Western Font Design Meets Persian Calligraphy in the Work of Reza Abedini

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"The invention of movable type is based on value and the spirit of writing systems in the west -- which is individual letters," Reza Abedini explains. The printing press posed a problem for the interconnected forms of traditional calligraphy:

When the printing system came to Lebanon, Iran, and those countries, they found out the writing system doesn't work with this machine because the words here are completely different [than the] Roman system ... They forced the Arabic and Farsi writing system to be closer, as much as possible, to the Roman writing system ... even digital type, it's based on this system.

The award-winning graphic designer has spent his career blending the rich visual culture of Iran with principles of modern graphic design, including tackling basic problems like the "useless distance between letters" prevalent in digital fonts. Full of examples of gorgeous visual art and typography, Abedini's interview with publisher Gestalten covers the evolution of design in Iran and the value of cultural cross-pollination.

This video was produced by Ole Wagner, Astrid Gleichmann, Andrea Cadorin, and Constantin Falk, to promote the release of a book from Gestalten, Arabesque 2: Graphic Design and Typography Graphic Design from the Arab World and Persia.

Watch more videos by Gestalten on the Atlantic Video channel

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Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is the executive producer for video at The AtlanticMore

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg joined The Atlantic in 2011 to launch its video channel and, in 2013, create its in-house video production department. She leads the development and production of original documentaries, interviews, and other video content for The Atlantic. Previously, she worked as a producer at Al Gore’s Current TV and as a content strategist and documentary producer in San Francisco. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University.
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