Talk at The Basel School of Design

On March 9, 2016, I will give a talk at The Basel School of Design. I am honoured to be the first speaker in a lecture series on Multiscript Typography which features the Swiss foundry Dinamo, Gerry Leonidas, Birgit Mersmann, Roman Wilhelm and Vaibhav Singh.

My talk has the title ‘There is nothing Arabic about the Arabic script’ and the below abstract provides a first glimpse of the issues I am going to raise in Basel.


Natural language and writing are two related, and yet utterly different modes of communication. While this may seem to be stating the obvious, it is worth further consideration. In this talk Titus elaborates on his perspective on Arabic type design, and more generally on the design of type for scripts one is not native to. He uses concepts of Semiotics to explore the relation between language and writing, and queries some common assumptions regarding the implications for type design.

Against this background, Titus will present his work for the BBC Worldservice’s Arabic script news websites. He will discuss the wider context of this project, casting a spotlight on the evolution of web typography and the water-shed moment the introduction of web fonts brought about. He will present some of the technical hurdles of this project, as well as some of the considerations required for type design for culturally diverse audiences, and thus return to the premise of the talk: that there is nothing Arabic about the Arabic script.

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