This is for my gal Hilary, who is in Egypt right now and obviously couldn’t make it to my recent shower or bachelorette party:
Read this article from I Love Typography: Arabic calligraphy as a typography exercise, then come back here.
I can’t say that I know anything about the nuances (or the bigger things, for that matter) of Arabic script–the original poster likened it to Chinese (and I’m inclined to say Japanese as well), and I’m of the mind to agree that they are both so incomprehensible to an outsider, and it requires years and years of study before you can be considered an insider. I was always an admirer of Iron Chef Michiba’s dedication to writing out every menu in the proper calligraphy prior to starting the cooking process–it felt very old school, even though I admittedly didn’t know much about the new school at the time. I suppose I just appreciated the comittment that he had to the dishes he was making–if it was in writing, you better believe he was making it.
I can say this, though, about Arabic calligraphy–I had a terrifying dream a few months ago that involved all of our televisions here in the US being taken over–not when they were on, mind you, but when they were off. Superimposed images of Arabic words started scrolling on all the screens, and nobody had any fucking clue what was going on. It was one of the creepiest dreams I’ve ever had.
Which is a damn shame–the calligraphy is so beautiful, and so elegantly complex–I just wish it didn’t have this apparent stigma attached to it. I’m pretty sure, though, that the dream involved the severe fundamentalists…so I guess that’s OK?