This is my first “full” type design trial, but I have extensive experience in branding, design, Arabic typography, and calligraphy. Additionally, I have even more focus on Arabizing “Latin” brands and wordmarks.
Latin typefaces are far more evolved than their Arabic counterparts for many reasons. However, Arabic letters have more aesthetic value, which – in my opinion – makes them one of the most beautiful letterforms globally. Still, apparently, there is a clear lack of professional Arabic fonts, in addition to many mistakes in the design market that relate to Arabizing Latin type or wordmarks. There are many challenges that need to be overcome to enrich the content of the Arabic typeface library and to stay up to date.
Correctly Arabizing Latin type is one key step to absorbing the modernity of the “design-developed” Latin typefaces. It is then important to try to develop the Arabic type in its own right – and this is one means of overcoming the challenge. Another route could be to start the “bilingual” type concept from Arabic, and then build Latin letters based on that, Hence this will open wide opportunities for Arabic designers to create probably a new flavor to Latin types, especially those who have solid calligraphy experience, since their visual memory is intensively full of Arabic letters anatomy, and they might perceive the Latin letters from a new perspective.
I guess the ideal strategy for designing a bilingual type (Arabic- Latin) is to keep going back and forth between the two (Arabic-Latin), so they grow up simultaneously and match beautifully. This is a more challenging process and it is very nearly my design process in developing the Zamalka font.
Zamalka is initially a bilingual (Arabic-Latin) typeface, most probably extending to (Farsi). The Arabic font is Kufi-based and combines elegance, originality, strength, and modernity in its construction. The Latin font is a condensed sans-serif with crisp, straight cuts. The font has three weights (Light, Regular, and Bold), and it takes its name from a lovely place in Syria that is very dear to me.
One of the features of traditional Arabic letters is that some letters have an almond-like or leaf-like shape. To capture that, I have tilted some of the edges of the letterforms and closed shapes. These little angled lines that are incorporated throughout most of the letters are probably one of the things that give the Zamalka font a new touch or look. Having said that, the font still maintains straight, elegant, modern, and clean cuts at an overall level.
With little inspiration derived from a few Latin fonts, Zamalka Latin was actually built based on
the Arabic letterforms but used less of the slanted lines common to Arabic due to the nature of the Latin type used. Still, the match between the two worlds works quite well in terms of density, flow, attitude, and overall personality.
I believe that when the font is ready and published, graphic and brand designers will thoroughly enjoy using this type, as it is very suitable for bilingual typographic design and corporate brand visual communication.