‘Nassim’, published in Philizot, Vivien (ed.), “Langage et typographie”, Livraisons 13, 122–125, (2010).
Nassim is a contemporary text typeface for Arabic and Latin script. The core concept of Nassim is to conceive a design that facilitates multilingual text setting in which both scripts appear balanced and harmonious. The main concern was to create both scripts as authentic designs in which neither Arabic nor Latin have to follow the proportions of the other. To achieve this, both scripts were designed synchronously from the very beginning. This contrasts to most typefaces that cover Arabic and Latin support in which the Arabic part is often designed following the model of an existing Latin typeface.
The main objective was to deal with both scripts as independent and yet matching and related designs. Formal harmony was achieved by a careful balance of colour, perceived size, contrast, modulation and subtle details of shapes. While there are some common design features such as the cuts inside counters and similar curve dynamics, the vertical proportions and strokes of Arabic and Latin characters are not mathematically equal, but visually adjusted for harmony.
In addition to its strengths for multi-script typesetting, Nassim was developed to cater for the requirements of newsprint: economy, readability and sturdiness. It was designed to give a highly legible and open touch to text in small sizes. Conceived as a contemporary interpretation of Arabic news typography, Nassim is highly distinct from other newsfaces, giving publications an elegant, fresh and unique look. It therefore lends itself particularly well to news typography, but just as well as to editorial design.
The first version of Nassim was conceived and designed in 2005/06. Since then it won the TDC’s ‘Certificate of Excellence in Type Design’ and the 2007 European Design Award for best original typeface design. Furthermore, Nassim was shortlisted and exhibited by the Design Museum London in the category Graphic Design as Design of the Year 2007 – a rare honor for a typeface.
In December 2008 Nassim was released by WinSoft with the launch of Tasmeem™4. For this release, Nassim underwent major changes. The Arabic design was completely revised and updated to take advantage of the features of Tasmeem™ (see next page for an illustration of the advanced capabilities). Moreover, Nassim now supports the complete Unicode block for the Arabic script, which means that all the features of Nassim are available for the widest range of languages possible (including but not limited to Arabic, Persian, Urdu, Kurdish, Pashtu, Sindhi, Uyghur). This is groundbreaking for some of these languages are barely or even not at all supported by most conventional Arabic typefaces.