Adobe Arabic font is an OpenType font designed by Tim Holloway with help from Fiona Ross and John Hudson in 2004. It was commissioned by Adobe with production by Tiro Typeworks. Adobe Arabic font won recognition from The Type Directors Club (TDC) and is well known as a good counterpart for Latin serif fonts.
According to an Adobe statement, "The design brief was to create a type family that would meet the needs of modern business communications in all the languages supported by the Unicode Arabic character set: not just various forms of Arabic, but also Persian, Urdu, and many other central and south Asian languages written in the Arabic script and using distinctive letterforms and diacritics."
Adobe Arabic font was created to provide a wider range of serif typographic options for designers not only for Arabic but also for other languages in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Adobe Arabic comes bundled with the ME versions of Adobe products. It was inspired by the Latin font Minion Pro and uses the same character set for the Latin characters. Although Arabic letters don't have true serifs, you can recognize the serifs in this font easily. The font is really simple, modern and easily readable in both print and on screen so it is best suitable for text blocks. In fact, we have many Arabic fonts today that are inspired by Latin fonts, but most of them are suitable only for titles, headings, and slogans. Only a few of them are suitable for paragraphs and text blocks.
Adobe Arabic is one of the rare fonts that has the four styles: Regular, Bold, Italic, and Bold Italic.
The extra stroke and slant for the bold and italic styles are professionally done so that the bold does not appear bigger than the regular style, and the italic is leaned to the left to reflect the reading direction of Arabic.
Myriad Arabic is a Sans-Serif typeface derived from the Latin Myriad Pro. It was designed by Adobe's technical team in collaboration with Arabic experts. Robert Slimbach, the designer of the original Myriad font, was the main designer of Myriad Arabic and Dr. Mamoun Sakkal was the principal outside consultant.
The design brief was to extend the Myriad Pro family to include Myriad Arabic. So Myriad Arabic had to not only be modern, clean, simple and readable in both print and on screen, but also suitable to run flexibly with the existing Myriad Pro versions in multilingual texts. It is also best suitable for text blocks because it is clean and readable in various sizes, but, for its five weights (Light, Regular, Semi-bold, Bold, Black), it is also very suitable in headlines and titles. Each of the five weights has an accompanying Italic version, so there are ten variants of the font.
The main four styles of Myriad Arabic (Regular, Italic, Bold and Bold Italic) come bundled with the ME versions of Adobe products. Myriad Arabic also supports the other Arabic script based languages, which include: Farsi, Urdu, Kirghiz, Kazakh, and Uighur.
Robert Slimbach used Adobe Arabic as a base in creating Myriad Arabic. It is very clear that Slimbach built Myriad Arabic relying on the construction of Adobe Arabic. This is an example for the two fonts in action.
Designers and DTP Specialists
Both fonts have one big bug. Yes, as a desktop publishing specialist I see it as a bug. Both fonts are smaller in size when set to the same point size of most other fonts. Myriad Arabic is a bit bigger than Adobe Arabic but still much smaller than the regular size. Although the Latin character sets are derived from Minion Pro and Myriad Pro, they are much smaller than the original set.
This causes a problem for any desktop publishing specialist because it is a requirement to stick to the point size used in the source files. If the point size is increased to compensate, it will result in additional time being added to the project timeline. However, if you are creating a file in Arabic without the requirement of sticking to a specific point size, any of these fonts would be an excellent selection.
From my own experience and research, as well as the comments I received on my previous blog (Arabic Fonts: The ongoing challenge), I discovered that Adobe is trying to give the answer for the Arabic designers and desktop publishing specialists with Adobe Arabic and Myriad Arabic, and have done an admirable job thus far. Many other Arabic type designers are also having success in utilizing these fonts.
Further Resources Regarding Multilingual Adobe Products and DTP
Globalization Partners International (GPI) has extensive experience translating documentation in all common authoring products from Microsoft, Adobe and other vendors. You may also find some of our previous blogs on desktop publishing useful:
- Arabic Fonts: The ongoing challenge
- What You Need To Know About Graphic Localization
- Optimizing InDesign Documents for Translation with Tables
- Localizing Text Layers in Photoshop
Please contact GPI at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 866-272-5874 with your specific questions about and your project goals. A complimentary Translation Quote for your project is also available upon request.
About the Author
Digital Design Specialist. Waleed is a native Arabic speaker born in Menofeya (the northern part of the Nile Delta), Egypt. He has over 10 years’ experience in multilingual design, desktop publishing and localization engineering. Over the years he has worked for localization and design companies Verso and Future-Group working in the documentation desktop publishing and design departments. He also has comprehensive training and experience in many localization and CAT tools. He holds an array of professional certifications including CIW’s Certified Internet Webmaster and Programmer, IBM Web Programmer and Macromedia Designer and extensive application experience with the Adobe Creative Suite and Microsoft products.More Content by Waleed Eseily