ATypI 2016: “A Typographic Maghribi Trialogue” lecture (Warsaw) standard

Few days after the presentation in Amsterdam Kristyan Sarkis, Laura Meseguer and myself came to the ATypI conference in Warsaw to talk about our experience designing Qandus, one of the type families developed during the Typographic Matchmaking in the Maghrib project. We called the talk “A Typographic Maghribi Trialogue” as a way to underline the intense and continuous exchange among the three cultures and writing traditions –Arabic, Latin and Tifinagh– that this project has called for, but also to recall the necessary respect for each one’s peculiarities and specific features. In my view, our’s was one of the projects that best matched the theme of the conference: convergence. Maybe because few people knew about the astonishing work of the Moroccan calligrapher Al-Qandusi —on which the core concept ...

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Typographic Matchmaking in the Maghrib IV (Amsterdam) standard

Amsterdam was our last stage in the Typographic Matchmaking in the Maghrib project. Four intense days were the final sprint that eventually resulted in the presentation of the whole project in the FramerFramed space on the 10th of September. It was a time for fine tuning, giving and taking feedback from every member of the teams and also to exchange our ideas about our work, research and design processes. The images below show some instances of the three typefaces in use. Qandus, Tubqal and Elixir have diverse personalities and each one solves the issue of harmonizing the three scripts –Latin, Arabic and Tifinagh— in a distinctive way. I was lucky enough to be part of two teams –Tubqal and Qandus—, so I had the chance to be involved in two projects ...

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Tifinagh typography workshop at the IRCAM (Rabat) standard

It was a delightful feeling to go back to the IRCAM (The Royal Institute for the Amazigh Culture) to give this workshop about Tifinagh type design with Brahim Boucheikha. I still remember my research trip to Morocco in 2014, when I was working on my dissertation, and how I was welcomed and helped at the IRCAM. This time, I was really pleased to give back my knowledge about typography to five enthusiastic Moroccan students. The workshop took place from July 18th to 22nd. After an intense week we were able to present a bunch of new projects that will certainly enrich the typographic scene of the Tifinagh when they are eventually completed. The projects aim to cover different needs according to the briefs they choose. This year the ...

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Talk on Tifinagh at the 7CIT (Valencia) standard

I was very pleased to talk about the Tifinagh script in the 7th International Conference of Typography in Valencia. This time the focus was in its cultural, social and political aspects. The standardization of the Amazigh language implied the choice of a script to write it. The election of the Tifinagh rather than the Arabic and the Latin was a controversial issue which, to some extent, remains nowadays. It illustrates visibly the political implications of a writing system in multilingual/multicultural environments. Other issues like the need to adapt an ancient alphabet to the new technologies, but above all, to the needs of a mostly Tifinagh-illiterate population in order to facilitate the learning and the use of the script in common life raised interesting ...

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Typographic Matchmaking in the Maghrib III
(Montalba-le-Château) standard

Montalba-le-Château welcomed us with a warm and sunny weather. The castle looked like the right place to isolate ourselves from any distraction and to focus in our porjects. This has been probably the most intense and productive of our workshops. Four days of hard work resulted in the consolidation of the three projects, which was the main goal of this meeting. There is still a lot of work ahead but the main guidelines of our projects are already set. Qandus, Tubqal and Al-Zahra, the three type families, have completely different approaches and are devised for different purposes. Qandus is a display font based in the work of the Moroccan calligrapher Al-Qandusi. Tubqal is a rational sans for long texts based on the mabsut ...

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Typographic Matchmaking in the Maghrib II (Granada-Córdoba) standard

I think it is high time I updated the information about this wonderful and inspiring typographic experience. Since our first workshop in Marrakech last September, we have met two more times in Granada/Córdoba –in December— and recently in Montalba-le-Château, France. Our work in Granada and Cordoba was still rather exploratory. The main guidelines seemed to be defined but there was still the challenge of translating the findings and proposals of each alphabet into the the others while keeping each one’s specificity. During this second workshop we spent a whole day visiting La Alhambra. With the help of renown professor of Islamic art José Miguel Puerta Vílchez we were absolutely delighted to discover the stunning omnipresence and integration of calligraphy and lettering in the architecture: words ...

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