Arabic scripts question

omar's picture

Hi everyone,

I'm writing my essay about the history of the different Arabic scripts, i'm having a hard time finding good images of the different scripts and was wondering if maybe someone here on typohile could help me out with some good quality images of the different scripts:

- Kufi and ornament Kufi
- Naskh
- Thuluth
- Diwani
- Taliq
- Farsi
- Ruqaa
- Perzisch script
- Maghrebi

i'm not asking for annyone to do all the work for me, its just that i'm absolutely no specialist in separating all the different scripts from one another, and i obviously don't want to guess. i did find some images on the net but most of them are of poor quality. of course i will mention the source of the images in my essay and be glad to send a copy.

i would really appreciate all the help.

bemerx25's picture

Have you checked your school's library out? If you're at a university, you should have no trouble finding some good books that will help identify and describe some of these scripts.

You might also do a search on to find books with images and discussion of these types of scripts. Then use that info to help track down those books.

Finally you may want to ask the folks in this particular Typophile forum for their expert advice:

paul d hunt's picture

i second the library suggestion. you might pick up Arabic Script by Gabriel Mandel Khan

Si_Daniels's picture

This book might help...

...hope he found someone to proof read it though - he still lists himself as an "independend" designer here :-)

Thomas Milo's picture

Hi Omar,

Consider this link:

It is a general introduction to the Arabic styles.

Below are two more links, one in Arabic and in English, that give background information and illustrations of the classic Arabic script styles by one of the contemporary masters: Mohamed Zakariya. They are a double critique of a book about Arabic typography that is so confused about the subject, that it prompted Zak to create a series of illustrations to clarify the matter. This review was published first in the Leiden academic journal Bibliographia Orientalis (BiOr) and later in the Lebanese computer magazine ACCE (Arabic Computing, Communications & Electronics):

In Arabic:
In English:

In order to use the illustrations contained in these PDF's you must ask Mohamed Zakariya's his permission (his website above has instructions how to contact him).

But I am sure these images will help you to get the styles straight.

Thomas Milo

Thomas Milo's picture

Thomas Milo

John Hudson's picture

Si: This book might help...

Then again, it might not.

Si_Daniels's picture

Any chance of a review? I'm considering laying down 150 euro of the company's hard earned money on a copy, should I invest elsewhere?

PS I’ve already been scolded off list for promoting “the mafia”! All I said was it "might help". :-)

dan_reynolds's picture

Si, the most-excellent review of that book is to be found here –

I won't tell you what you should do with Microsoft's money. But this thing's sticker price is the same as one and a half FontBooks! Maybe another copy of that new Adrian Frutiger book would be a better bet if you're looking to plug a hole in your dept.'s budget :-D

Thomas Milo's picture


The book lists a "PakType Naskh Basic" font that is a mutilated but still recognizable illegal copy of the DecoType Naskh that we licensed to Microsoft.

The original DecoType design, adopted by all major players (Microsoft, Apple, WinSoft) is literally on every computer in the Middle East.

Therefore it is hard to miss for a specimen book that pretends to cover everything - unless the author is an incompetent charlatan who didn't even notice the uncanny similarity between PakType and DecoType :-)

If you really consider diverting resources, please devote them to anti-piracy measures including action against those who (unknowingly?) legitimize it.

Thomas Milo

k.l.'s picture

I would never say do not buy a book. Only, which is true for any text, handle with care and do not take every word for a bare fact. After all, I have Schopenhauer on my shelves despite I think he trivialized Kant in an unacceptable way. (Maybe this is what people like Schopenhauer for?)

omar's picture

hey guys thnx for all the help , sorry for the late reply, i was away for a while...

Si_Daniels's picture

Another copy of the Frutiger book would definitely be a good investment, as would one and a half Font Books. Thanks for the advice! :-)

John Hudson's picture

Christopher, that's also a disappointing book.

Chris Dean's picture

@ Hudson,

Have not read it. Shelf-book for now. Have you read it?

John Hudson's picture

Yes, I've read much of it. The font technical information is parroted from sources on Latin fonts, so doesn't contribute much to the making of Arabic fonts; not surprisingly, perhaps, because the author doesn't really understand the technology. There is a quite interesting historical overview, mostly showing attempts at Arabic typography originating in Europe and well-illustrated, but since these types had little or no impact in the Middle East they represent an eccentric history. As the review by Mohamed Zakariya and Tom Milo makes clear, the author is confused about the terminology of the traditional script styles, so the book is unreliable in that respect. Finally, the concluding overview of various foundries' Arabic typeface development, while providing useful illustrations -- including some of designs that are not available in current digital formats --, misrepresents some of these companies and their achievements.

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