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Typotheque launches Arabic type foundry

TPTQ Arabic is a new foundry dedicated to developing original Arabic typefaces and systems for bi-lingual typography, says Peter Bil’ak of Typotheque, who have partnered with Lebanese designer Kristyan Sarkis on the new venture.

Greta Arabic from TPTQ Arabic
Greta Arabic from TPTQ Arabic

“There are a couple of local foundries in the Arab world, usually one-man operations,” Bil’ak says. “It’s mostly the young enthusiastic designers interested in type, but who were not able to get an education in type design because there is not a single Arabic type design program in the Arab world.”

Greta Arabic from TPTQ Arabic
Greta Arabic from TPTQ Arabic

As a post on the new TPTQ Arabic site suggests, despite Arabic culture having a particularly rich and diverse calligraphic heritage, it is not easily handled by technologies designed to support Roman script.

There have therefore been numerous attempts to adapt the flowing strokes of Arabic writing to different printing processes – since the advent of mechanical type – but these have been carried out with varying degrees of success.

Greta Arabic from TPTQ Arabic
Greta Arabic from TPTQ Arabic

TPTQ Arabic’s first font release is Greta Arabic, a family of 39 styles which represents “an unprecedented Arabic type system,” says Bil’ak. While most Arabic typefaces have just two or three weights, he explains, Greta comes in ten weights – from Hairline to Extra Bold.

Greta Arabic comes in ten weights which, combined with its four widths (Compressed, Condensed, Normal, Expanded ), create a wide range of possibilities
Greta Arabic comes in ten weights which, combined with its four widths (Compressed, Condensed, Normal, Expanded ), create a wide range of possibilities

“This is important, as in Arabic, as there is no italics, caps, small caps, it is only possible to establish typographic hierarchy with weight and width of type,” says the designer. “Greta Arabic explores the effect of extreme width, which to my knowledge is first typeface of its kind.

“Most of modern Arabic (monolinear) typefaces are based on the square Kufi model, Greta is inspired by Naskh, which makes it supremely legible,” he continues. “This type system is a powerful tool giving new possibilities for expression of the Arabic script.”

Greta Arabic from TPTQ Arabic
Greta Arabic from TPTQ Arabic

According to the post on TPTQ Arabic, there is huge demand for Arabic fonts that can be used in branding, publishing and everyday communication throughout the Arab world and beyond. New fonts are also required to respond to the needs of a rapidly growing global Arab design community – in both local design studios and international agencies.

Greta Arabic from TPTQ Arabic
Greta Arabic from TPTQ Arabic
Greta Arabic from TPTQ Arabic

TPTQ Arabic will also serve as an educational platform offering lectures and workshops, and actively promoting the publishing and exchanging of ideas.

See tptq-arabic.com for more details on the new venture and the Greta type system.

Greta Arabic (ten pt) as used in the Typotheque specimen
Greta Arabic (ten pt) as used in the Typotheque specimen

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