A quick walk in Cairo streets will immediately reveal the rich contrast in the city, in all different levels and meanings, you’ll see the records of ups and downs beside each other, and that is very important since it answers many things to me: What happened to the Arab world? And what would happen tomorrow? In which direction we are going? And most importantly, are we learning from this valuable narrative source?
I’ve passed beside these signs a few days ago, exactly on the 25th of January, my feelings were really disturbed! I stood up here before eight years, few months after the revolution, where the tents sill at the Tahrir square and every young person literally holding a stencil and spraying designs and messages! And now, I’m looking at this chunk of history, and reaching one conclusion:
Do not lose hope!
Dear Arabic type designer,
Kindly stop converting classical Arabic Calligraphic scripts into computer fonts, it wastes your time and hurt our eyes.
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!
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A true creative from Egypt, an Arab pioneer in Typography and Lettering arts, he is the one behind designing the contemporary font of Cairo road and transportation signage in the early 80’s! Which makes Cairo the first Arab city that owns a custom font for its streets.
You can learn more about Dr. Fathi by reading this rare article from 1982 that I’ve dug from the Jordanian Architect Bilal Hammad’s archive in 2013. (Arabic)
Dr. Fathi (In Arabic د. فتحي جودة) was born in 1935, and still until the moment working as a design professor in the faculty of applied arts in the Helwan University.
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After some excavations, I’ve found these beautiful typographical designs of the Safwat-el-Molk mausoleum’s dome, the mausoleum was removed and replaced by the Havana cafe building. It was built between 1110 and 1111 AD for the wife of the Seljuk ruler of Damascus.
Please enjoy looking at these superb and rare Damascene Seljuk Kufic samples.
Info and illustrations from: Ecochard, M. and Sauvaget, J. “Le Tombeau de Safwat al-Molk.” In Les Monuments Ayyoubides de Damas, 1-13. Paris: Editions Boccard, 1938.
The dome before demolishing.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم إن الله وملائكته
الذين آمنوا صلوا عليه وسلمو تسليما صدق الله العـ
الحمدلله على أفضاله —- على محمد وآله