DUBAI CLAIMS TO BE THE FIRST CITY IN THE WORLD TO HAVE ITS OWN CUSTOM FONT, WHILE AMMAN AND MANY OTHER CITIES HAVE ACHIEVED THAT AGES AGO!
I’ve been provoked yesterday by the recent news from Dubai, that Microsoft and Monotype have created a new custom font for Dubai!
The font itself was made good, thanks for Nadine Chahine’s work, but what annoyed me is the fake claims that were carried through media about being the “First city in the world to have its own font!”, and that is totally wrong! With just a few seconds of simple research; anyone could figure the correct information out regarding that issue.. Many cities around the world have got their own font, nothing new here. And even in the Arab world; Cairo has got a unique road signage font in the 80’s designed by Dr Fathi Gooda, which still used as the public transportation font in the city, also there is the famous LAKHDAR font in Morroco streets, a beautiful initiative by the late Ahmed Lakhdar-Ghazal back in the 60’s.
To be more specific about who is first and who’s not; I have to mention my city’s font: FF Amman. Which was designed by the German type designer Jan Gerner (AKA: Yanone) for Amman as his graduation project, in 2009! Yanone started and completed his design in Syntax, Ahmad Humeid and I have worked with Yannone closely as the Arabic type mentors to create the font, we gave it all of the possible rational thinking to make it harmonised with Amman character and nature, and also to speak in Amman’s bilingual voice to the whole world. The font came in 22 weights! It was the biggest Arabic font back then.
In 2010, Yanone and Syntax have facilitated a special public talk to present the font. A unique topic to be discussed for the first time with the Ammanies 🙂
And to build on that; we’ve selected the font to be the corporate typeface of the new identity that Syntax created for Amman Greater Municipality, as the first serious branding for an Arab capital. The font since then was being widely used in street signage, bus stations, and governmental buildings! Later, the font was more developed and being marketed by Fontshop.
I’m truly disappointed by the media coverage that was boomed yesterday, with a little bit of research and good intentions they could avoid such embracement. In the end, the font looks so neutral to me, and does not carry such vivid and dynamic identity as Dubai do..
What to expect from a ‘System’ font curated by Microsoft!