Architecting Bree Arabic

January 2022

This article by Azza Alameddine shows the process for creating Bree Arabic and the changes made as it went along. Azza also explores how to harmonise an Arabic extension with an existing Latin typeface while still keeping its established personality, exploring its limits, and respecting accepted formal structures.


By Azza Alameddine

Bree is one of TypeTogether’s early type families and has garnered a wide fan base, from branding and books to packaging and mobile device use. Since Bree Latin was clearly inspired by handwriting, its Arabic counterpart, released in 2021, had to follow the same genesis and functionality. Bree Arabic was therefore designed in Ruq’ah, the Arabic handwriting style.

Comparison between Ruq’ah calligraphy and typography.


Ruq’ah is one of the simplest calligraphic styles: it has straight strokes and simple curves. This is due to the writing speed of the script, which was mainly used in the Ottoman bureaucracy to make paperwork faster. Copious notes and long, detailed descriptions were able to be written faster and more accurately with this simplified form.

A Ruq’ah calligraphy sample.


This style is very different from the more traditional Naskh style in terms of skeleton and feel due to less pen lifts and simpler strokes.

Same sentence in Naskh and in Ruq’ah, showing the big difference in letter structure and feel.

Correct contrast

Arabic has a reversed contrast compared to Latin. Therefore, the vertical weight in Latin should match the horizontal weight in Arabic. In the case of the Extrabold style, the Arabic’s weight is slightly lighter than the Latin because the Arabic script is naturally smaller in size.

The matching of size and contrast of Bree Arabic.

Evolution of the design. Trying to find the correct structure and contrast of the letter ‘seen’.

Harmonious size

When harmonising any two scripts, getting the size right is the first step. The Thin style of Bree Latin looks optically larger than its Extrabold, so the same concept was applied to Bree Arabic to maintain consistency between scripts and across styles.

In order to have both scripts matching optically in a long text while using the same vertical metrics, some compromises had to be decided. Arabic doesn’t really have an x-height; it has a range of vertical heights in which many letters fall. In the case of Ruq’ah, this range is even wider because of the nature of the script: very horizontal and with low teeth. These low letters make the Arabic script look much smaller and more shy than the Latin, which benefits from a consistent x-height.

Character height range comparison between Bree Latin and Bree Arabic.


However, making the letters taller would compromise the horizontality of the Ruq’ah style, so we decided to keep them low and focus on the horizontal proportions of letters to match the size of the Latin.

Similar feel

Once the size and contrast were decided, Bree Arabic had to carry the same feeling as the Latin. The softness and friendliness of the lettershapes were reinforced by gentle and rounded curves throughout.

Arabic calligraphy is created and described by a series of dot measurements. Bree Arabic maintains that professional design standard while incorporating the original feel of Bree Latin.

Ruq’ah features

Because Ruq’ah is written quickly, its dots are sometimes connected to the base letter to save a pen lift and a bit of time. For Bree Arabic we decided to not have these shapes on by default since people are not very used to them and some letters might get confused. We instead included them as features in the OpenType stylistic set. The connected Ruq’ah style letters can easily be accessed in SS01.

Some examples of connected characters in Stylistic Set 01. Use boldly!


Loaded with ligatures

Since we translated all the calligraphic ligatures of Ruq’ah style into typographic ones, Bree Arabic contains alternate letters and an extended set of 445 Arabic ligatures. Try them out and use them everywhere!





A multi-use multiscript

Bree Multiscript is a wide-ranging font family that comes in seven weights for each of the five scripts (so far). Of course, all Bree scripts work incredibly well in display uses and are very readable in text. We recommend using them in branding, packaging, and headlines, and because of their digital power and quality, they work incredibly well in apps and on websites.

About Us

TypeTogether is an indie type foundry committed to excellence in type design with a focus on editorial use. Additionally, TypeTogether creates custom type design for corporate use. We invite you to browse our library of retail fonts or contact us to discuss custom type design projects.