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Bahman Eslami

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Bahman Eslami
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  • Re: Help a researcher out: some questions related to Arabic typography

    @Jasper de Waard
    Firstly, what do you think of Noto?
    I think Noto Naskh is not a bad typeface, but it's not my cup of tea.
    why there is a Noto Kufi Arabic?

    There is a demand for geometric Arabic typefaces. Latin structure is more geometric and symmetrical; western world seems more progressed so Arab world assumes what western world has done ought to be right, so maybe they should copy what the west does. I actually heard in a talk in Iran "Latin typefaces become more geometric to become more legible!". So people are trying to justify this with their own fantasy. This is not only in the script, it's happening in many aspects of Arab culture. If you take a look at Arabic script before 20th century you see how this adaptation of script has creeped into the writing system. The script used to be completely different. The way to justify Geometric Latinized Arabic is to find a similar example in Arabic script, even though Kufic is the earliest form of writing and has become obsolete for writing for centuries and is being used only for decoration. But Arabs want to look modern, so calling these typefaces Kufic is sugar coating a Latinized design. So I say Noto Kufi Arabic is not Kufic at all, It's Latinized. General Arab user doesn't see this. It looks cool to them, because it looks more like Latin. I guess now you can guess why there is not much Arabized typefaces out there?

    why there is a Noto Sans Arabic Arabic?

    Noto Sans existed before the Arabic part, so Arabic is an extension to "Noto Sans", ergo this "Noto Sans"+"Arabic" naming. 

    How should the latter be classified?

    I can't tell! Because it looks Latinized to me and not Kufic at all. Maybe Monolinear is more moderate?

  • Re: Help a researcher out: some questions related to Arabic typography

    @Jasper de Waard No need for apologies, I'm also not aware of reading habits for the rest of world. But I think low contrast Kufic style has become popular in Arab world (not Persia) despite its suspicious origins, so the readers of Morocco or Syria won't have trouble reading them. My problem is mostly with the aesthetics of the style that makes me cringe. I can't say a typical Turkish reader would be able to read Arabic script since their official alphabet has become Latin since 1928.
  • Re: Help a researcher out: some questions related to Arabic typography

    As a native to Arabic script I think:

    1. Monolinear designs don't have similar function in Arabic. I don't see Monolinear typefaces used in print for Persian readers as much as it happens in Latin. I see them more on screen but sometimes I think it's because operating system default fonts forced the readers to read more low contrast typefaces on screen especially on web. Although they're becoming more accepted in recent years. The trick was to let go of following the Latin shapes and Latinziation and design just authentic low contrast typefaces. I'm talking about Iran, can't talk about rest of the Arabic script readers.

    2. If you're strict when it comes to shapes, finding a good example out there is hard and I prefer not to mention my own work. I remember "Lalezar" typeface designed by Borna Izadpanah on google fonts is popular and is open source.

    3. I think most of the typefaces which are called Kufic are Latinized and not actually based on Kufic style. One good example is AwanZaman in my opinion. For Arabized I don't remember an example. Just curious how this information would help?

  • Re: Where is Arabic Italic originating from?

    Personally I'm not fan of only slanted italics. Bringing idea of italic in Arabic is forced by softwares and is not serving a function in Arabic. A person did a research on how you could emphasize words or have same effect of italic on Persian readers. The video is here (sorry there is no english subtitles). He's saying slanting in either directions does not have emphasizing effect. Using keshide is a better option. But there are many manuscripts showing usage of different calligraphy styles in one text column. Unfortunately I can't find examples at the moment. My point is construction of Naskh, Thuluth, Ruqah, Nastaliq, ... are different. You can use this as a starting point. It's not easy to come up with one unified family containing some of these styles. But I can't buy into the idea of slanting Arabic and also naming it italic or iranic or whatever. It's fundamentally wrong.

    Edit:
    .The video contains slides with english text. It could help non-natives to get some of the points he's trying to make.
    .The link to the researcher's website if you want to ask more information on his research. He can speak english btw. 
  • Re: Questions about Arabic Type

     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.