Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Making Faces

Recently, our UAE designer Dina Khorchid attended Studio 11's Making Faces Workshop - a one day Arabic type design workshop and lecture series, organized by grapheast type foundry and sponsored by Adobe. The workshop grouped together a number of speakers of different design disciplines who shared their knowledge in type design, Arabic calligraphy, dual language communication and software creation.

The day started with an inspiring talk by Mourad Boutros - co-founder of Boutros International. He presented a variety of case studies and shared his journey with design for the Arab world from the 1970's up to our present day.

Next, was a short hands-on experimental exercise in creating a single letter form from an unexpected starting point, instructed by Halim Choueiry - design educator and practitioner. Whoever thought leaves or fruit skin can inspire letters?! Everything is possible in the world of design. Here is a step by step of how Dina's letter 'noon' (N in Arabic) was originally a banana!

1. Black & white scan of organic objects (banana peel/leaf)

2. Extracting forms that resemble Arabic letters

3. Choosing 1 letter form and refining it using a grid

Later, an introductory session to a new font editor software 'Glyphs' - developed by type designers Georg Seifert and Rainer Erich Scheichelbauer, was introduced. Glyphs is an easy to use application which enables type designers to sculpt letter forms digitally and handles all the technical aspects of making a font work so that it can be published and used globally.

Sit back, relax and enjoy the show was a great way to end the day. With a film screening of 'Making Faces -  documentary screening of Metal Type in the 21st Century' A design documentary film by Richard Kegler, paying tribute to the late Canadian designer Jim Rimmer, and shedding light on his process and craftsmanship in creating metal and digital fonts.

One day is surely not enough to create a font, especially in Arabic where each letter needs 3 or 4 variations depending on where it sits in a word. However, being a part of this day was very inspiring, motivating and educational to say the least.

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