Typographic Conections to Square Kufic

Arabic Type Presentation at TypeCon2016: Resound

26 Aug 2016

4:10 pm – 4:50 pm

Square Kufic calligraphy is one of the simplest styles of Arabic calligraphy. Developed in the 12th century and reached its highest level of popularity in the 15th and 16th centuries, it covered the façades of entire buildings such as mosques and palaces during the Timrid dynasty in Samakand and other cities of Central Asia. This unique style of Arabic calligraphy is enjoying renewed interest due to its clean, minimalist forms and the geometric beauty.

After a brief overview of the history of Square Kufic and the principles of the script, I will present some of its most attractive traditional motifs and the script’s use in medieval manuscripts. I will then review a little known phenomenon where Square Kufic is composed using fleurons and other typographic ornaments, that originated in Europe, to produce ornate title pages for printed books published in Cairo between 1880 and 1950.

The last part of the presentation will include examples of Square Kufic typefaces and a number of book covers with Square Kufic designs.

mumayez_square_kufic_signature - Mamoun Sakkal, Morteza Mumayez