Politics, economics, globalized branding, and a burgeoning design scene have all contributed to these 3 words. Arabic is IN. Having already discussed this in several interviews, published and upcoming, I’m not going to go now into the details of how all these different factors have interacted to bring about this beam of international interest in Arabic art and design. And how are things looking these days? Below are some interesting developments:
1- Led by Linotype’s example, leading international foundries are expanding their offerings to include Arabic, both in off-the-shelf fonts as well as custom work.
2- The annual TDC2 type design competition has had quite a lot of Arabic typeface winners over the last few years. No other non-Latin script has such a record: 2011 (3), 2010 (2), 2009 (0), 2008 (3), 2007 (2), 2006 (1)
3- The number of books published is ever increasing. The hottest to come out this year is Arabesque 2. Looking forward to see that one!
4- The MA course at Reading is featuring a steady flow of new Arabic type design projects. This is always exciting to see.
5- The number of student dissertations related to Arabic type design is increasing, or at least that’s what I can informally tell as I am getting swamped with requests for interviews and feedback.
And some other really exciting news:
1- Khtt foundation (which supports Arabic typography and type design research) has been chosen by Rolling Stone as one of the 20 designers to watch in the next decade.
2- London is launching Shubbak: A Window on Contemporary Arab Culture which is going to be a summer festival to celebrate Arab art and culture. The leading photo is a still from El Khoury’s “A Secret Encounter,” to screen at ICA London.