The ‘simplified’ version of the Arabic script was invented in response to the constraints of hot-metal typesetting. To minimize the production cost, the variety of contextual letterforms and ligatures had to be reduced. The result was often unsatisfactory: a uniform dull appearance, stiff and flat bottom line, illegible letter combinations, unrefined connections between rounded and straight strokes, and many inconsistent compromises.
Hot-metal typesetting is now history, but the genre of simplified Arabic persists. Typefaces from this genre continue to be used everywhere from newspapers to branding, posters and packaging – wherever a modern, pared-down look is called for. However, in emphasizing this modernist aesthetic, many simplified Arabic typefaces sacrifice readability. Wanting to design a typeface that would provide simplicity, but maintain a good reading experience, Borna Izadpanah created Marlik. He teamed up with Fiona Ross as an art director.
Marlik is well-informed by the calligraphic tradition as well as the options of the digital world. It provides for the needs of contemporary designers, both aesthetically and in terms of utility. The elegant Thin and robust Black shine in headlines and posters. Marlik’s modern, straightforward forms retain conventional Arabic proportions, making for a great reading experience at all sizes. Its low contrast holds up in print or online. Marlik is simple, but not oversimplified.
Marlik supports Arabic, Persian, and Urdu. It pairs with Skolar Sans Extended’s Latin harmoniously, without compromise. The Latin includes the marks required for Arabic and Persian transliteration. And last, but not least, Marlik is also available as a variable font. Thus, users can create custom weight variations that fit their design needs.
What others say:
“Borna Izadpanah belongs to a generation of designers who strive for modern expression while staying sensitive to history and conventions of the Arabic script. Borna’s work is careful and studied, incorporating subtle, sensitive improvements rather than pursuing novelty for its own sake. Expect meticulously crafted forms marked by a deep understanding of calligraphy and consideration for utility. His typefaces Lida and Lalezar have each collected a major design award.”
— David Březina, chief type officer at Rosetta
Design: Borna Izadpanah
Art-direction: Fiona Ross
Latin design: Latin glyphs included in Marlik are from Skolar Sans Extended designed by David Březina and Sláva Jevčinová
Borna Izadpanah is a typeface designer and researcher. He holds an MA in Graphic Design from the London College of Communication and an MA in Typeface Design from the University of Reading where he is undertaking PhD research. Borna is the designer of multi-award winning typefaces Lida and Lalezar. He has co-designed the Google Font Markazi Text with Fiona Ross and Florian Runge.