FF DIN Arabic
written 1 year ago

I’ve been waiting for this day for a very long time now, and I’m extra happy, excited, and proud to present you with the results of what I would call my dream type design project: The Arabic counterpart to the popular FF DIN designed by Albert-Jan Pool.
FF DIN can easily be called one of the world’s most popular contemporary typefaces. It is a remake of the DIN 1451 that we as Germans see on our road signs and public signage day in, day out.

Some time towards the end of 2013 I got approached by FontShop International in Berlin whether I would be up for designing FF DIN Arabic. I couldn’t quite believe what was happening.
After having designed FF Amman in 2008/09 I had secretly wished that I could design FF DIN Arabic, but I had never told anyone. That was before having received my type design education at Type & Media in Den Haag in 2010/11, and had anyone asked me at the time, I would have most likely turned the offer down because I wouldn’t have felt experienced enough to do it. Then in 2013, after having undergone all the super fruitful education in Den Haag, I was ready and bursting with energy and excitement. This is exactly the kind of project you’re looking for after Type & Media.
So I returned to Amman for half a year in winter 2014/15 to design it.

It’s quite a bit against my habit to keep such work a secret. Normally I enjoy leaking designs on Facebook and have people comment on them. But the nature of this project required my secrecy.

Anyway, today the project is out, and I want you to enjoy the results and of course also buy it if you need it. (You need to choose Arabic Language Support in the Buying Options section.)

There’s a nice interview on FontShop’s news page where I describe the design process a bit, and an article on Condensed Arabic fonts.
And here is my own page about it.


Adepts of the Arabic type world might find it surprising that FF DIN Arabic has been made even though a previous Arabic DIN already existed, designed by Nadine Chahine and released by Monotype in 2011 (and another one designed by Hasan Abu Afash and released by Parachute in 2010). Surprising because after FontShop has been sold to Monotype in 2014 the company would then carry two Arabic DINs, albeit in separate libraries.

Well, not so surprising, actually. FontShop wanting an own Arabic companion to their highly popular FF DIN is very expected and much older than the news of FontShop having been sold to Monotype. Luckily, the project continued with no one seeing an internal competition happening. That’s also to do with my design approach which is unique and much different from Nadine’s. I’m glad that my proposal has been perceived as added value and that Nadine even oversaw some stages of my design process as Monotype’s then Arabic director.


Today, with the long-awaited release of FF DIN Arabic, I want to bid my collaboration with FontShop, now Monotype GmbH Berlin, farewell.
My affiliation goes back to winter 2006 when I interned with the Type Department of FontShop International in Berlin to gain insights into the technical side of type production (which I would still recommend to any student). They have since published my entire small commercial body of work, namely FF Kava, FF Amman (which also paved the way for my establishment in the Arabic type world) and FF Antithesis.
I want to personally thank Andreas Frohloff, my mentor at FontShop, as well as the Type Department staff Andreas Eigendorf, Christoph Koeberlin, Jens Kutilek, Inka Strotmann, and the former managing director Petra Weitz, as well as Ivo Gabrowitsch, Yves Peters, and Jürgen Siebert and all the other staff for all the support I have received over the years.

Last but not least it was through my decision to return to Amman for half a year in order to design FF DIN Arabic that I met my wife Reham. We’re currently living in Amman. Well, winters at least.

In the future, I want to go on to publish typefaces myself.

Published on Wednesday, February 24th 2016

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