Marfa : a culturally respectful Perso-Arabic and Latin multi-script typeface
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Globalization and the need for cross-cultural communication have created a need for multi-script typefaces suitable for both print and digital applications. However, there are far fewer Perso-Arabic typefaces in existence than Latin ones, and even fewer Perso-Arabic/Latin multi-script typefaces. Of the Perso-Arabic/Latin multi-script typefaces in existence, very few are visually unified enough to use for multilingual typesetting. And the very few visually unified multi-script typefaces that do exist usually achieve that visual unity by forcing the calligraphic forms of Perso-Arabic glyphs into the norms of Latin typography. With a few exceptions, multi-script Perso-Arabic/Latin typefaces have not been very respectful to Perso-Arabic calligraphic traditions: their forms are visible artifacts of western influence, and they therefore do not strike a particularly effective tone for cross-cultural communication. In response to the need for visually unified, less obviously “colonizing” Perso-Arabic/Latin multi-script typefaces, I have designed the Marfa type family. Marfa is a visually cohesive multi-script type family (which will eventually include eight different weights and styles) that respects the calligraphic origins of both Perso-Arabic and Latin writing systems. Marfa not only adds to the number of available visually cohesive Perso-Arabic/Latin multi-script typefaces—therefore giving typographers new, less overbearing “tones of voice” to work with—but also, by refusing to force Perso-Arabic characters into Latin typographic norms, provides a model for how to begin “decolonizing” other multi-script typefaces.