Mathaf

A font for modern Arabic art

Culture

Pascal Zoghbi is a Lebanese type designer and typographer who has been involved in creating a range of new Arabic fonts. He has taught typography at Lebanese universities AUB, LAU and NDU, and been part of The Khatt Foundation‘s projects Typographic Matchmaking and Typographic Matchmaking in the City since 2006. He also runs the graphic writing blog 29letters, where this post originally was published.

Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art opened its doors to contemporary Arab art lovers in December 2010 in Doha, Qatar. The museum hosts exhibitions, programs and events that explore and celebrate art by Arab artists. It is an inspiring space for dialogue and scholarship about modern and contemporary art in the region and the Arab diaspora.

An ultra thin font lends Mathaf a contemporary corporate image. A strong tension materialises when the curvy pen strokes meet up with the sharp cuts and corners of the letters. A hybrid modern Kufi-Naskh Arabic letterforms complement an edgy lowercase Latin letters to present a unique bilingual Arabic–English type.

Wolf Olins NY are behind the whole corporate images for the museum. I was asked to create an Arabic/Latin font that they would incorporate in the whole corporate identity of the museum starting with the logotype and signage, and ending with publications, advertisements, website and promotional items.

The Arabic and English logotypes of the museum are created using the corporate Mathaf font with the “ ha’ ” in the Arabic logotype and the “a” in the English logotype replaced by hand doodle.

Standard and unique Latin ligatures were drawn in the font in order to make the Latin as mush as possible coherent with the Arabic. Latin ligatures with horizontal letter connections amplified the coherence between the Arabic and Latin script.

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