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AUS designers to establish new open source platform for Arabic typography
A brand-new series of Arabic typographical fonts created by students and faculty from the College of Architecture, Art and Design (CAAD) at American University of Sharjah (AUS) will soon be available for download by visitors to Dubai Design Week from November 8 to 13.
The designs are a foretaste of what to expect from a new open source platform, Huroof Central, which will focus exclusively on experimental Arabic typography. The creation of AUS faculty Hala Al-Ani and Riem Ibrahim, the platform aims to fill a major gap in current design curricula.
“Where pedagogies are largely focused on teaching Latin or English typography and layout design, this initiative infuses new blood into institutional design education by re-establishing the Arabic script as an integral part of a designer’s craft,” said Ibrahim.
Prior to the platform’s launch, new typographies presented by 15 CAAD student designers will be revealed at Dubai Design District in an exhibition entitled “Towards Huroof Central.” Visitors will be able to connect directly with the designers to gain access to the digital fonts and start applying them immediately.
AUS Assistant Professor of Visual Communication and award-winning designer Hala Al-Ani said the idea of establishing the platform—a kind of type foundry—is one that she has been working on for some time. The concept places Arabic fonts or letters—Huroof in Arabic—in a centralized online platform for designers to create, share ideas and promote Arabic typography to a broader audience.
“As Arabic typographers and graduates of CAAD, the opportunity to launch this initiative with our design students from CAAD is significant. We hope that in establishing this platform, students and other designers will be able to easily promote and sell their work and get it out into the world,” said Al-Ani.
The exhibited work was created in Al-Ani’s and Ibrahim’s Experimental Arabic Typography course in Spring 2020. Students in the course were asked to develop fully functional typefaces using Glyphs software in the span of six weeks.
“What is interesting is that many of the students in this course were not visual communication majors, but were students of architecture, design management and multimedia design who threw themselves into the experimental nature of typographical design. The results are very impressive, and I think users will really enjoy applying these new fonts,” Ibrahim said.
“Towards Huroof Central” will be open to the public at Dubai Design District (D3), Building 3, RO6 from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. throughout Dubai Design Week. Entry is free of charge.
The students’ typographic designs can also be viewed on the AUS website at www.aus.edu/caad/department-of-art-and-design/gallery.