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.
“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.”
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
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.