Typographic matchmaking in the city

Typographic Matchmaking in the City

I felt that contemporary cities needed to bring back that approach to lettering and maybe to take this a step further to respond to the communication needs in multicultural urban environments.


Typographic Matchmaking in the City Public Presentation

It seemed the right moment to create a design research project that attempts to propose a thoughtful point of view for future urban environments and cities that we will feel safe and comfortable living in. Which were the main obstacles you had to overcome? There were challenges rather than obstacles. The second challenge was to create the same visual language for two scripts that are structurally very different, but what helped in this project is that we started fresh designing the Latin and Arabic letters at the same time, keeping a very open mind and not worrying too much about conventions of readability because the typefaces needed first and foremost to be monumental and expressive for them to set themselves as much as possible apart from the usual Branding that covers all cities nowadays.

The third challenge was how to design typefaces or lettering that enhance placemaking in an already visually congested urban public space. The commitment of the participants was crucial in overcoming all the challenges and the end results I am relieved to say are actually highly innovative and unique. How did you chose the artists, designers and architects involved?

Typographic Matchmaking in the City - Khatt Foundation

I had the scope of the project in mind, and then I started researching which designers in the Netherlands and the Arab World could be appropriate to this design problem. I often choose people based on the work they have produced and their approach to the design problem at hand. The second step is to create the groups matching the graphic designers one Dutch and one Arab with an architect or industrial designer. This team building we did in the first workshop and introductory meeting of the project, people actually had choices and I was allowed to have the final say since I knew each designer better than they knew each other.

Multicultural markings

I always follow my instincts and I am always prepared to accept that there will be some mismatches or conflicts that need to be negotiated and amended along the way and as the project develops. Two years is a long period to work on the same project with the same group of people, but you need that time to really develop a worthwhile project and results.


Which effect do you hope the project to achieve? I hope that it will create a more conscious awareness of the power of the written word and specially in our direct living environment. I hope that some of these propositions will be built, or will inspire other designers graphic-, environmental-, industrial-, or urban designers, and architects to use our research, our lettering systems to create site specific projects in their own cities and projects.

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  5. Propositions for a Pluralist Public Space.

People can us the typefaces we have created as a starting point for other new designs and design applications. Typography is simply raw material you can give it many shapes and meanings and so we hope that other designers will be inspired by this project to write new narratives poetic, political What is your personal background and relation to architecture and typography?

Typographic Matchmaking in the City

My relation to typography comes from my training as a graphic designer, and my having to struggle as a practitioner and design educator working in the Middle East since I have published books on the topic of Arabic typography, and written papers and articles about this topic since My first book Arabic Typography was the beginning of my research direction and has had quite an impact because it was the first comprehensive book on the topic. The outcome of the teams already looks like experimental typefaces and will offer interesting experiences immersing the viewer in the letter world.

The end-result and the exhibition space should push boundaries of written letters to the dimensions of time, interactivity and customization. It is challenging and exciting to work with designers to whom Arabic script is a foreign experience. Matching both scripts as the design progresses requires a lot of give-and-take. Projected dates for the project completion are set for the coming year.

huda smitshuijzen abifarès: interview / typographic matchmaking in the city

The project aims to create expressive type designs and applications, translating culturally-relevant messages or gestures into concrete design products lettering systems and 3D prototypes. This entry was posted on October 22, at You can subscribe via RSS 2. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Email Address never made public.

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