Qandus, a triscript typeface family
Qandus, a triscript typeface family
Qandus, a triscript typeface family
Qandus, a triscript typeface family
Qandus, a triscript typeface family

A Typographic Maghribi Trialogue

This multiscript typeface system aims at exploring a conceptual relationship between 3 different writing systems: Arabic, Latin and Tifinagh rather than a purely visual one. It started off as an homage to the work of the brilliant calligrapher Al-Qasim al-Qandusi (d. 1861)—known as the creator of an exquisite, albeit unusual calligraphic script seen throughout the Maghrib—and expanded into being a study of the unique combinations of Arabic constructions in the Maghribi calligraphic style, and how to dissiminate this feature of duality of forms into the other two scripts.
A Typographic Maghribi Trialogue
This multiscript typeface system aims at exploring a conceptual relationship between 3 different writing systems: Arabic, Latin and Tifinagh rather than a purely visual one. It started off as an homage to the work of the brilliant calligrapher Al-Qasim al-Qandusi (d. 1861)—known as the creator of an exquisite, albeit unusual calligraphic script seen throughout the Maghrib—and expanded into being a study of the unique combinations of Arabic constructions in the Maghribi calligraphic style, and how to dissiminate this feature of duality of forms into the other two scripts.
A Typographic Maghribi Trialogue 
This multiscript typeface system aims at exploring a conceptual relationship between 3 different writing systems: Arabic, Latin and Tifinagh rather than a purely visual one. It started off as an homage to the work of the brilliant calligrapher Al-Qasim al-Qandusi (d. 1861)—known as the creator of an exquisite, albeit unusual calligraphic script seen throughout the Maghrib—and expanded into being a study of the unique combinations of Arabic constructions in the Maghribi calligraphic style, and how to dissiminate this feature of duality of forms into the other two scripts.
The Arabic as the starting point
Based on the work of the calligrapher Al-Qandusi, we extracted 3 different textures. His work is specifically unique because he used wider pens to write this style, normally almost scrictly written in a thin pen. With each pen thickness the duality of solid and fluid forms take a different expression. The concept is to design 3 styles that go beyond the difference in weight and highlight the mixture of solid and fluid forms differently depending on the intended texture, overall character and available space.
LM_Qandus03_arabic
From Regular to Dark, basic skeletons change as well as the contrast and drawing/writing ratio in the structure of the letterforms. They all involve mixing solid and fluid constructions, highly stylised letterforms, rotations in the pen, sudden changes of contrast, but in different degrees. The Regular is the most humble with variations that are not too drastic. The Medium is the most peculiar in terms of contrast, with excess in rotations and thick/thin ratio, and is more drawn than the Regular while the latter is more written. The Dark is the one that involves drawing the most with a highly stylised interpretation of the calligrapher's work and of the Maghribi style in general.
LM_Qandus04_arabic
LM_Qandus055_arabic
Above are some of the key characteristics of this type system.
Vertical connections, stacking letters, swashes, specific connections, ligatures, contextual alternates,
elongated letterforms, unorthodox connections to name a few.
The Design Concept of the Latin
The biggest challenge for the design of the Latin was to create three different weights that could ‘communicate’ with the Arabic and the Tifinagh in a contemporary design context, but paying tribute to our referent, the Arabic calligraphy manuscripts, matching their spirit, energy and grace, but also to the own script. The starting point was a deep analysis of the construction of this specific sample of Maghribi writing, and the definition of how to reproduce that in a Latin Alphabet:
• Exploration of the reversed horizontal stress based on rotation.
• Definition of how to fluid and how solid it should be.
• Marking the limits between calligraphy and drawing.
• Built as a semicursive, kind of an upright italic, with some reminiscents of the calligraphic ductus in the serifs.

LM_Qandus06_latin
This exploration was complemented with the research on Latin printing types and manuscripts that could share some of the most relevant features of the Arabic calligraphy: the rotation of the pen.
The historical references are:
• For the Regular: The XVII century Manierist calligraphy examples, where the contrast of the stroke is the result not only of changes in the direction of the stroke, but also in the orientation.
• For the Medium: Ancient examples of gothic and ornamental types, because of their innovative solutions based on calligraphy, with added drawing but structured as our arabic calligraphy referent. Some letters are experimentally ornamented (‘E’ 'T' ‘k’).
• For the Regular and the Dark: The Civilité types designed by Robert Granjon as a French response to the Italian italic. There I found responses for the rotation feature, for both, the regular and the dark as seen in the closed counters ( ‘a’, ‘y’) the curly tails of the descenders.
The terminals, the linear counters, and the amount of contrast are shared features all over the three scripts. The ligatures for the Dark are based on the stacked letters as a wink to Arabic.
LM_Qandus07_latin
LM_Qandus08_latin
The design concept of the Tifinagh 
Tifinagh is an ancient script used to write the Amazigh (Berber) languages in several countries of the North of Africa. It has survived a long period of displacement by foreign scripts, namely Arabic and Latin. Therefore, its use has been scarce over the centuries, although it is undergoing a significant growth and governments promotion in past decades.
The most outstanding consequence of this historical context is the lack of models other than inscriptions engraved, scratched or painted on stones in remote areas. There is not a calligraphic tradition in Tifinagh. Actually there are no known manuscripts using this script, so the modern digital fonts designed so far sought for inspiration in the geometric shapes of those inscriptions.
This state of affairs gives rise to a whole set of challenges when it comes to approach a multi-script project in which Tifinagh has to match the Arabic and Latin scripts. Their utterly different nature, history and tradition makes this matching a complex enterprise in which multiple factors need to be considered. Moreover, the fact that the three weights present diverse approaches, goals and features, posses an added challenge to the project. 
LM_Qandus11_tifinagh
The concept of the project (detailed before) proposes a dialogue between kufic/solid/geometric influences and more gestural/organic/fluid writing styles in Arabic calligraphy. In order to follow this scheme while keeping faithful to the tradition of the Tifinagh script, the "solid" extreme of the system is based on the engraved geometric letterforms, whereas the "fluid" one is modelled on the most common instance of handwriting among Tuaregs: writing on sand. These two extremes are then differently combined in the three weights according to their specific purposes, while keeping an eye on the other two scripts. The lack of historical models implied a high level of freedom, but it also made assessing every character even harder.
The result is a complex interplay that seeks for a subtle balance of all the factors involved. The image below shows the main features of the design and how this interplay was achieved.
LM_Qandus09_tifinagh
LM_Qandus10_tifinagh
The Qandus multiscript typeface family was developed within the framework of the Khatt  Foundation's type design research project: Typographic Matchmaking in the Maghrib (2015—2017), which curator is Huda Smitshuijzen AbiFarès. The designers are: Laura Meseguer (Latin typeface), Kristyan Sarkis (Arabic typeface), and Juan Luis Blanco (Tifinagh typeface). 

The Qandus Multiscript Typeface Family won the TDC 2 2017 Award For Excellence in Typeface Design, and it was the judge's choice of Alice Savoie:
"This collaborative work is an ambitious and lively attempt at developing
 a typeface family covering three writing systems: Arabic (following the 
Maghribi calligraphic style), Tifinagh, and Latin. Although these three 
scripts feature very different structures and rhythm, the designers 
managed to inject a homogeneous feel to the family, while preserving 
each script’s specificities and their respective identities. […] The progression from one weight to another is also remarkable: the text version leans toward a warm yet more restrained and functional design, while the darker weight is flamboyant and immediately recognizable. Achieving all this requires great mastery, and the result is a generous and highly recognizable design that is a pleasure for the eye."

In the future, an expanded version of Qandus will be released by TPTQ Arabic and Type-Ø-Tones 

 

 

 

The Qandus multiscript typeface family was developed within the framework of the Khatt  Foundation's type design research project: Typographic Matchmaking in the Maghrib (2015—2017), which curator is Huda Smitshuijzen AbiFarès. The designers are: Laura Meseguer (Latin typeface), Kristyan Sarkis (Arabic typeface), and Juan Luis Blanco (Tifinagh typeface). 

The Qandus Multiscript Typeface Family won the TDC 2 2017 Award For Excellence in Typeface Design, and it was the judge's choice of Alice Savoie:
"This collaborative work is an ambitious and lively attempt at developing
 a typeface family covering three writing systems: Arabic (following the 
Maghribi calligraphic style), Tifinagh, and Latin. Although these three 
scripts feature very different structures and rhythm, the designers 
managed to inject a homogeneous feel to the family, while preserving 
each script’s specificities and their respective identities. […] The progression from one weight to another is also remarkable: the text version leans toward a warm yet more restrained and functional design, while the darker weight is flamboyant and immediately recognizable. Achieving all this requires great mastery, and the result is a generous and highly recognizable design that is a pleasure for the eye."
In the future, an expanded version of Qandus will be released by TPTQ Arabic and Type-Ø-Tones  
© 2005-2018 Laura Meseguer
Custom Lettering and Type Design 


© 2005-2018 Laura Meseguer
Custom Lettering and Type Design 


© 2005-2018 Laura Meseguer
Custom Lettering and Type Design 


Drop me a line!
mail@laurameseguer.com

Drop me a line!
mail@laurameseguer.com

Drop me a line!
mail@laurameseguer.com