or the longest time, the Arabic script was considered too intricate, too rich in history and too rooted in tradition to leave much room for playfulness, save for a few exceptional cases of individual lettering. And even though there has been been plenty of aesthetic innovation in Arabic type design since the advent of modern font development software, most of it has, almost embarrassingly, been brewed within corporate goals — where trying to fit alongside global counterparts only ends up compromising true form and dispensing with the many possibilities of a wonderful script.

Having been in such a tame-it-all position on multiple occasions, we thought it would be pretty good fun to instead take the road less travelled in contemporary Arabic type design. So here is Qasida, our second collaboration with Kourosh Beigpour. This is a font that doesn’t do compromise. It is wild, happy, and knows it all too well.

The basic idea of Qasida was to make a font that really looks like the kind of casual, pleasant, attention-grabbing one-off Arabic nib lettering one would see on a classic play bill in Cairo, a magazine in Abu Dhabi, a cartoon in Marrakesh, a kids’ book cover in Tehran, a comic book in Beirut, a toy package in Koweit or a shawarma shack sign in Amman. The design took on its own life from there, with the tool dictating the connectivity and loopy ornamentation. The inside of an Arabic lettering artist’s head is a wondrous and creative place.

And we’re very pleased with the results. This font has enough appeal to invert the global pairing question. One asks which Latin face plays well with Qasida, instead of the other way around. The expert answer to that is any fat face or script with pronouncedly thick thicks and thin thins. Try it alongside Memoriam, Normandia, Quirkwood or Ratio Modern Extra Bold.

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From $30 USD