Madinati is a text type family of 7 weights, going from Regular to Black and an Italic. It was conceived with Megaphone News in mind; a Lebanese news platform that aims to provide the unfiltered and least biased truth to the people, news that nonetheless stems from anger and a daily struggle. The concept was also heavily inspired by Nadine Chahine’s TPTalk about Design and Politics. The word ‘madinati’ in Arabic translates to ‘my city’. The word was also associated with secular political parties in Lebanon during the parliament elections. It now conveys ideas of change, truth and hope.
My typeface takes inspiration from the calligraphic features of Arabic Naskh and feeds it to the forms of Roman letters. I tried bringing back a fluidity and human aspect that Roman letters now lack, and that Arabic Naskh contains so powerfully. After studying the Naskh script, the angle of the pen, the slant, the way the strokes connect, the angular counter-forms, the pressure and dynamism of the pen; I ventured into calligraphic trials to try and bring these features into my Latin.
Madinati Regular is a horizontal contrast serif typeface with angular connections and asymmetric serifs. With it, I pushed these features to the extreme, which created an unusual text typeface with a lot of character. And in an attempt to tone it back down, and try to bring it closer to a ’news fitted’ typeface, I created a Black version. Madinati Black is a vertical contrast serif typeface that shifts to the other extreme of the design space, allowing for interesting interpolated weights where the horizontal contrast and calligraphic features slowly shift from extreme to extreme.
Madinati Italic is a black-slanted italic, also inspired by the slant of the Arabic Naskh.
Ultimately, the typeface would become a variable font with variable features going from thin to black, and from horizontal to vertical contrast, so that designers can pick the level of loud vs seriousness they aim for.
The process of this font was very challenging specially since it was the first Latin font I design. Not having any accurate references to look at and taking this as a an experimentation has been both a struggle and a revelation. Thanks to all the awesome instructors including Jean François, Mathieu, Marc, Malou, Julie and Gina as well as guest critic Nadine Chahine, I navigated through the process while staying on brief as much as possible. I was able to push my exploration to the extreme and learn how to bring it back to where I wanted it to be for my brief and it all felt very satisfying.
Thank you to all the instructors and attendees for making this entire experience the most memorable.
The 6-week type design programme that you’ve been waiting for starts on 6 June and ends 13 July 2023.
Our summer programme is in English and covers typeface design and calligraphy techniques, type history, and software practices. Every kind of design professional can learn about type design in a relatively short amount of time.