In 2014 I was commissioned by FontShop International to extend their popular FF DIN typeface family into the Arabic script. Ever since I had designed the Latin/Arabic FF Amman I had secretly hoped that I could one day design FF DIN’s Arabic counterpart. But I didn’t dare to propose it to anyone. Then they asked me.

Coincidentally, as I later found out, I chose an approach which was similar to the development of the DIN typefaces in the early 1900s. These had started out as hand-written letters which were refined to serve as the master drawing for DIN 16–Schräge Blockschrift (slanted block- or print script) in 1919. The roman counterpart more or less evolved into DIN 1451–Normschriften (norm- or standard typefaces) in 1932.

I engineered FF DIN Arabic by basing the letter shapes and proportions on a simplyfied hand-written Naskh skeleton on a grid. Step by step I boiled down the shapes into the digital master drawings that feature the same clarity and legibility of the Latin DIN 1451 and, of course, FF DIN.

By the time I had started to design FF DIN Arabic in winter 2014/15, the Latin version of FF DIN Thin, the latest addition to the original FF DIN family, was already finished. FF DIN Arabic could thus be readily drawn as a family of seven weights, matching the full range of weights of FF DIN. Together with the Greek language support that had been added to the italics, condensed and condensed italic weights earlier in 2015, FF DIN Arabic truly enhances the usability of FF DIN in contemporary global corporate design projects, advertising campaigns and packaging.

Please also read my blog post about the release.
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.

The fonts feature round dots (Stylistic Set 1) and diamond-shaped dots (Stylistic Set 2) in addition to the classic squares.

FF DIN Arabic supports the following languages (the four Arabic languages on FontShop’s DIN page are incorrect):

Arabic (290M), Malay (220M), Punjabi (130M), Farsi (110M), Urdu (65M), Swahili (65M), Turkish (63M), Pashto (60M), Hausa (52M), Kurdish (30M), Sindhi (25M), Dari (18M), Kazakh (11M), Uyghur (11M), Balochi (7M), Kabyle (5M), Tatar (5M), Kirghiz (2M), Kashmiri (<1M), Morisco (<1M).

The values in parenthesis are the numbers of speakers of that language in millions, and not necessarily the number of people writing that language in that script. For instance, Turkish is not written in Arabic anymore today.

Germans pronounce the typeface with a long vowel (deen) instead of the shorter din
At work: Long alternates (Swash-Feature) and round dots (Stylistic Set 1)
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