Arabic Font Specimen Book


Arabic Font Specimen Book is a great guide and resource that help the designer, scholar and  searcher to know what Arabic calligraphy has? what is the kind of typeface in arabic? How to use the font when you deal with arabic clients ?


This documentation about Arabic fonts which is why it is not always easy to find the design or production source of the fonts offered on the market and/or their technical specifications.


Overview :

The Arabic Font Specimen Book is the first guide about Arabic type available on the market. Unfortunately, there was little documentation about Arabic Typeface and fonts therefore, this guide is the best up to now.

The aim of this book is to provide adequate help in selecting Arabic fonts for use in all about print and media.

This book has more than one way to show Text fonts that depends on size and the format that corresponds with three applications : one sample in display size, one sample in an average text size, and one in a very small size used for captions or business forms.

Edo Smitshuijzen :


The Author is Edo Smitshuijzen (1944) studied graphic design at the IVKNO, now called the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam. Started as a freelance designer working for a large Dutch publishing house. Worked as design principal in many major and comprehensive corporate design and/or signage commissions for Dutch governmental bodies and multinational companies,like the Ministries of Justice, Economic Affairs, Transport and Water Management and many also.  Made a major contribution to shape the Dutch governmental perspective on (graphic) design – which is still surprisingly unparalleled in other countries. He is invented and developed a benchmark modular sign panel system (mss 0.5) which was produced under license in various countries around the world.  He is currently independent designer and design writer. His design textbook ‘Signage Design Manual’ was released in 2007 (Lars Müller Publishers) and will have a Korean version in 2009. His ‘Arabic Font Specimen Book’ was released in 2009  (Uitgeverij de Buitenkant).

I am asking  Edo Smitshuijzen some questions about his book “Arabic Font Specimen Book”

What is the story of “Arabic Font Specimen Book” ?

The story is simple. About 10 years ago, I helped Huda with making templates for showing Arabic fonts available on the market in a standardised way. Huda needed this fonts overview as educational aid for teaching Arabic typography in Dubai. The idea was that Huda in collaboration with her student would complete the task that I helped her starting. Seven years down the line I realised that this would never happen. I hate unfinished business, so I decided to make the overview on my own initiative. I have to admit that I became ambitious and got carried away a bit, resulting in a rather large publication.

What is the difference between ” Arabic Font Specimen Book” and others book that talks about typeface and typography ?

The Arabic Font Specimen Book is the first book that shows in a comprehensive way the fonts available in the Arabic script. No such book or other publication existed so professionals were unaware for the most part. For the rest, there are very few publications about Arabic typography, also in this void the book tries to provide basic professional information.

Is it for beginners or professional designer? why?

The book is aimed at serving both the professional designer, the student and all others interested in typography using the Arabic script. Why ? I believe that all these groups really need information to enhance their (professional) development in a situation where hardly any information is available. Arabic typography is in many ways still in its infancy, which makes it challenging and exciting.

AFSB Monotype collection.indd

After designer has finished of reading this book, what will happen? can he/she design a typeface for example ?

I guess few designers will read this book cover to cover, but my intention has been to inform students and professionals about technical, cultural and esthetic aspects of Arabic typedesign and typography. I’m sure that it may help them in their professional development. I also put a lot of information about typedesign for the Arabic script (with the help of others). It will certainly help them to start designing Arabic fonts. However, I feel there are still extra tools needed to make designing Arabic fonts much simpler.

Do you think a non-arabic designer can benefit from this book ?

That is curiously an interesting question because non-Arabic designers are actually interested in the Arabic script. They have been throughout the history of Arabic type design And some of them have played a quite important role. So yes, non-Arabic designers are very interested in this book. I have even been afraid that their interest would overshadow the interest of the native world using the Arabic script.

What is the relationship between Calligraphy, Typeface, Logo and Typography ?

Calligraphy is the traditional – hand produced – way to convey content. With the advent of industrial type production, the need for typography arose to do with the new tools what the calligraphers did before. Interestingly, a divide in two different skills came about: the typeface designer and the typographer. The two require different talents and skills and are rarely combined into one person. Calligraphy can be an important source of inspiration for both type designers and typographers and so can having the skill to draw letters yourself by hand. Manual manipulation remains a very natural source to create.

A logo (literally a word) is the name we give to an immense wide variety of graphic work. The only thing that binds them together is the purpose of serving as a graphic ‘symbol’ for an organisation or activity. Sometimes letters are used for logos, but not necessarily. The eye-catching ‘symbolic’ power of a logo is what counts, not its precise ‘meaning’, if any.

I guess it is important to note that there are three distinct activities in dealing with type: typography, lettering and type design. The typographer devises instructions needed to produce the content on a sheet (or a screen) or for a more or less large collection of those sheets or screens. Lettering is close to calligraphy where a specific word or a sentence is shaped specifically for that sentence. Calligraphers do this almost automatically also when they write large texts, but type designers or typographers do the same to create one special title.
Typedesign or making a font has the purpose of producing any text professionally without the need to having a calligrapher’s skill. To create a font is an activity that can in effect be very different. A font can be as simple as a canoe but also as complicated as an ocean liner. Making one or the other requires quite different skills, hardly any type designer can make a complicated font all alone.


I recommend this book as great book you can read about all Arabic Font.
For buy this book, visit the sites of Nijhof & Lee International Booksellers
For more information about the book read the article about it in Khtt foundation

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    4 Responses to “Arabic Font Specimen Book”

    1. TV Show says:

      I got a bookmark at this url but I can’t remember why ?? Did there be another site on this domain .? ~blog Lover

    2. Logo says:

      Interesting, I think that i will include this book into my studies.

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