One of the first steps in acclimating to a new script and understanding its letterforms is practicing its writing. I went about this in a few different ways: neutral calligraphy writing exercises, emulating lettering samples using calligraphy tools, and bending calligraphy to my will in order to reinforce shapes I liked.
THIS IS THE RUQ’AH PROJECT. THIS SITE WILL CHRONICLE THE RESEARCH BEHIND AND THE DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT OF A SINGLE-WEIGHT, DISPLAY-ORIENTED, RUQ’AH-INSPIRED TYPEFACE WITH ARABIC AND LATIN COMPONENTS. WHEN COMPLETE, THE TYPEFACE WILL BE ADDED TO THE GOOGLE WEBFONTS LIBRARY.
The beginning of the project lies somewhere in the intersection of my long-time love for the calligraphic style, it being a ubiquitous factor in my MA dissertation research, and the realization that it’s not as frequently visited in typeface design as perhaps other Arabic writing styles — with its potential for robust display type gone largely unexplored. From this intersection I turned right and asked my friend Gunnar Vilhjamsson, a Ruq’ah entusiast if there ever was one, for possible places to look for quirkier, more expressive incarnations of the style. He directed me to vintage Egyptian movie posters, and there I found an oasis of inspiration. The microchosm of inventiveness and variety I found in samples of 1950s and 1960s Ruq’ah lettering was incredible.