Back Story: Adelle Sans Arabic is part of the foundry TypeTogether’s ongoing typographic evolution of the Adelle family, first released in a serif version in 2009, followed by a sans in 2012. “Our approach to the design of Adelle Sans was that the families were to work together in harmony, and each would retain its own personality to maintain tension between them,” says studio principal José Scaglione. “In other words, we did not just chop off the serifs.”
The same sensitive approach was taken for the latest addition to the family: Adelle Sans Arabic is based on the Naskh style of scripts, whose fluid shapes are preferred for reading long texts in Arabic. The foundry thoughtfully adjusted the Adelle Sans characters to make them a better visual fit with Arabic letterforms.
Why’s it called Adelle Sans Arabic? Elementary, my dear Watson.
What are its distinguishing characteristics? Azza Alameddine, the font’s designer, made the underlying structure of Adelle Sans Arabic more rigid than traditional Naskh script, to match the Latin version’s structured base. “Relative character size is subjective when incorporating two scripts in a single typeface,” she says. “In this case, we chose a slightly smaller Arabic size to pair with the Latin to allow both scripts to sit comfortably together at the same leading.” Alameddine also implemented closed apertures in the counterforms of Adelle Sans in the Arabic, but had to tone it down to retain legibility, since Arabic counters are usually much smaller in proportion compared to Latin. Adelle Sans Arabic is available in eight weights, and the designer says the extremes were hardest to get right—as the delicate curves of the ultra thin made all the bezier mistakes glaringly obvious. Meanwhile, the heavy was so bold that each individual letter had to be revised and optically adjusted.
What should I use it for? Adelle Sans Arabic is specifically designed for flexibility and is equally well-suited to branding, signage, editorial, and advertising contexts—particularly in designs where Latin and Arabic texts are used side-by-side.
What other typefaces do you like to pair it with? If the no-brainer choice (Adelle) seems too easy, try combining it with the soft shapes of FF Din Round. Idlewild makes for a more edgy dance partner.