New bilingual Arabic latin font

The German font developer URW++, which is now part of Global Graphics, has announced a new bilingual Arabic-Latin language typeface. It’s an indication of how the middle eastern market is growing.

The new font, Boutros-URW Franklin Gothic Arabic, is based around URW’s existing Franklin Gothic. URW has worked with Boutros, a London-based font design company run by husband and wife team Mourad and Arlette Boutros that has specialised in Arabic fonts since 1966. Boutros has designed a companion Arabic font to go with Franklin Gothic.

Boutros-URW Franklin Gothic Arabic is designed for maximum legibility, especially at small point sizes. The spaces between characters and between leadings have been condensed, giving high “x” heights and wider white areas. This has made the new typeface especially suitable for setting body text in manuals, directories, dictionaries and the like.

Mourad Boutros explains: “We worked the Arabic font design around their Latin font and the result is a modern, aesthetically pleasing Arabic face available in four weights, light, book, medium and demi.”

Frank Steitiya of URW++ says that bilingual fonts need to be visually compatible, adding: “We took Boutros’ beautiful Arabic design and converted it into the OpenType/ TrueType Format. We’ve also written supporting technical documentation so that it can be implemented successfully by graphic designers. It is suitable for virtually all communications from headlines to body copy in all bilingual Arabic-Latin languages.”

Franklin Gothic was designed in 1902 by Morris Fuller Benton and named after Benjamin Franklin, one of the most prolific American printers.

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