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Typography in Arabic

When I was a Freshman at Mason, I took my first Arabic class., and I fell in love with the highly complicated, ornate language. Such a beautiful written language, I started to incorporate it into my art, mostly drawing at that time.
When I was a Sophomore, I took my first design class, Typography, and I thus began my obsession with type.I explored the incredible depth that the world of typography has to offer, and I found the possibilities were endless– for latin characters that is.
Sadly, Arabic does not share the same reality, at least until now.
I’m not the only one who wishes there was more to the world of Arabic typography, as Peter Bil’ak, founder of Dutch type foundry Typotheque, has sought out to fix this dilemma. Bil’ak has developed a new Arabic typeface, Greta, a system of 39 different styles that come in four widths and ten weights, from a very compressed hairline width to extra bold.

Some examples of Greta in different weights

His hope is to bring Arabic out of the typographic stone age, providing more expressive, artistic versions of the beautiful language. There are over 200,000 latin typefaces, while theres only 108 Arabic ones, which means Arabic is about 200 years behind Latin in the world of type. Bil’ak has solved the technological struggles behind digitizing this exceptionally complicated language, so now its just a matter of time and ingenuity before we see some new typefaces on the market!