CERTAINLY WHEN A CITY NEEDS BRANDING TO CREATE A MEMORABLE IDENTITY, HAVING ITS OWN FONT COULD BE ONE OF THE TOOLS NEEDED TO ACHIEVE THE TASK.
The use of a custom typeface for the branding project of a product or service is nothing new, for having a unique voice for communication plays a significant role in effectively building a brand’s identity and is just as important as having a logo, color scheme or consistent style for images. Certainly when a city needs branding to create a memorable identity, in addition to landmarks, economic potential and the ability to serve as a travel destination, having its own font could be one of the tools needed to achieve the task. If we were to compare the branding elements to the characteristics of a person, having a unique voice is not only just as important as physical appearance or the way he or she dresses, but it also reflects the attitude of the person.
When we first read the news about Dubai Font, we didn’t feel too excited by the idea of a city having its own font or the fact that the name of the city would be used to name the font because all of those things have been done before. What struck us about the news was, however, the origin of the font and how it was launched for Dubai Font was initiated by the governmental sector as a collaborative project with Monotype, the world-class typesetting and type design specialist and Microsoft. The typeface will be distributed to over 100 million users of Office 365 around the globe.
Nadine Chahine, the head of the design team said that one of the ongoing problems since the 1990s for graphic designers in Arabic-language speaking countries is finding a typeface with the overall characteristics that match with English alphabets as a good number of Arabic fonts are designed to correspond with existing Latin letters, leaving designers facing a great deal of limitations. Dubai Font, as a result, is materialized directly from the Arabic letters and followed by the development of Latin letters. The final outcome is a font that realizes great harmony between Latin and Arabic and is available for anyone to use for free on every platform, particularly with digital media as it’s included as one of Microsoft’s default fonts, which we’re pretty sure will lead to its widespread popularity in the future. All credit for this project goes to the governmental sector whose vision in positioning Dubai at the forefront of innovation development and having its own, wonderfully designed font goes hand in hand with the promotion of literacy and the declaration by the UAE of 2016 as the Year of Reading perfectly.
Looking back to several years ago at the campaign that promoted Bangkok as the world’s book capital and the launch of Krungthep font on macOS with the 80s’ Chicago font as its Latin letter, what kind of vision do you see? Now, that’s something to think about.
TEXT: WEE VIRAPORN