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Fahad A Dhawi

Published date
19 Jun 2018

Redesigning Arabic Learning Books: An exploration of the role of graphic communication and typography as visual pedagogic tools in Arabic-Latin bilingual design.

Central Saint Martins

What are educational typefaces and why are they needed today? Do Arabic learners need special typefaces that can simplify Arabic learning further? If so what features should they have? A consideration of contemporary Arabic education confirms that the majority of language textbooks and pedagogic material are leading to challenging learning environments due to the poor quality of design, heavy text and lack of appropriate visuals. The outmoded quality of data visualization requires serious adjustments in structure, clarity and design layout.

This practice-based project raises awareness of the need for typefaces that can help produce more accessible visual pedagogic tools to attract and help people learn Arabic more easily in a globalized world where the diversity of languages and cultures is under threat. There are hardly any typefaces that are specifically designed for linguistic purposes. The need for such typefaces is to better engage with learners and highlight the importance of graphic communication and typographic pedagogy as methods of teaching and learning. The research traces the history of Arabic script and type evolution to look for effective methods that can facilitate learning. It reviews the literature of early reform and twentieth century simplification attempts (typefaces) that proposed practical solutions to help overcome the technical issues of the script. The practice reassigns these typefaces as learning tools by redesigning the collected material to construct an experimental bilingual Arabic-English language book for adult beginners.

Selected English learning and information design books and methods were studied to guidance on executing the material. The book and tools were tested in workshops in Kuwait and London to measure their level of simplification and accessibility. The study offers solutions to some of the problems that arise in the course of designing for learning and highlights the role of Arabic typographers and designers in the production of creative pedagogic material.


Dr. Rathna Ramanathan

James Swinson

Dr. Sheena Calvert