Pascal Zoghbi is one of only a few designers working in the relatively new discipline of contemporary Arabic typography. Having studied extensively in Europe, Zoghbi returned to his hometown of Beirut in Lebanon to found 29letters. His work involves creating new Arabic typefaces, corporate identities and print publications. Understanding the structure of traditional calligraphic styles is important to contemporary Arabic typeface design, and Zoghbi's objective is to create a balance between the old and the new.
I am a type designer working on contemporary Arabic typefaces. Beside my type design I am also a graphic designer and I teach typography and design at universities in Beirut.
I think now we are at the future of Arabic type. It’s now happening. There is a bigger amount of Arabic type designers working on type. There are a lot of people asking for type and they want to use it in web and mobile and print. They are bored using the same fonts again and again and somehow it’s contagious. If some of the companies or a firm or museum has its own type done for it, then the others think, ah we also want a special type created. A certain magazine or newspaper also want it, so people are asking for it more. This is not only good for us as designers but it’s good for the overall design community and visual design environment and the Arab region.
I am always referring to the calligraphic aspect of the Arabic script and then I always challenge myself as to how I can redesign or reshape these letters in a contemporary manner, but still retain and respect the Arabic calligraphy and I try to retain a certain balance. Not to really go to the experimental wild part of it and not to just to stick to the calligraphy. To create something new which is somewhere in-between these two worlds and establish a certain aesthetic to the letters, which are not seen before either in the calligraphic form or the typographical form.