'Li Beirut' font to raise funds for Lebanon's capital

300 Arabic and Latin characters, idea of international designers

17 September, 12:54

    (ANSAmed) - NAPLES, SEPTEMBER 17 - Li Beirut is the name given to a font created to raise funds for the population of the Lebanese capital after a massive explosion on August 4.

    More than 160 regional and international designers were involved. The font, which includes 300 decorative glyphs of isolated Arabic characters and Latin capital letters, was commissioned by Nadine Chahine, the lead designer behind the popular Dubai Font, days after the explosion.

    "Even outside the context of everything that's going on, the explosion is a traumatic event. But when you add an economic crisis, a pandemic and a political crisis, when you consider the fact that people are unable to access their own money in the bank. When you consider the liquidity problems. It's just unbelievable," Chahine told The National. "I lived the first 11 years of my life during the civil war and I've never seen Lebanon in such a dire state." The UAE daily added that: "This is not the first time typeface designers have come together to create a font to raise funds. Previously, the Society of Typographic Aficionados organised eight iterations of Font Aid, a charity drive that responded to a number of global tragedies, including the Nepalese earthquake in 2015 and the 9/11 attacks in 2001." Chahine said Font Aid proved that typefaces could be used as a fundraising apparatus and gave her the inspiration to start Li Beirut. She wanted to ensure that if the font was going to bear the name of the Lebanese capital, it was something special.

    "It felt like it was necessary that this would be something that comes out of the Lebanese community. That it was driven by Lebanese designers working alongside those from around the world," she said.

    "I was shocked by the amount of empathy," she says. "Many submissions came with messages of support to the people of Beirut." Esteemed designers from the Arab world, including Mamoun Sakkal, Khajag Apelian, Yara Khoury and Wael Morcos, were among the contributors. Award-winning designers from around the world - such as Jean Francois Porchez, Jessica Hische and Erik Spiekermann - were also quick to answer to the submission call.

    The end result is a font of more than 300 characters that, besides decorative Arabic and Latin letters, includes Arabic numerals as well as a few symbols.

    On Tuesday, August 18, two weeks after the Beirut port blast, the typeface was launched. "Now, we are printing the catalogue and the postcards," Chahine says. "That's an important aspect as well, that they are being printed in Beirut. There's a symbolic aspect to that." (ANSA).

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