Persian/Arab Font

titus n.'s picture

i got a book project that will be printed in 2 languages: english and persian.

it is a book with illustrations referring to stories and stories referring to illustrations, all written by novelists and children and drawn by illustrators and children.
and the whole book is aimed at children.

is that understandable? :-)

all texts will be english and persian.

now i'm looking for fonts to match that concept. i thought of underwares "dolly" but have no clue what arab/persian font could fit.
do you think i should use a font that includes both, latin and arabic, or may i use two different fonts?

i really don't know where to start, all help is highly apprecitated!

hrant's picture

There are no fonts I know of with a truly balanced Latin/Arabic pair.
To me it's because Modernism has blocked true pragmatic functionality.
And since there are far fewer Arabic fonts than Latin, I would propose
the following: choose the Arabic first*, tell us what it is, then we'll work
on a good Latin match. You might need to use a MM font to match the
color just right.

* Do note though that some styles are more culturally authentic for Arabic versus Persian.

hhp

titus n.'s picture

thanks hrant!
i had already lost my hope to get help from this place ...
it seems to be really a tough decision. i had a look at the offers of arabic scripts by linotype and fontshop. and it seems to me (even though i can't read one word!) that linotype shows specimens that aren't set in arabic, but only a loose collection of letters. could anybody confirm that?


application/pdf
Lotus light.pdf (498.7 k)



perhaps lotus would be a good choice though, especially because it is opentype. what do yo think?

another possibility could be hassan
http://www.linotype.com/522/hassan-family.html

hrant's picture

The first page of that PDF shows the basic Arabic alphabet (in the lone/independent forms), but even in the smallest size the first four letters have been truncated. The second page is messy gibberish.

Of those two, Lotus is more "literary" shall we say while Hassan is more "graphic". I would favor Hassan because I think it's more appealing to children, and because I suspect it's more appealing to Persians - but I'm not sure.

If you go with Hassan, maybe a Walbaum would work? Although that doesn't seem very kiddie...

hhp

John Hudson's picture

Yikes! Where did you find that Linotype PDF, Titus? That is truly an apalling mess. I have a set of printed Arabic samples from the Linotype-Paul days, courtesy of Fiona Ross, and they show proper text samples.

titus n.'s picture

i'm glad my eye didn't trick me ...
you can download those samples from the linotype homepage. quite embarassing.

thanks for the insight hrant, i could imagine going with "hassan", but i can't imagine a walbaum looking good on childrens drawings!

perhaps the idea to find a latin font that is quite close to the arabic and looks harmonious on it's side is just wrong. wouldn't it be a better way to say: "two different scripts - lets point out that difference and stop artificially trying to let them look familiar." one could use something completely different - futura!
--
and a technical question: do i really need a arabic mac os to set arabic type? (they say that on the linotype homepage)

oh, and a merry christmas to all who celebrate it!

fiona_r's picture

Agreed, do not follow the current showings of the Arabic on the Linotype website. I am assisting Linotype in revising these - at the moment they are just trials as the formats vary - and there should be a sensible showing in January. The second page of the pdf samples are just the Latin pages set with Arabic fonts, so they are gibberish. There will be proper textx samples in due course.

I am pretty certain that all the Linotype Arabic fonts contain Farsi characters (including numerals). The two fonts that are designed for Farsi (note the counters) are Nazanin and Mitra.
The former is particularly popular but neither are yet in OpenType format - you would need to contact Thomas Caldwell at Lintoype for a date, also about Hassan if you follow Hrant's suggestion.
Lotus is Linotype's most popular text font for quality bookwork. Yakout is the most popular font for newspaper text and brochures. Both contain the necessary characters and are available in OpenType format (even though the website currently only shows the Type 1 Yakout). The samples John mentions would give you better information. I don't think I have a set that I can send you, but perhaps John would kindly put up a pdf for you of the fonts in which you are interested. Please contact me off-list if you would like further information, although now is a somewhat busy time!

Fiona

hrant's picture

Titus, the degree to which Latin and Arabic can be "formally" reconciled is indeed severely limited - and when people ignore this they end up with caricatures of visible language which can appeal only to fanatical graphic designers or cultural chauvinists. But whenever the two are in one place they can't just ignore each other either. They have to balance each other somehow or other, and one generally important factor is apparent importance - when one has too much and the other too little you'll piss half the people off - much easier to do than pleasing half the people! :-/

hhp

John Hudson's picture

When two scripts are completely unrelated in form, I find that the best way to harmonise their appearence together -- to reconcile them, to use Hrant's term -- is to carefully balance weight and height so that neither looks too large or too heavy relative to the other. Some of the best examples of harmonious setting of Arabic and Latin text I've seen are actually in very old books, in which two obviously independent fonts have been sensitively combined simply with an eye to their relative size. In this approach, neither script is adapted to the other, but both are allowed to maintain their own authentic characteristics, although the fact that the Latin types in these books are French renaissance book faces with small x-heights and long extenders does help them to harmonise easily with the Arabic. I had this in mind when I designed the Latin portion of the Arabic Typesetting font.*

*Unfortunately, I think my Latin harmonises better with Paul Nelson's original Arabic design, for which I drew it, than with Mamoun Sakkal's final and much revised Arabic design. Ideally, I should have gone back to the Latin after Mamoun completed his revisiones, but there was no time or budget left for that unanticipated work.

hankzane's picture

I like Koufiya by Nadine Chahine. I gather she also made other (Arabic) typefaces.

titus n.'s picture

dear all,
thanks a lot for your inspiring toughts! i was quite busy these days, so i couldn't answer or get it going, but i'll keep on posting as soon as something develops.
john, would it be possible to see those pdfs mentioned? if not, nevermind.

sergej, i also thought of her, but unfortunately koufiya isn't yet available for sale. i am really looking forward to it.

John Hudson's picture

Sorry, Titus, the Linotype Arabic samples I have are print pieces, not PDFs. Unfortunately, they are buried in my library and I doubt if I can locate them in any hurry: I had my library catalogued this year, and it has not recovered from the experience: it is now very well organised in a database, but much disorganised on the actual shelves.

hrant's picture

Is this
(1.77Mb) http://www.themicrofoundry.com/other/Diwan.gif
what you have John? That's a 600dpi scan of a sheet I once
got from ATypI-Leipzig. The only missing font there seems
to be Hisham.

More soon...

hhp

hrant's picture

Koufiya is a great design - it has some really inspiring Latin glyphs.
But to me the two components are not "atmospherically" balanced:
the way the Latin is useful is very different than the way the Arabic
is useful. I think a more progressive Latin would have been better.

BTW, John, about your cataloguing system, so it tells you whether you have something, but doesn't tell you how to find it? :-) I recently organized all my type materials, and now it's much easier for me to find something. I have eight or so categories, with each small enough that it's feasible to search through to find a specific item. But the catalogue is still in my head. Sometimes I forget I have something (although I very rarely I think I have something I don't, which is the biggest time drain) but usually there's at least a faint memory of every single item for me to know which pile to look in. One day I could do a "formal" catalog (which would enable the distinct advantage of having an item in more than one category) but I guess I don't have enough stuff yet for the overhead to be worth it. As one of my first-year Computer Science profs told me ages ago, you gotta know when not to use a computer!

hhp

John Hudson's picture

Is this ... what you have John?

No. I have a set of the Linotype-Paul specimen sheets from the early 1980s. I've also got photocopies of some of the pre-PostScript output from the 1970s for a couple of designs.

The Diwan versions of Linotype faces are problematic, since they only work with Diwan's software. Linotype are intending to release Unicode-OpenType versions in the near future.


The next stage of the library cataloguing will be a simple shelf-number system, but I'm holding off doing this until I move and can get things properly organised. Currently about a third of the books are in piles on the floor or taking up table space. The primary goal of the catalogue was, indeed, so I would know what I have. I was standing in a bookshop in London a couple of years ago, holding a volume in my hand, and couldn't remember whether I already owned it. That was when I decided I needed a catalogue. Now I have a fairly detailed catalogue on my PalmPilot.

titus n.'s picture

thanks hrant and john, i think those diwan specimens are quite good to get an overall impression of the faces.

john, i also had a look on your and mahmoud sakkals arabic typesetting font. did i understand correctly, that it is only availlable through microsoft office? this sounds strange to me, do you (or the one who decided) want us to layout books with microsoft office?

hrant's picture

> The Diwan versions of Linotype faces are problematic

I guess when that sheet was released you needed some system (beyond the
OS) anyway, so it was part of the problem/solution. And since Linotype has yet to
release those Arabic fonts for "non-proprietary-system" use that's really still the case.

hhp

John Hudson's picture

Yes, Arabic Typesetting is only available as a bundle with MS Office. It is a Microsoft exclusive typeface, originated by Paul Nelson at MS Typography, who drew the first version of the Arabic, which was then revised by Mamoun. It is part of MS's remarkable commitment to quality typography across a range of scripts. In terms of Unicode-compliant text handling, MS Publisher is actually the second-best page layout app for the Arabic script, after InDesign ME. MS Office on Windows has the most advanced complex script support of any software on the market.

hrant's picture

BTW, I'm curious:
How many books do you have?
And do you also collect copies of books?

hhp

nadine_chahine's picture

In case you want to use Hassan, Sabon or Sabon Next can work. I'm attaching a sample. The optical sizes look fine like this. The Arabic bold looks heavier than Sabon bold though.

What's the age group for the target audience?


application/pdfHassan and Sabon sample text faces
Hassan and Sabon.pdf (259.4 k)

John Hudson's picture

How many books do you have?

The professional library has about 650 volumes, 594 of which are currently catalogued. Unfortunately, my cataloguer recently took a job with a library in California, so I either need to find someone else or catalogue the recent purchases myself. About two thirds of the library are general, i.e. predominantly Latin, typography and calligraphy, and one third is non-Latin stuff. I expect it to be half-and-half soon, since I'm buying more non-Latin than Latin. Unlike a lot of my colleagues' libraries, which tend to include lots of old type specimen books, most of my collection is what may be termed scholarly, with a lot of palaeography books, which are generally the most interesting material for non-Latin script.

I'll go to some lengths and expense to get my own copy of a book before I settle for a photocopy. What tends to happen is that I go to St Bride's and browse in a number of areas that interest me, identifying worthwhile books, and then come home and start ordering them through ABE.

titus n.'s picture

>In terms of Unicode-compliant text handling, MS Publisher is actually the second-best page layout app for the Arabic script, after InDesign ME.

thanks john, this is really interesting. i don't know publisher, but what i do know is, that i can't stand ms word. i guess they have nothing in common except the ms logo.

thanks nadine, that is very kind! the age group is somewhere between 5 and 12 years. therefore i wanted to look for something less classical than sabon - on the other hand it is especially important for children to use a very readable font.
i am also taking "nazanin" into consideration. she is much smoother and was, as fiona stated, designed for farsi typesetting.

best,
titus

hrant's picture

John, impressive!

--

Nazanin seems like a good choice, friendly and unpretentious.
And the Bold -if not the Regular- does have that distinct Persian style.

Here's an idea for a matching Latin: something by Unger.
Much of his stuff has a unique cute-but-functional-and-a-touch-alien feel.

hhp

titus n.'s picture

i also tend towards a dutch design. and i tried this:




is it awful? could it work? i know the latin bold is too heavy, but i doubt there will be much bold in the text anyway.
swift by unger could also be great. especially because it has more weights.

hrant's picture

The idea of using a chirographic font here is pretty clever.
I would try to find something with a small x-height though. As for Swift, it might be too rigid. I was thinking more along the lines of Gulliver, although the x-height there is extreme! What about Trinite? Maybe too mannered.

As for the Arabic, I would prefer Nazanin for sure, not least because of its larger apparent size on the body, which is great for kids.

hhp

titus n.'s picture

hm, the only "flaw" for trinite and also ungers fonts is the price ... enschede licensing seems to be made strictly for brokers and royals ...

could you explain "chirographic" ? and i guess you meant a large x height - gulliver?

John Hudson's picture

i don't know publisher, but what i do know is, that i can't stand ms word. i guess they have nothing in common except the ms logo.

Unfortunately, they have rather more than that in common. Let me be very clear: Publisher has lots of
problems and things that will drive any serious typographer crazy (kerning is absolute, not relative to
point size!). But because of Microsoft's commitment to complex script handling, Publisher happens
to support a lot more scripts and languages than any other page layout software.

I use InDesign ME almost all the time, and if I need to set something in a script that it doesn't support --
or doesn't support adequately (it can do modern Hebrew, but not all aspects of Biblical Hebrew) --
I'll set the block of text in either Word or Publisher, print to a PDF, and then imbed the PDF as a
graphic in my InDesign document.

hrant's picture

Chirographic:
Something that's based on writing by hand (by a righthander, or a lefthander pretending to be a righthander), generally with a broad-nib pen. For example in Dolly the structure of the foot serifs is braying* chirography.

* A loan from a common Armenian expression.

x-Height:
Since Arabic is inherently small on the body, you can reduce the "apparent importance" dilemma with Latin by choosing a Latin font with a small x-height. I think Gulliver has the right forms but the wrong vertical proportions for this job.

hhp

nadine_chahine's picture

Good choice for the Arabic... The latin you show is heavier than the Arabic and the serif treatment is not helping (too straight and unmoving when compared to the flow of the Arabic). You need a latin with softer curves. This Arabic feels very feminine, soft and graceful. It suits persian text and would need a small x-height for the latin. Also, smaller counters in the a and e would probably help. Look at the closed counters and see how small they are? You don't need an e that small, but a large x-height with generous counters will look monstrous next to the delicacy of the Arabic. Definitely some modulation on the Latin. Hope this helps...

pacofer's picture

Hi all. I have finished an arabic version of the PopLaudatio font, you can use if you want, but you need ArabicXT. I‘m working in similar projets, you can see in www.granada-design.com

Warm regards and happy new yearArabic Laudatio sample

hrant's picture

I love Laudatio, and it some ways it might make a good match for Arabic... but its x-height is phenomenally large! I'm not the only one pointing out this issue; do you think this does not cause a problem?

Besides that, there are problems with the Arabic. Hopefully Nadine will apply her expertise, but to me the variance in density is too messy; I would apply kasheedas more sensitively. Also, in some ways it seems too Latinized to me - like the waaw being a 9... Lastly, there are spelling and setting mistakes - so you should get a native Arabic speaker to help ASAP.

About the numbers in the Arabic: I guess Moroccan uses Latin numerals? Because most Arab countries use the "native" Arabic numerals.

--

BTW, about your logo/icon, does it say "taSmeem ghrnaaTa"? I guess ghrnaaTa is Granada? Isn't that written with a qaaf? Since "qrn" means "horn" and that's a common part of place names? Not sure. And does "taSmeem" mean "design"? Anyway, it seems nice.

hhp

pacofer's picture

Thank for your comments, Hrant.
In Maroc, people read latin numerals better, I‘ve used it for this reason.
About my logo, Gharnata is Granada, Spain, I live and work in Granada. My studio is called Granada Design (Gharnata Tasmim).

Thanks for your help.

nadine_chahine's picture

Paco,
There's a spelling mistake in the first line :-)

I very much like your logo, and am very happy that you are interested in Arabic. Some of the best Arabic calligraphy started in Spain and Morocco.

The Latin is much better resolved than the Arabic, which might need some adjustments of its internal proportions.

The kufi style is a good choice though the large x-height of the Latin is not helping. It feels also like the Latin flows better than the Arabic. You might need to make some adjustments that will help the rhythm.

- the mim is too small
- the reh feels like it's tipping backwards. It really needs a vertical stem in the koufi style
- the jim family is a bit unbalanced. The top part moves forward too much
- the beh needs to be wider (comparable to kaf)
- no need for lam-mim ligature. The structure you use is more a naskh than a koufi
- the sin is widely spaced in comprison to the beh family (compare sin followed by teh, and shin followed by nun)
- the waw seems very big (counter is similar in size to mim)
- spacing of "Espania" seems very tight in comaprison to others

I hope you find this helpful. I am attaching the same text in 3 kufi fonts so that you can look at them. They have the correct spelling :-)
kufi samples

pacofer's picture

Thanks very much for your help, Nadine. Im working hard whit this.
I will show it again.

titus n.'s picture

hello all,
my internet connection was down for the last 4 days, a strange feeling ...

paco, thank you for your generosity but i think it doesn't really fit my needs this time.

i have two new proposals.
i believe stempel schneidler could be nice. the color is very close, it is as soft and smooth as nazanin and has quite small counters and x-height.
the second proposal is custodia. a bit sharper but the counters are smaller.
i am curious to hear your opinions.

schneidler

custodia

dan_reynolds's picture

That Stempel Schneidler/Nazarin sample looks beautiful!

John Hudson's picture

Titus, you might also want to take a look at ITC Mendoza, which I've found combines very well with a number of Arabic faces.

PouyaJahan's picture

I am a latecomer to this conversation, but I have read through, and am fascinated with various resources and collections we are being presented.

(Titus)
Just to be clear: Am I correct to conclude, that an essential part of what you are trying to accomplish is to "visually" balance the texture and formal aspects of a Persian/Arabic font together with another Latin font, in a composition that would involve children's illustrations?

PouyaJahan's picture

oops I see this was back in 2005...

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