The Journal


Me and my friends visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art here in New York. We visited the Islamic section there. I remember that I saw few interesting letterforms and calligraphic styles, and they were a bit unusual to my eyes. 


So, after I did some readings yesterday, I thought I should take a break and go the the Met again. I went back to the Islamic section, and I found those interesting letterforms and inscriptions. They were inspirited textiles that all called Tiraz which comes from the Persian word for "embroidery." The one that were exhibited come from Iraq. I might use the letterforms as a base for the typeface I will be designing, but not very sure. I thought I should keep them in the journal anyways. 

Terms to learn


To be honest, I still get confused when I talk about typography. I am not 100% when do I have to use the term font or typeface. So, lets understand some basic terms: 

  1. Typography: the style and appearance of printed matter. Its the art or procedure of arranging type or processing data and printing from it.
  2. Type: a piece of metal with a raised letter or character on its upper surface, for use in letterpress printing. Its the pieces of metal used in letterpress printing collectively.
  3. Typeface: a particular design of type.
  4. Font: a set of type of one particular face and size.
  5. Script: a handwriting as distinct from print; written characters.
  6. Calligraphy: a decorative handwriting or handwritten lettering.
  7. Lettering: the letters inscribed on something, especially decorative ones.
  8. Font family: a complete collection of typefaces in different weights and classifications, but having the same point size ,and designed to work together.

The previous definitions were taken directly from google definitions more or less. I thought I should post this for now to keep it in mind. I might add a better definitions later on. 

When it comes to Arabic, I am not quite sure but I think typography is (الخط المطبوع) and calligraphy is (الخط المكتوب). I am thinking in Arabic, and translating it literally into English: typography is the printed font, and calligraphy is the written font. Please correct me if I am wrong!

A question I've always had in mind. Whats lettering in Arabic? is there a term in Arabic that is equivalent to lettering? or maybe not.



Here we go.. 

So, I declared my thesis on April 28, 2014. It is going to be a digital platform about Arabic type design. At some point, I thought that I trapped myself into this project. Why? because I never learned how to design an Arabic nor Latin typeface before. 

The very first thing I did is to enroll in Type@Cooper Condensed Program for the summer of 2014. My aim was to learn as much as possible about Latin type design as a first step. It was a five weeks program. It included many useful activities. There was a bit of history, museums and library visits, calligraphy and much more. Before starting the Condensed Program, I thought that my knowledge of type was average. I think I was mistaken. Its way below average.

Sketches and tracings for the final project - Type@Cooper 2014

Sketches and tracings for the final project - Type@Cooper 2014

Now that I've finished the program, I believe that it was a very good step. Its true that the program was intense, and I've spent a good amount of money on it, but its totally worth it. I will be sharing the main parts of the program with you sometime soon in another post.

After finishing the program, I took a break, I was an official tourist in NYC for a couple of weeks. Then, I went to Washington DC to attend TypeCon 2014. During the conference, I met with great deal of type experts, educators, professionals, and enthusiasts. I could not register in any of the workshops there, but the talk and the forums were awesome!

I was part of curator tour of A Thousand Years of the Persian Book which was one of the activities of the special events during the conference. There, I met J. R. Osborn, Ph. D. and we talked about my thesis project. Part of the discussing was about how to actually start learning to design Arabic type without having the time to attend a class/workshop. So, he suggested that I should start a blog/journal about the process, learn and post as I go.

So, I created this journal..