Questions about Arabic Type

Nathan ZimetNathan Zimet Posts: 38
edited May 3 in Technique and Theory
Hello! I have a few questions about arabic type and typography.

First, what is your opinion on the type used in this publication: https://www.wdl.org/en/item/16948/
Is it eurabic or true arabic? Is it any good? What latin typeface would pair with this? Does it suit its use?

Second, what arabic typefaces (or calligraphy) are associated with fashion, magazine covers, and expensive things?

Thirdly, what arabic typefaces are used most commonly for scientific/scholarly publications?

I apologize in advance if this should have gone under History of Typography  :# but I want to use this thread for more type design related questions in the future

Comments

  • Bahman EslamiBahman Eslami Posts: 47
    edited May 3
    What I see in the picture doesn't seem like a typeface, it's most certainly handwritten calligraphy and Eurabic term doesn't apply here. I would say the writing is in Naskh style with a hint of Nastaliq flavor which is more prevalent in Afghanestan.

    I can't directly answer your other questions because they are subjective choices. But I would go for a Naskh typeface for scientific/scholarly publications and Nastaliq for fashion, magazine covers. "Nimany" has demonstrated graceful examples of usage of Nastaliq in fashion design. The choice of typeface is yours to find out!
  • Nathan ZimetNathan Zimet Posts: 38
    for https://www.wdl.org/en/item/16948/ :
    I should have put this in OP, but for the link to wdl.org, mouse over the image and click read online, where you can view all the pages. In the bottom right hand corner is a zoom button, click and drag to move the page and scroll to zoom in and out.
    Thank you so much Bahman :) But I am wondering are there any specific details in the letters that give it the hint of Nastaliq? And would you say the calligraphy is beautiful and/or legible?

    When you say you would go for a Naskh typeface for scientific/scholarly use, do you mean simplified arabic (like a lot of system fonts) or a naskh with traditional forms? 
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 1,237
    This is very interesting. Zooming in on the text pages of the book, it does indeed appear to be reproduced from a handwritten text, not type, but the spacing of the words is unusually wide for naskh manuscript, and seems to be modelled on the kind of spacing one sees in typographic texts.
  • Bahman EslamiBahman Eslami Posts: 47
    edited May 4
     I am wondering are there any specific details in the letters that give it the hint of Nastaliq? And would you say the calligraphy is beautiful and/or legible?

    They are stylistic features and I can't say if it affects legibility or not. The features of Naslatliq that I see are:
    1. Placing the dot of the «ن» inside the bowl.
    2. The teeth of «س» doesn't have a thick stroke in the beginning.
    3. The letter «ک» is attached to the «ل» when it comes before it and the construction of «ک» has become more rounded.

    All these features suggest that the calligrapher was familiar with Nastaliq. Generally Nastaliq was dominant writing style in Iran and Afghanistan before the arrival of moving type and is still used more in the titles to signify authority or grace.
    When you say you would go for a Naskh typeface for scientific/scholarly use, do you mean simplified arabic (like a lot of system fonts) or a naskh with traditional forms? 
    This is also a personal choice. In Iran readers are more used to typefaces which are now called allegedly Eurabic or Neo-Naskh or Simplified Arabic which utilize the four paradigm shapes per letter. This is also without having the ligatures in text and is only a custom and what people are used to in daily life while reading text. In Arab world it seems that readers are more used to see ligatures in text. If you take a look at newspapers of Arab and Persian world, you will pick up these features in the texts. I would go for a typeface that is well designed regardless of how it utilizes the script in conventional type systems. The curves and how letters connect to neighbors is very important. I would also prefer not very high and low horizontal (asc/des) metrics only because it doesn't appeal visually to me.
  • Khaled HosnyKhaled Hosny Posts: 194
    Eurabic? Is that even a word?
  • Nathan ZimetNathan Zimet Posts: 38
    edited May 4
    I heard it somewhere  :# it's for stuff like this https://www.wdl.org/en/item/17783/view/1/452/#q=arabic dictionary
    arabic made by europeans.

    Edit: Found where i saw the word (at about 3:30 in the video):
     
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 1,237
    Yes, as far as I know, Tom coined the term Eurabic to describe distinctive characteristics of historic European types for the Arabic script, which do not reflect the script as written by Arabs, Persians, etc..

    I find the most interesting part of Tom's thesis that some of these characteristics were carried over into European Arabic types from Syriac script, which was more familiar to European scholars because of its importance to Biblical and liturgical studies.
  • Nathan ZimetNathan Zimet Posts: 38
    Hi everyone
    I've found another publication on wdl.org i have some questions about:

    https://www.wdl.org/en/item/18126/view/1/3/

    about the titling. What style of writing are these letters? What does the use of this type say about the publication/publishers?
  • Bahman EslamiBahman Eslami Posts: 47
    This is a metal type that was also used for a long time in Iran and is most likely based on Thuluth. But it looks different as a typeface because letter combinations has been reduced dramatically to make it easier to typeset. I would suggest if you want to dig deeper into this you have to learn how to read Arabic script. There are also some resources out there also in english showing major known calligraphy styles of Arabic script.
  • Nathan ZimetNathan Zimet Posts: 38
    edited May 7
    I knew it was thuluth influenced at least but I am trying to ask as generalized questions. I have read as much as I could find before I created this thread. I admit I did not ask a good question in my previous post.
    If I want to learn to read the Arabic script do you suggest I learn a specific language or just learn as much as i can find?
  • Khaled HosnyKhaled Hosny Posts: 194
    I find the most interesting part of Tom's thesis that some of these characteristics were carried over into European Arabic types from Syriac script, which was more familiar to European scholars because of its importance to Biblical and liturgical studies.

    Which is supported with very little to no evidence as many of his “interesting” theories. Like in this video where he claims that certain things do not exist in Arabic so it must be a European contraption, but the only evidence he shows is the same words written in one of his Naskh fonts, as if Naskh (or Ottoman calligraphy in general) is the only style of Arabic that ever existed. In fact these ligatures and similar other constructs are very common in African styles of Arabic calligraphy, which are probably the main source of European Arabic type. Here is random one from web search for African Arabic manuscripts:

    httpbritishlibrarytypepadcouka6a00d8341c464853ef0192ac163f01970d-pi
  • People from a dominant culture who adopt a foreign one often become holier than the Pope about it.
Sign In or Register to comment.