type designer and typographer, Austria
Flexible justification strategies for Arabic and beyond
Strategies for justification of typography in the digital realm, whether the output is the web or print, generally rely on concepts rooted in the European tradition of typography. Notably they are based on the common assumption that word spaces are variable, and that the shapes of letters and the spaces within words remain static. This assumption, however, does not hold up to scrutiny beyond the Western hemisphere. Arabic justification, for instance, also involves varying both glyph forms and their widths. Variable fonts also bring the possibility of performing justification through selectively expanding or contracting some or all glyphs. Although the OpenType specification provides for the ability for fonts to specify justification lookups, expansions and contractions, software implementation is lacking. We will discuss the justification needs of Arabic texts, and demonstrate a new justification engine which implements these requirements.
Titus Nemeth is a type designer and typographer. His internationally recognized practice spans commercial and cultural work, with a focus on Arabic and multilingual design. Titus’s interests and activities extend to academic research, and teaching in higher education: His monograph Arabic Type-Making in the Machine Age was published with Brill in 2017, and he has taught type design and typography at schools in Austria, France, Morocco, Qatar and the UK.