Diodrum Arabic: ITF’s first typeface for the Arabic script

The Arabic companion to our popular Diodrum family and ITF's debut family in the Arabic script

Over the past seven years, we’ve published typefaces for eight scripts: Bengali, Devanagari, Gujarati, Gurmukhi, Latin, Malayalam, Tamil, and Telugu. This month, we are adding a ninth script to the list; we’re proud to release of our very first typeface for the Arabic script, Diodrum Arabic.

Diodrum Arabic is a low-contrast font family with six weights; the lightest of these is ExtraLight. The letterforms of the typeface are designed in a Naskh style. Since Naskh is the variety that is used most-often today for digital Arabic-language typesetting, we’ve named this family Diodrum ‘Arabic’. Nevertheless, the font family includes all of the glyphs necessary for Persian and Urdu language-support – Urdu is one of India’s many official languages. We hope that Diodrum Arabic will appear to users of the Arabic script all over the world, no matter what language they speak.

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As a script, Arabic typically places a stronger emphasis on the horizontal than the Latin script does. Since both the Arabic and the Latin letterforms in Diodrum are monolinear – neither their horizontal nor their vertical strokes exhibit much contrast with one another – Diodrum Arabic employs another method of increasing the prominence of horizontality: the letters’ counterforms have been designed to be large and open. Their ‘middle sections’ are therefore quite accentuated. Another result of this, coupled with the Latin’s tall x-height, is that Diodrum appears friendly and more legible, too.

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The Diodrum typeface is optimized for corporate identity work, editorial design, and UI/UX projects. Even if there is no serif in Arabic script, letterforms of Diodrum Arabic are designed to carry the same impression as its sans serif counterpart. Some of the ‘spurless’ nature behind Diodrum Latin has been carried over to Diodrum Arabic. Spurless typefaces feature smooth transitions from letters’ stems into their curved strokes – just look at Diodrum’s lowercase ‘n’. Finally, many of Diodrum’s strokes begin or end with lightly-sheared lines. These subtle angles add a trace of the calligrapher’s hand back into the generally-static language of sans serif types. The same may be said for the typeface’s Arabic-script dots, and other marks.

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Like so many of the Indian Type Foundry’s typefaces, Diodrum Arabic’s design was something of a group effort. The Arabic-script portion of each font’s character set was created by Bahman Eslami, an Iranian designer living in the Netherlands. The Latin-script glyphs were released as a stand-alone family last year, developed by three designers based in Paris: Jérémie Hornus, Clara Jullien, and Alisa Nowak. Eslami previously designed the award-winning Harir typeface for Typotheque; he graduated from the Royal Academy of Art (KABK) in The Hague, as part of the type]media class of 2014–15. Diodrum Arabic is his ITF debut.

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