Presenting "Nasri Khattar, A Modernist Typotecht"
Yara Khoury Nammour at Nuqat MENA conference 2014, Kuwait
Nasri Khattar is a Lebanese architect-typographer (he called himself a typotect) whose work was motivated by the Arab post-colonial project of modernity. He participated in the language and script reform project initiated by the Arabic Language Academy in Cairo in the 1930s. Khattar's work focused on the Arabic script's technological and aesthetic reform. With his reduced set of 30 Unified Arabic letters, he strove to democratize knowledge: making reading in Arabic easier to learn, the production and typesetting of Arabic texts faster and cheaper. He experimented with a modern typographic aesthetic that was appropriate for the technology of the period. He designed several typefaces which were cast as metal type, used for typewriters and phototypesetting machines, and produced in 3D form for signage and game boards. He also designed teaching material for children. His typographic work is presented and discussed in this highly illustrated monograph, taking the reader on a journey through the travails of a determined and creative mind, and placing his life's work within the context of the history of the Arabic alphabet and its typographic developments.