The newly-established Arabic Typography category seeks to encourage experimentation and innovation in contemporary typographic design. Typography is the arrangement of letterforms and text in composition using digital lettering or fonts. It may include the design of letterforms but the focus of the competition is on the composition of the design. The concept and criteria invites the participants to explore both the creative interpretation of pre-existing typefaces and the generation of new and original letterforms.
The theme of rhythm will be the focus of this first edition of the Arabic Typography category.
Rhythm is not only important to poetry, music, and the spoken word, but it is also central to the way letterforms interact with each other, the way they are arranged in a typographic design composition (where print-based and static, or time-based and moving).
Rhythm is equally central to and should be derived from Qasidat al Burda (Ode of the Mantle), a 13th-century poem in praise of the Messenger of God, Muhammad bin Abdullah (peace be upon him), written and compiled by Sufi mystic and poet Imam al-Busiri. It is considered to be one of the most renowned literary works on the praise of the Prophet.
About Qasidat al Burda
Its legacy lives on through its recital in congregations and on special occasions like Mawlid, and its decoration on walls of public buildings across the Arab and Islamic world. The poem is also considered an eloquent Arabic poetic text and a testament to the inimitability and complexity of the Arabic language.
Qasidat al Burda is divided into 10 chapters and 160 verses all rhyming with each other. Interspersing the verses is the refrain, "My Patron, confer blessings and peace continuously and eternally on Your Beloved, the Best of All Creation" (Arabic: مولاي صل وسلم دائما أبدا على حبيبك خير الخلق كلهم). Each verse ends with the Arabic letter mīm, a style called mīmiyy. Al-Busiri’s approach in composing his poem is the same approach as that of the elders. He begins with the remembrance of loved ones. He moves from chaste flirtation and warning from whims, to praising of the Messenger, may God bless him and grant him peace, and talks about specific situations from his noble biography that reflect his great morals. He then describes the Qur’an, the Night Journey (Isra’ wal-Mi'raj), jihad, and concludes with supplication and communion.
Verses from Qasidat Al Burda
To get you started the jury has recommended that you select from one of the following 3 sets of verses :
However, we encourage applicants to read and select verses from the full poem that they feel represent the theme of Rhythm and what they want to design.
Formats and submission possibilities
We encourage applicants to watch the following videos as a form of immersion into the notion of rhythm within Islamic culture: