Hudson's picture

Yes, these are definitely by Tim Holloway, working closely with Fiona Ross, then at Linotype-Paul in the UK. Sheeraz was published in 1987 and Qalmi in 1994. I also have a copy of the patent documentation for Linotype's nastaliq layout mechanism, the originals of which are now in the non-Latin archive at the University of Reading, along with Tim's original drawings.

Bahman Eslami's picture

thank you john for clarification :).

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