As the world comes together, western companies are branching out into new markets to expand brand recognition and sell their products. In that respect, designers are asked to create matching campaigns in various languages which are aesthetically appealing, culturally appropriate and typographically correct. Arabic though, being one of the hardest languages to learn, has been a major obstacle for western designers.
Cultural Connectives is an essential introduction to written Arabic and an invaluable resource to typographers and designers. Author Rana Abou Rjeily presents Arabic from a new perspective by comparing and contrasting the essential elements of Arabic and Latin scripts. This book makes written Arabic accessible to those in particular who do not speak Arabic.
Cultural Connectives will help you understand the basic characteristics of the Arabic script and alphabet by comparing it to Latin. Presented in a plain and understandable manner, this book will help you avoid common mistakes and get a grasp of how the written language works.
Rjeily explains the language by applying Arabic rules of writing, grammar, and pronunciation to English. She starts the book by presenting the Arabic writing system and its various letterforms. Then she moves on to illustrate Arabic’s lack of separate vowel forms with a page of English text that has all the vowels removed and raised above the words. In following chapters she explains quite successfully the use of Arabic diacritical marks by applying them to latin words and presents ways to memorize the alphabet.
Finally Rheily illustrates the Arabic letterforms in detail by developing a matching Arabic version of her font Mirsaal. The Arabic and latin Mirsaal share the same stroke width, thick-to-thin variations and open counters in order to achieve balance and harmony.
In conclusion, Cultural Connectives is an interesting and innovative book which attempts to bring together the typographic styles of the Arabic and Latin alphabet.
About the author
Rana Abou Rjeily is a graphic designer living and working in Lebanon. She received her master’s degree in Visual Communication from Central Saint Martins, London, where she started designing Misraal as part of her thesis, drawing inspiration from her personal experience learning Arabic, her native language. Since 2007 she has taught typography and design at universities in Lebanon.