Microsoft and The Executive Council of Dubai has worked with Nadine Chahine, the Arabic type design specialist for Monotype, on a typeface for the city. It has been developed in Latin and Arabic script, to be extended to 21 further languages in future, to “create harmony” between the two scripts. It will be automatically added to Microsoft Office 365 and Office 2016 programmes in the latest update, and made available to download manually at DubaiFont.com, estimated to reach over 85 million people in 180 countries.
This is the first time Microsoft has created a font for a city. It was commissioned by the Crown Prince of Dubai, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who – according to UAE press – was personally involved in the typeface’s development, and has directed government institutions in Dubai to adopt the font. He says this decision is “a positive shift that will boost the Emirate’s competitiveness in smart technology. This should be a commitment from the Dubai Government to guarantee the dissemination and success of this initiative on a local and global level”.
Nadine lead a team of designers and engineers based at Monotype’s London office, which has been working on the face for over a year. The goal, Microsoft says, was to produce “a highly readable text font family” that worked “harmoniously” in both scripts. It has been released in four styles, Dubai Light, Dubai (regular), Dubai Medium and Dubai Bold, but not italics.
“The openness and harmony of the people in the UAE, the essence of Dubai and its vision to become the quintessential modern Arab city were our source of inspiration to design the Dubai Font,” Nadine commented.