Observation – Square Kufic and its Modern Day Usage

A few weeks ago (or rather, last month) I mentioned something about the Islamic/Arabic/Moroccan/Indian aesthetic being introduced into Modern designs, and I had mention about the Kufi script, one of the oldest script in the writing of the Arabic language (or any language that uses the Arabic letters, for example Persian, Urdu or Malay Jawi) enjoying some sort of revival and being utilized as a modern interpretation of the Arabic script for logos of companies in the Arab states. It is now, in my opinion, quite widespread in its usage, both for the secular and religious.

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A selection of logos utilizing the Kufic script, in different forms. Courtesy of citareka.com

But first, lets have a look on a short description and history of the Kufic script – even though, I know, I had posted this before. Kufi is, as I said, the oldest calligraphic form of the Arabic script. It is a modified form of the old Nabatean script  and named after the city of Kufa in modern day Iraq. The first copies of the Islamic holy scripture, the Al Qur’an were written using this script. The style differs from area to area for example, the North African and Andalusian Kufic were flowery and ornate, but the original, line-utilizing script that were founded in Iraq and Iran were used today to make Square Kufi designs and logos. traditionally, in Iran Square Kufi, that is, Kufi script that were written in a square form instead of linear were made into a pattern and used as a form of decoration. This technique is called Banna’i, and usually spells names such as Allah, Muhammad or Ali.

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A minaret in the Mosque in Isfahan covered with the square Kufi script of Muhammad and Ali

I think the reason the Square Kufic’s revival is because of the clean, simple lines of the script, that seemingly matches the Modern aesthetic of today. The Arabic script were often associated with curvy alphabets and the Kufi script, especially in its original form, is an exact opposite of that.

Last month I got the chance to join a group Friends of Square Kufi (which, by the way, in my opinion, unfortunately abbreviated into…FokS) by invitation from my old friend on Facebook. I play a rather passive role in the group – observing and learning through other people’s mistakes who submit their works there. I was rather intimidated to submit mine because I am still not very sure about my work and I still need to learn more. Unfortunately, even though the script looks simple, there are quite some number of rules to learn and obey…

But I still experiment, and I started out by spelling out my name and making it square. In the end, I have this! Unfortunately it apparently as noted by my inviting friend, still have a number of mistakes…as I said, lots of rules to obey. It spells out from the bottom right corner Muhammad Azim, my full given name.

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And I am thinking about designing Square Kufic logo for this blog and the Facebook page. But I am still thinking…should I design around the’ Arabicized’ spelling of Stars in Symmetry, or an Arabic translation?

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2 Comments

Filed under Observations

2 responses to “Observation – Square Kufic and its Modern Day Usage

  1. Beautiful geometric script – bears semblance to modern art.

    Congrats on your 3rd anniversary!

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