What are your opinions about my first font?

Soroush's picture

Hi all,

I finished my first font.

I need your advices, my font have this features:

  1. supports all of languages using Arabic script (unicode range 0600-06FF and 0750-077F).
  2. Have 5553 kerning pairs.

As an experienced designer, what's your opinion about my first typeface? it's based on XB Niloofar and Zar fonts. Some glyphs are scanned from printed papers of 1998 year, I could not find the original Zar font. (see attached pdf.)

Samples.pdf55.99 KB
Kerning.jpg205.24 KB
Frode Bo Helland's picture

Hi Soroush. It would easier to judge with a pdf. Although I have no experience with Arabic, I’d love to see this up close. I find the Arabic script in itself beautiful and facinating.

Frode Bo Helland's picture

As stated, I know nothing about Arabic. My comments come from a latin point of view, so please take them with a grain of salt.

These spots, and a few others, are places where your strokes seem to form heavy black spots. Is this intended?

Soroush's picture

I see you. Last one is a bug: (look at here)

But about other heavy black spots: One of the most common paradigms in Arabic Calligraphy and type-design is making heavy marked text to seem Mono-Weight --> so from a far enough distance, the whole text should look like a silhouette gray illusion (see below images). (I think kerning of Latin fonts is based on the same idea.)


In order to simulate this behavior, i write an algorithm to decide about mark positioning and kerning pairs. but in some situation there is no way (that I'm aware of) to make the text mono-weighted, because of the nature of glyphs: in general they should be written by the Qalam (try to find Qalam's path on nowadays fonts):


I try to design the font with same look --> it seems to be a little inconvenience! but I'll try to solve the problem ...

Thanks a lot.

Frode Bo Helland's picture

I don’t know how familiar you are with latin type design, but you might be aware that a monolinear sans need lots of subtle optical corrections. For example, the eye of a binocular “g” almost always needs to be mathematically lighter to match the weight of the other letters. Likewise, joints, like where the curved part of “b” hits the stem or the two diagonals in “v” meet will often look to heavy, even if their weight is correct.

froo's picture

I suppose this detail in medial heh is of calligraphic origin, but it looks like metal type artefact. Also la looks weird. Do you plan to add ligatures?

we've got used to a system where all letters try to have the same level of gray. In latin it would disturb, but in Arabic, black dots of final meem and medial ain may improve readability.

Soroush's picture

Do you plan to add ligatures?
I have to. there are 6*8*2=84 La ligatures to add. Do you know another way to overcome justification problem without adding ligature?

froo's picture

No. And this makes me sick - the amount of mechanical work.
(At early stage I introduced some shape changes which solve few small problems. For example my medial heh has only the upper loop, so the sin-heh- pair looks ligated. But that's all. Nothing more I could do without ligatures).

Vladimir Tamari's picture

The first impression when seeing the pdf samples (apart from the kashida problems and some clashes of marks with letters) is very positive. The letter-shapes, proportions, details and sizes are very pleasant to look at. I specially like the large harakat marks, thin verticals and elegent stroke taperings. Purists might object to this or that point insofar as the letters might adhere to any given calligraphic tradition, but considered as a font everything in it works beautifully together. For some reason it reminds me of light hand-set text fonts used in the Palestinian newspapers فلسطين and الدفاع printed around 1950.

Because it is a font with a limited number of ligatures, perhaps it is better not to have the initial 'ain (illustrated by frode in عهدتم above) start too high and slope down as it does. It looks a bit odd compared to the overwhelmingly horizontal spine of the other letters. And as I have long advocated in Arabic font design: make the dots (not the marks which are large enough here) larger for the sake of legibility. I know it is not traditional to do so, but on a screen and in small print sizes the dots tend to disappear and they carry very important information about which letter one is reading! Examples: ج ح خ ب ت ث etc.

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