Arabic Typography and Popular Culture

Talk given at Typecon (Boston, MA) and the conference

Did you know that Arabic Superman’s secret identity loosely translates to ‘Noble Victory’? Or that the 7UP logo keeps its recognisable shape in both its Latin and Arabic incarnations?

This talk draws on Arabic typography and its adaptations in culture and popular history as seen through comic books, soda cans, vinyl records, sexy magazines, and Egyptian movie posters.

Navigating back and forth in time, and between languages, patterns arise and boundaries start to blur: East and West, original and replica, exotica and erotica, appropriation and assimilation.

This curated overview offers a brief historical account of how culture, more often than not, unites trends across borders while simultaneously setting them apart.

Expect some anecdotal history of communication, a little bit of nipples, and a lot of beautiful hand lettering and type.