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Towards understanding diversity in Arabic type styles: its origins, its current use and its effect on Arab readership

Dakak, M. (2022) Towards understanding diversity in Arabic type styles: its origins, its current use and its effect on Arab readership. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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To link to this item DOI: 10.48683/1926.00111569


The current Arabic typographic practice in the Arab world shows a parallel use of distinctly diverse Arabic type styles. This research investigates the emergence of this diversity, its patterns of use, and the way it is perceived by Arab readers. The research looks at typefaces in extensive text setting, in selected countries where current practices of type use are relatively similar. The thesis draws on existing research on the development of Arabic type in the twentieth century to contextualise technical and cultural factors that contributed to the emergence of these diverse type styles. Building on the available research on the topic, the thesis sheds light on the wider contexts in the Arab world that affected Arabic type-use practices, and provides a broader understanding of the evolution of the diversity in Arabic type styles. The research combines statistical analysis and qualitative review to identify contemporary patterns in current practices and perceptions towards Arabic text typefaces. The study focuses on three main document genres: books, newspapers and websites. Selected materials are examined with the aim to recognise the most used text typefaces across the selected genres. The methodology of interrogating current practices of Arabic type use as a basis for studying readers’ preferences towards Arabic typefaces has not been applied before this research. Readers’ perceptions towards the identified diversity in Arabic type styles are analysed through an empirical study that draws on input from both the statistical and historical elements of this research. The study combines quantitative and qualitative methods in order to get a better understanding of readers’ preferences and perceptions. Moreover, a secondary empirical study examines perceptions towards the examined typefaces from the users’ point of view. This is pursued through interviews with type users from selected publishing houses, newspapers, and web design companies. This research concludes with remarkable findings on preferences in Arabic type styles that can inform practices in Arabic type and document design, and form the basis for further investigations.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Ross, F. and Leonidas, G.
Thesis/Report Department:School of Arts & Communication Design
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Arts and Communication Design > Typography & Graphic Communication
ID Code:111569
Additional Information:Redacted version. Parts removed for copyright reasons are: sections of images on pages 90 and 200-206.


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