Expressive Arabic Typography

Arabic typography is growing and evolving in new and wonderful ways. Modern, traditional, cultural, and contemporary – there is much to explore in this exciting field of design.

“Young designers in the MENA region have started to modernize classical calligraphy by using their cultural background as a basis for modern, contemporary compositions – creating cutting-edge typography and artwork. Using highly complex and decorative design elements (in image making and typography) that is directly inspired by both the distant Eastern and Western visual heritage.”

~ Arabesque: Graphic Design from the Arab World and Persia

Below you will find just a few of the many talented designers working with Arabic and Persian typography who continue to set a new standard for visual culture in the Region.

Pascal Zoghbi

Hamza Abdelal

Rasool Kamali

Sam Moshaver

Shahrzad Changalvaee

Aly Bchennaty

Hatem Arafa

Zeynab Izadyar

Ayad Alkadhi

Samira Khoshnood

Mohammad Jamshidi

Reza Abedini

Mohammad Ardalani

Mehdi Saeedi (who visited VCUQ this February)

Tarek Atrissi

Lara Assouad Khoury

“Without sounding too righteous, I think if there is one single quality that type designers and designers in general should have a lot of, it would be integrity. The Arabic type design field is so open at the moment to all possibilities, there are no rules yet, at least not formulated in books and design programs. Which is why I feel it is important that we stay true to our concepts. Learn from the west but have enough integrity to create something that emanates from our own culture and language with all its beauty, richness and contradictions. Because then even if we get criticized for our design choices, if the principle is sound, we would still be making a worthy contribution to the ongoing debate and maybe eventually to the development of Arabic type design as a movement rich with different schools of thought.”

Interviewed by Huda Smitshuijzen AbiFares, read Lara’s entire article at khtt.net.

Huda Smitshuijzen AbiFarès

Huda is the founder of the Khatt Foundation Center for Arabic Typography, which is dedicated to advancing design research in the Middle East, North Africa, and their diaspora. A great example of the kind of projects she initiates is Typographic Matchmaking in the City. The series of films make visible not only the design process, the struggles and challenges of the designers involved in the project, but also addresses the larger topics of bringing two cultures into a dialogue through design.

PART 1

 

PART 2

 

PART 3

A few additional examples of beautiful and modern examples of Arabic typography brought to you by The Inspiration Blog.

For more visual inspiration, check out the book ‘Arabesque: Graphic Design from the Arab World and Persia‘ (currently in its second edition).

“In the Orient, Arabic script remains the ultimate embodiment of the Arab/Islamic cultural identity. Therefore, Arabic typography can play a crucial role in promoting a contemporary Arab image. A new generation of designers in the Middle East are striving to shape the visual culture in a way that best represent this modern identity. This approach has gained recognition throughout the whole world, inspiring artists in all kinds of creative fields, from fine arts and design to street art and graffiti.”