Ten Commandments of Arabic Fonts

AzizMostafa's picture

Dear Typophiles,
Out of Adobe Arabic OTF , I have made 2 complementary TTfonts with:

1. Longer Fatha on wide letters.
2. Longer Madda on Alif after wide letters.
3. Higher Madda on Alif after tall letters.
4. Longer + higher Madda on Alif after Wide+Tall letters.
5. Open loop sukun in place of the closed loop.
6. 69 Tansween instead of z9.
7. Standing Kasra similar to the Standing Fatha.
8. Isolated Kasra + (Tanween Kasr) from Shadda.
9. Closer Kasra + (Tanween Kasr) envelopable by final letters.
T. Marks on Ta positioned slightly above where the dot of its sister Za appears.

Like my uncompromisng Arabic font, Adobe Arabic has been re-made:
1. to work on both Windows 3.11 and Xp.
2. with no Quarrelsome mark like the fatha in طَآئر+|ترَك
A Sample will be sent shortly when the renovation to my house is over.
Greetings from a hotel room with Flowers

AzizMostafa's picture

Sorry to keep friends waiting for so long.
House Renovation took 2 months longer than estimated.
Here are 2 images showing Adobe Arabic AsIs + as by Aziz with Flowers.


Vladimir Tamari's picture

Congratulations = Mabrouk.

John Hudson's picture

An interesting and in many respects attractive experiment, Aziz. It is interesting to see the difference in overall texture between the two versions, and how the variation in mark size and the tighter spacing makes your version resemble the texture of a traditional naskh page even though the letterforms are the same. The loss of the fa-yeh and lam-yeh ligature forms is unfortunate, though.

Adobe Arabic was designed primarily for use in modern business documents, with little expectation that it would be used for fully vocalised text. This is actually the only example of vocalised text in Adobe Arabic that I have seen outside of the tests that we made when we were developing the font.

AzizMostafa's picture

1. Welcome to our new Japanese Typophile with Flowers

> The loss of the fa-yeh and lam-yeh ligature forms is unfortunate, though.
Absolutely true. I do have both of them included but It was the Indian Publisher choice not to use ligatures at all. He was attracted by the fatness and easiness of Adobe Arabic. After all, juggling 6 fonts is more mind-boggling than Toggling just 2 that give more rooms than needed?!
Thanks with Flowers

Vladimir Tamari's picture

Thank you Aziz for the flowers!Hello John. I am not Japanese, I live in Tokyo but I am a Palestinian born in Jerusalem. The font I am working on is the exact opposite of your beautiful naskh font - it is an uncompromising minimal sans-serif inspired by Eric Gill's San Serif and his writings. Did you know that Eric Gill loved Jerusalem and worked there carving stone reliefs and lettering for the Rockefeller Museum? He called the Dome of the Rock "the holiest holiest holiest" place.
http://www.imj.org.il/rockefeller/eng/Gill.html

AzizMostafa's picture

> I am not Japanese
1 That's what your name does suggest. I thought you are One+ by now!
Flowers wherever you come and go!
I have been to Japan for the last 3 months of 1983. I did enjoy my time there and then. My Goldfish taught me Japanese, but it is the last place on earth I choose to live whenever I remember my days battling with the train up+down Tokyo+Yokohama.
Last time I could smell and touch Japanese flowers but my spouse goes mad whenever she sees me scanning my old pictures.

2. See me on the Other Channel:
http://typophile.com/node/38807

Vladimir Tamari's picture

Thank you for the flowers! You are right my name has a Japanese equivalent!

Saad Abulhab's picture

Hello Vladimir Tamari

>>The font I am working on is the exact opposite of your beautiful Naskh font - it is >>an uncompromising minimal sans-serif inspired by Eric Gill’s San Serif and his >>writings.

I liked your use of the term "uncompromising" which is now a Trademark by our very talented colleague Aziz.

A year ago, I created two Arabic fonts: Arabetics Serif and Arabetics San-Serif to illustrate few concepts about simplified Arabic in an article I wrote for "Visible Language". They are on our site: http://arabetics.com

-Saad

Vladimir Tamari's picture

Hello Saad and Aziz, yes the word uncompromising was used appropriately both by Azis and myself but the result is stylistically as different as goldfish are from flowers (!)- I am curious about the font Aziz developed or adapted - is it an Adobe font which he designed?

I looked at Saad's arabetics website and it had a very nice way to display the various fonts and sizes. As an Arab my first reaction was to notice the gaps between the glyphs, then I looked at the glyphs themselves which had interesting graphic styles- Arabic is amazingly pliable! As to the unconnected letters...I guess I am one of those people who feel that the tradition of writing connected words is too important to get rid of, and that connected words create a 'word shape' that aids legibility. Not all of Saad's fonts have noticiable gaps, though.

- The Mehdi is the one I liked best, especially the elegant italic. What are the different numbers 60 180 in the font names?
- The Mitlaq has a delightful Ism-Al-Jalalah and qaf and many other nice fanciful shapes.
- The Amudi is the one I liked least- it has so many similar verticals (and gaps) that the eye is overwhelmed.

I had similar reactions when I attended a lecture and exhibition by the late Nasri Khattar in Beirut...that must have been around 1960. His glyphs were nicely designed, but he presented a concept quite similar to the Mutamathil: http://www.unifiedarabicalphabet.com/ Interestingly the logo of his site is in connected words.
Good luck to you both
Vladimir

Saad Abulhab's picture

Dear Vladimir

If this was you picture on the corner then you look too young to attend a 1960 events :)

>>I guess I am one of those people who feel that the tradition of writing connected >>words is too important to get rid of, and that connected words create a ’word shape’ >>that aids legibility

Indeed. I would never support "getting rid of" connected Arabic form nor can anyone actually do it. My main goal is to emphasize Arabic script flexibility and power and to present more options to serve *real* educational and economical needs. In a way, this would be similar to how Arabic Poetry was successfully enriched last century by include "Amudi poems" side by side "Free Poems". Thinking in term of "replace" or "reform" which was the case for most previous non traditional works, unfortunately, is insulting and would never serve the Arabic script.

I must admit that for me personally, the added freedom of not having connectivity as an absolute "minimum design requirement" is a crucial factor for creative design.

>>What are the different numbers 60 180 in the font names?

This is related to Tatweel (or Kasheedah) lengths.

-Saad

Vladimir Tamari's picture

Saad the 20x20 or so colorful pixels in my logo are cropped to hide a lot of gray ones! Thanks for the explanation about the disconnected fonts- you have the right attitude. It is interesting that you mention the writing of free Arabic verse- some of those poets campaigned for the use of "Arabic Numerals" 123456780 as written in the West thinking that this was a return to their roots. Unfortunately the practice has now spread in the Arab world - I say unfortunately because the Indic-Arabic numerals the Arabs used till recently are in the same style of the rest of the font, unlike the Roman-looking 1234... which look so incongruous on the page.

Saad Abulhab's picture

Interesting indeed.. I never knew that free Arabic verse poets had anything to do with replacing "Arabic Numerals" by Indic-Arabic. I thought it was a trend staring in Morocco and Algeria then adapted by the Arab East.

I agree with you, "Arabic Numerals" look incongruous when used "as is" with Arabic fonts. My approach to this issue is that since using "Arabic Numerals" is becoming a strong reality on the ground, designers of Arabic fonts must create harmonious designs of these numerals and do not depend on Latin default. In my fonts I try to bring the "Arabic numerals" back to their original Indic-Arabic forms. For example, I flip Indic-Arabic 2 and 3 90 degrees counterclockwise and use diamond shape 0. Similarly my Arabic numeral 9 is made identical to Indic-Arabic.

-Saad

Saad Abulhab's picture

Sorry, I meant to say:

I never knew that free Arabic verse poets had anything to do with replacing Indic-Arabic by "Arabic Numerals”

-Saad

AzizMostafa's picture

... yes the word uncompromising was used appropriately both by Azis and myself but the result is stylistically as different as goldfish are from flowers (!)- I am curious about the font Aziz developed or adapted - is it an Adobe font which he designed?

1 Adobe Arabic has been designed neither by Aziz nor by Azis. It has been designed by Tim Holloway. More here:
http://www.tdc.org/news/2006Results/AdobeArabic.html
2. TimTim.jpg is AsIs and TimAziz.jpg is As by Aziz.
3. Have you ever befriended a Goldfish?
4. Happy Birthday with Flowers
http://www.ne.jp/asahi/tamari/vladimir

Vladimir Tamari's picture

Saad- I first encountered the use of Western Arabic numerals in poetry magazines edited in Beirut by pioneering poets of free verse either Mawaqef edited by Adonis or Shi3r by Yousef al Khal, or both, I am not now sure. I think the idea of using them was actively promoted there. When did they start being used in the Maghreb? Good for you for redesigning the Western-Arabic in the same style of the font it is part of - that will solve the aesthetic problem. Is there a way to give the user a choice of which set of numerals to use? I suppose the trend is irreversible because of the convenience of having bank records etc. displayed in a uniform way all over the world.
Cheers

Vladimir Tamari's picture

Thank you Aziz for your flowery greetings and the information about the Adobe fonts. I will be happy to answer your question about goldfish in an email since the subject is distinctly untypographic :) But wait...there iS a goldfish-font connection http://www.dafont.com/volter-goldfish.font !!
Cheers

Saad Abulhab's picture

Hello Vladimir

Happy 65th to you. It is a well deserved celebration for all your incredible talents in Art and science. And, yes, I see how effective cropping is on unwanted elements.

>>When did they start being used in the Maghreb?

Not sure. But probably sixties or before.

>>Good for you for redesigning the Western-Arabic in the same style of the font it is part of - that will solve the aesthetic problem.

Forgot to add that I also design my Indic-Arabic numerals in special way. Notice, 0 and 5.

>>Is there a way to give the user a choice of which set of numerals to use?

In all Microsoft Office applications you can choose and set default. In my Java utility on my site, I did not find way to choose. BTW, I noticed my Java is having technical problem issues couple days ago. May be due to latest update, this means I have a project now for the Thanksgiving, this long weekend in US.

-Saad

Vladimir Tamari's picture

Yhank you Saad for your kind words- but you know what they say about Jack of all trades. Happy Thanksgiving - I checked your website http://arabetics.com the Java seems to work fine, and saw how you designed the Arabic-Indic numerals to suit the Arabic. I suggest the original sifr (zero) be placed higher up the glyph so that it will look even less than a full-stop. Hey Aziz started this thread to tell about his font. I am new to chat rooms - shouldn't we stick to that subject so that others will join his discussion? But speaking of numerals when I installed my font the numerals on Word suddenly started displaying in Western Arabic from another font..wonder why?

Since this is all about Arabic fonts may I suggest readers look at the excellent work of Pascal Zoghbi http://www.29letters.com/new/index.php

Saad Abulhab's picture

Vladimir, Yes the applets works fine in IE but not in newest Firefox version. As for chat, it is not an usual that discussions in forums branches on and on.

You can set what numerals to see in MS Office.

>>Since this is all about Arabic fonts may I suggest readers look at the excellent work of Pascal Zoghbi http://www.29letters.com/new/index.php

Also, pascal worked hard to make his site a very nice one.

-Saad

Vladimir Tamari's picture

Saad, Firefox 3 has some unwanted 'improvements' like that security pop-out when you select an address in the bar, but it is still in beta. Yes I am now seeing how chats do branch out that is good, but I think I am too old for these fast-paced exchanges of info-bites in a free-for-all setting. I looked at your arabetics.com and saw the NAIM method- I will have to study it closer. Your technical innovations are welcome in this field. I wonder if a system like that can be of use in a situation like this: When I use Illustrator and input Arabic text it comes out unconnected only letters in their final form. Is getting the ME version the only way to use Arabic in Adobe products? Could NAIM help, and if so why is it only restricted to OT ? Thanks.

Saad Abulhab's picture

>>When I use Illustrator and input Arabic text it comes out unconnected only letters in their final form. Is getting the ME version the only way to use Arabic in Adobe products?

Unfortunately, Abobe products do not use the default operating system Arabic (or complex script) engine on Mac or Windows. You will need to use their engine so you will need to get ME (i.e. pay additional money to Adobe). But at least Adobe ME engine uses OT. That way any OT Arabic font can be used with ME on MAC too; although MAC supports OT but their support is partial not including complex scripts (ie. Arabic). For Arabic MAC requires AAT.

>>Could NAIM help, and if so why is it only restricted to OT?

NAIM is a text input method in which you have no dynamic glyph substitutions before leaving a word (i.e hitting space) The purpose of NAIM is mainly educational but it is also useful to those who are tired and annoyed by the "hyper" (dancing) behavior of the current "shaping" approach. I implemented NAIM for OT but it is not restricted to it.

NAIM is an optional, simpler, and more natural character input method to implement within an Arabic engine. It works with all Arabic fonts, as you can see with the Java applet on the arabetics.com site. NAIM does not replace the need for a default Arabic engine in the first place. But of course, if we would use it in conjunction with one glyph per letter and uniformed diacritic positioning font styles, like fonts in my Mutamathil style, we would need engines to take care of RtL ordering only.

-Saad

Vladimir Tamari's picture

Thanks Saad I will respond soon inshallah.

twardoch's picture

> You will need to use their engine so you will need to get ME
> (i.e. pay additional money to Adobe). But at least Adobe ME engine uses OT.

Well, this is not exactly correct. The Middle East versions of Adobe's products are developed by Winsoft, which is an independent company. So the additional money goes to them, for their hard work to adapt Adobe products to the Middle East requirements.

> although MAC supports OT but their support is partial not
> including complex scripts (ie. Arabic). For Arabic MAC requires AAT.

That, again, is not exactly correct. This was true for Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger and earlier versions, but in Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, applications that use the CoreText font infrastructure such as TextEdit do support Arabic with OpenType fonts (though I have not tested vocalized text). There is some information about this at http://lists.apple.com/archives/carbon-dev/2007/Nov/msg00005.html

Adam

Vladimir Tamari's picture

>Unfortunately, Abobe products do not use the default operating system Arabic (or complex script) engine

How about Fontlab - do all its features work for Arabic, for example Preview?

>NAIM is a text input method in which you have no dynamic glyph substitutions before leaving a word (i.e hitting space)

Saad, as I understand it your system assumes the letter is medial until a space bar shows the letter is at at the end of the word, when the final form is substituted. In the usual method the final form is assumed and displayed first. Yes I prefer the NAIM system - it is more logical and as you say educational. The computerization of Arabic fonts seems to leave room for improvement in several basic ways. In his interesting website on Arabic fonts and calligraphy http://hibastudio.com Hasan Abu Afash interviewed you, and recently Jim Hudson. Jim said the Arabic was poorly categorized in Unicode from the very start- another example where improvements are possible.

Saad Abulhab's picture

Saad wrote:

> You will need to use their engine so you will need to get ME
> (i.e. pay additional money to Adobe). But at least Adobe ME engine uses OT.

Aram wrote:

>>Well, this is not exactly correct. The Middle East versions of Adobe’s products are developed by Winsoft, which is an independent company. So the additional money goes to them, for their hard work to adapt Adobe products to the Middle East requirements.

Hello Adam. Yes, Winsoft deserves a lot for their hard work. Recently I got great help from Pascal regarding OT and Winsoft Arabic engine. But my comment was about Adobe. Adobe should not sell an InDesign product without minimum Arabic support. The days of paying for additional Arabic products are gone. Besides, we have 50 millions Arabic script users outside the Arab world. Adobe should have minimum (like shaping) Arabic support in their Latin products via OS. Do you think Adobe gets *nothing* from the sell of Winsoft's "Adobe ME" products? Then think again.

BTW: Winsoft Arabic engine implements Arabic different than MS Uniscribe. They require the four glyph model as an absolute minimum. This impacts font makers.

Saad wrote:

> although MAC supports OT but their support is partial not
> including complex scripts (ie. Arabic). For Arabic MAC requires AAT.

Adam wrote:

>>That, again, is not exactly correct.

Well It is correct so far. Java on Mac, which depends on MAC OS for Arabic, still does not work.

Vladimir wrote:

>>Saad, as I understand it your system assumes the letter is medial until a space bar shows the letter is at at the end of the word, when the final form is substituted.

Yes. Initial form would display first, followed by middle forms (or isolated if needed) until a final (or isolated if needed) is displayed *after* space entered.

>>and recently Jim Hudson

It is John Hudson.

-Saad

Vladimir Tamari's picture

>>and recently Jim Hudson >>It is John Hudson.
Apologies...jim is an Arabic letter :) Here is John's wide-ranging interview with Hasan Abu Afash on Arabic typography: http://hibastudio.com/links/Interviews_Eng/IN_John.html

twardoch's picture

FontLab Studio does not offer very good support for complex scripts. There is basic support -- you can preview the font and edit its metrics in right-to-left, you can preview the basic OpenType Layout features (init, medi, fina, isol). But no script-specific shaping is supported, mark attachment is also not supported.

I agree with Saad that Adobe should be adding support for complex scripts to their applications, and I wish it happened faster. On the other hand, I can understand that some companies lack the expertise in certain fields so they initially rely on external providers. My guess is that Adobe will be adding more support for complex scripts themselves in the near future.

Adam

piccic's picture

The Adobe Arabic looks nice, who designed it?
Aziz, did you design some typefaces of your own? If so, where they could be seen?

All the marks of those classic Arabic types, beautiful as they look, "scare" me a lot, anyway. I guess it's really difficult to get into a culture and writing system, unless you have the practical opportunity to do so…

AzizMostafa's picture

@ The Adobe Arabic looks nice, who designed it?

1. Originally designed by a Canadian named Tim Holloway.
2. Improved by an Iraqi named AzizMostafa to go with Aldus Pageaker5.5.
3. Redesigned by MaryamSoft.com for private use only.

@ Aziz, did you design some typefaces of your own?

Yes. See http://typophile.com/node/19348

@ If so, where they could be seen?

Coming soon with MirEmad of MaryamSoft.com
http://typophile.com/node/48495

piccic's picture

2. Improved by an Iraqi named AzizMostafa to go with Aldus Pageaker5.5.

Ah, great old PageMaker, what a nostalgia (I started with version 2.5 in 1988…)
InDesign CS3 got excessively cluttered, and the palettes and radio buttons are too small.
So Tim did a good work, if you liked it it must have been a good "filologic" work… :=)

Are you part of MaryamSoft or is it a company on its own?

On the thread I see Mrallah, but you talk primarily about the inherent features that make a quality calligraphic face with accents et al. ("to create sophisticated Arabic literary and academic books". to use the words of WinSoft) Is Mrallah your own design?

Sorry not to get deeper into questions, but my interest now has to remain a "hobby", otherwise I'll never complete my own old works… :=(

AzizMostafa's picture

> Is Mrallah your own design?
> Are you part of MaryamSoft or is it a company on its own?

Mrallah (Arabic Naskh) belongs to nobody...
It was developed hundreds years ago.
4 years ago, I finished digitizing it into 5+1 TTFs to go with PageMaker5.5.
And recently developing it with the help of MaryamSoft.com.

Excuse me for not providing more details.

piccic's picture

Mrallah (Arabic Naskh) belongs to nobody...

I think I understand the broader sense of your statement, then I reformulate the question in: how did you digitized it?
It does not seem taken directly from calligraphic or printed sources, but actually drawn with precision.
Don't worry about other details, I'm just excessively curious, like cats…

Flowers… :=)

AzizMostafa's picture

> then I reformulate the question in: how did you digitized it?

Can you reformulate your question once again?!

AzizMostafa's picture

Claudio Piccinini, before reformulating your question, consult:
http://typophile.com/node/20638?page=5#comment-205067
http://typophile.com/node/40979

Aniza's picture

Salam Aziz,

We met at Pesta Buku KL 2009. Can you help me on how to use the software please? I do not know what button to hit to make the interface appear. Kindly help.

AzizMostafa's picture

Thanks Aniza for Choosing Jawi Khattat (MirEmad).

@I do not know what button to hit to make the interface appear.

MirEmad has no interface, by mouse-left-clicking its icon,
it shows upto the face then shrinks + sits at right bottom of the screen.
Please read its Help by mouse-right-clicking on its icon.

Thanks once again with Flowers.

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