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Designer Patrick Giasson worked on a Nastaliq-style font for two years, and eventually recognized that the OpenType format had the potential for producing rich typographic variations. The problem was that no Arabic fonts took full advantage of the possibilities offered by OpenType. Giasson and Kamal Mansour saw the opportunity to advance Arabic type while also filling a need in the marketplace, and thus the ideas behind the Bustani typeface were born.
The inspiration of the Bustani typeface came from considering the possibilities of a calligraphic Naskh-style typeface. Mansour and Giasson approached the Bustani typeface design by thinking about the alternative letter shapes that a calligrapher would choose to compose words and lines of text. Naskh has long been considered the primary style for Arabic literary text, and the internal intelligence of OpenType fonts of Bustani determines the appropriate letterforms for text according to established rules of Arabic calligraphy.
The Bustani design was drawn free of the many constraints of the earlier fonts by taking inspiration from the calligraphic hand of twentieth-century calligrapher Fawzi Salem Afifi. The result demonstrates the freedom and grace of calligraphic lettering. Because of digital technology and the OpenType format, Bustani is a remarkably faithful interpretation of Naskh calligraphy in a digital font.
The Bustani typeface brings the stunning beauty and intricacies of thousand-year-old calligraphic writing into the 21st century. The Bustani design is the first OpenType font to offer full classical Naskh contextual shaping, while supporting all the numerous languages that use the Arabic writing system – including regional preferences – without the need for auxiliary plugins. The composition logic built into the Bustani font emulates the letter-shape choices made by a calligrapher skilled in the classic Naskh style. The user need only enter text for ordinary Arabic copy to produce content set in elegant Naskh. The result is not only striking, but also exceptionally versatile. Intended for setting literary text, Bustani takes full advantage of OpenType compliant applications and supports Arabic, Farsi, and Urdu – in addition to many other languages.
Fonts of Bustani are rich in alternative glyphs that a calligrapher would choose to compose words and lines of text. This, combined with the internal intelligence of OpenType, enables the use of appropriate letterforms according to established rules of Arabic calligraphy. No user decisions are required to get well-formed Naskh-style words – although alternative letterforms can also be chosen.