29Letters is a type and design studio handling multilingual typographic projects and specializing in contemporary Arabic type.
At 29LT, we treat custom type projects as part of a whole branding or corporate identity project. We partner with our clients, either directly with the end client or via a branding agency, to deliver high-end typographic work that best expresses their identity and style in both print and new media.
Mathaf, Arab Museum of Modern Art, opened its doors to contemporary Arab art lovers in December 2010 in Doha, Qatar. The museum hosts exhibitions and events that explore and celebrate Arab artists. It is an inspiring space for dialogue and scholarship of modern and contemporary art in the region and among Arab diaspora.
An ultra-thin font lends Mathaf a contemporary image. A strong tension exists when the curvy pen strokes meet with sharp cuts and corners of the letters. A hybrid modern Kufi-Naskh Arabic letterforms complement edgy lowercase Latin letters to present a unique bilingual Arabic–English type.
Wolf Olins NY is behind the comprehensive corporate image of the museum. Pascal Zoghbi was asked to create an Arabic/Latin font that they will use to enhance the identity of the museum, starting with the logotype, signage, publications, advertisings, website, and promotional items.
The Arabic and Latin letters match perfectly together. The font has a unique set of ligatures not found in standard fonts, giving the typeface a unique characteristic.
Balenciaga Arabic logo echoes the visual identity of Balenciaga international wordmark. The logotype was designed by Pascal Zoghbi in collaboration with Balenciaga graphic design team. Several typographic Arabic styles and design concepts were drawn and tested to ensure the perfect match. The final outlines of the logotype lend a robust and contemporary look to the brand while preserving a neutral and universal character.
Client: Dubai Government, UAE.
Expo typeface is a bilingual Arabic and English set of fonts created by Dino dos Santos from DSType and Pascal Zoghbi. The Latin character set is designed by dos Santos while Zoghbi designed the Arabic. It is a contemporary typeface drawn with extreme refinement in seven weights (Thin, Light, Book, Medium, SemiBold, Bold and Black) answering the corporate identity of the event. A modern-day sans serif Latin and a simplified Neo-Naskh Arabic were drawn to echo the theme of the Expo: “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”. A clear and open design approach of both scripts lends the fonts a feel of vibrancy and openness that speaks well to the anticipated 25 million cultural, business and corporate visitors to the event as well as the hundreds of businesses participating in the Expo.
The world Expo in Dubai aims to gather the global community in order to forge new partnerships and find solutions for cultural and business topics, ultimately leaving behind a strong transformative social and economic legacy across the Arab region and the world. The echoing design of both the Latin and the Arabic letter-forms aims to reflect this global partnership.
It is a type family created with maximum legibility and ease of usability mindset. The letterforms were drawn in a certain composition representing neutrality while retaining its connection to calligraphy. It is a humanistic typeface in searching for the essence of the Arabic and Latin typographic structures.
A number of elements bring both Arabic and Latin scripts together: the design approach, open counters, proportions, terminals and finials, weight and contrast. Both scripts were created in synergy and were inspired by each other simultaneously. Both dos Santos and Zoghbi didn’t want to sacrifice the value or aesthetics of one script to the other, hence they approached the same design brief of an adequate typeface from the different aspects of the Arabic and Latin scripts.
Client: Dubai Municipality, UAE.
The RTA Dubai bespoke multilingual typeface is composed of a distinct contemporary Naskh style Arabic accompanied by a humanistic and symmetric Sans Serif Latin. It is a font family that was created with unique design characteristics while putting legibility first. The typeface was designed to function perfectly in all transportation systems and communication mediums of RTA Dubai. With its open spirit and clear outlines, the typeface is easy to spot and read on road signs and all kinds of transportation vehicles. It is also unique and fully legible on RTA website, RTA application and on all of RTA social media platforms.
The typeface purpose is to give a modern feel and look to RTA’s signage and visual communication systems. It truthfully reflects the highest tech transportation platforms that are being made available to Dubai commuters nowadays. RTA Dubai covers: Dubai Metro, Dubai Tram, Dubai Bus, Dubai Taxi, Dubai Water Bus, Dubai Car, Dubai Water Taxi, Dubai Ferry, and Dubai Abra.
The type family is composed of 4 weights (Light, Regular, Bold & Black) covering both Arabic and English languages. It contains an extended set of ligatures to strengthen readability. Pascal Zoghbi, from 29LT, designed the Arabic and Swiss Typefaces crafted the Latin. The project was set in collaboration with the branding agency Wolff Olins that was behind the creation of the new brand identity of RTA Dubai.
MIA type is a contemporary, bilingual Arabic and Latin type-family based on the Eastern Kufic calligraphic style drawn in four weights: Light, Regular, Bold, and Black.
The Museum of Islamic Art building is one of the most iconic landmarks in Doha. The renowned architect, I.M Pei, designed the museum with clear inspiration from Islamic architecture. He wanted to find the essence of Islamic architecture and to uncover its pure forms. The central courtyard of Ahmad Ibn Tulun mosque in Cairo and Monastir Fort in Tunisia were some of the structures that represented for him the purity and spirit of Islamic architecture.
When the time came to work on the corporate type for the museum contracted by the Qatar Museum Authority (QMA), I partnered with Landor Dubai, since they were handling the overall redesign of the branding. Their design brief was based on the idea of “The Cube; The House of Wisdom; The House of Art & Culture”. The cube perspective structure, which is inspired from the architecture of the building, became the base unit for the creation of a contemporary arabesque grid that in turn became the concealed structure for the whole new corporate identity of the museum including the custom typeface.
Inspired from I.M Pei’s research on the essence of Islamic architecture, I took on the challenge of finding the essence of Arabic calligraphy. I undertook extended research on Archaic Kufic and Eastern Kufic since the Kufic script is the essence of Arabic calligraphy. Arabic calligraphy books focusing on manuscript analysis and studies like “Splendors of the Quran Calligraphy & illumination” by Martin Ling and “Ink and Gold: Islamic Calligraphy” by Fraser & Kwiatkowski were the start of my extensive research for the unique Arabic letterforms. Manuscript images compiled from photographs I took in museums around the world in the past years alongside web image databases became valuable sources for the inspiration and sketching phases.
After an analytical study of the manuscripts, I produced a matrix documenting the different letter shapes of each of the 29 Arabic letters. I made several drawings for each glyph in order to find the proper solution for the design problematic. The glyphs had to be developed based on the aforementioned grid, have unique postures, and stay legible and easily recognizable for fast reading. The contrast between the light and shadows in the museum building is transformed into the contrast between the thick and thin pen strokes found in the letters. The heavy letters’ heads, loops, and bowls were contrasted with the type’s ultra-thin finials and terminals.
Since the Light and Regular weights were going to be set mostly for running text, we decided to keep them mono-linear in order to preserve legibility. The typeface already has unorthodox letterforms, which are not very familiar to the standard reader, and adding slight contrast to the Light weights would have hindered the reading experience even further.
The Bold and Black on the other hand have extreme contrast between the thin and thick strokes since they will be used primarily for display setting and in large sizes. The contrast in the heavy weights gives the font an elegant serious feel, bringing it closer to the traditional Eastern Kufic style.
The Arabic and Latin glyphs were drawn simultaneously to ensure the design concept and grid structure worked properly in both scripts.
Nada Debs Arabic font is a simplified Kufi font with high contrast between vertical and horizontal pen strokes. It mixes the calligraphic tradition of Kanji and Arabic calligraphy in a contemporary geometric design, and in this sense is a true signature of Nada Debs.
Nada Debs design studio is a modern interior and industrial design house focusing on eastern patterns and geometry in their furniture and spaces. The font is inspired directly by the diamond-shaped Arabic dot as well as the geometric Kufi script. Both elements refer directly to arabesque and eastern patterns.
The structure of the type allows easy implementation in eastern furniture. The letters can be carved into wood structures or embedded into cement. The font reflects the identity of Nada Debs’ furniture, elegant and modern while at the same time based on the eastern arts.
We use the latest type design tools and technology to create contemporary multilingual fonts. Our design experience matched with our technical knowledge ensures up to date typographic solutions for original typefaces.
Bespoke Type Design
We design bespoke typefaces as part of branding identities for esteemed clients. We create fonts in the appropriate design language and style to reinforce a certain visual identity and to give a powerful typographic tool to the brand.
We can tailor a selected font of our retail 29LT fonts catalog and custom fit it to your specific brand needs.
We design type families with an array of weights covering the needs of all your typographic applications in your brand. We can also create dynamic variable fonts with multiple axes to answer your design brief.
We develop fonts covering the required number of scripts and languages needed for your brand to communicate with all of your target audiences.
Type Design Consultancy
We consult clients and agencies on Arabic typography. We also offer training and workshops on Arabic typography at corporate conferences, universities, and other educational projects.
We ensure that our fonts work on different applications and platforms such as Android, Mac, and Windows.
Our fonts can be used on cross platforms and mediums like print, web, and mobile applications.