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Nadine Chahine: ‘A touch of genius’

Nadine Chahine, designer of Arabic typefaces and external PhD candidate at Leiden University, has been named in Fast Company's 2012 ranking as one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business. ‘I see type as the means to engage in the larger context of culture and society,’ commented Chahine.

Beautiful Arabic type

The Arabic version of Frutiger, designed by Nadine Chahine
The Arabic version of Frutiger, designed by Nadine Chahine

Chahine, who is from Lebanon, was recognized alongside individuals from a variety of professions who use creativity for transforming industries and reinventing the world in which we live. ‘I'm deeply honoured and humbled to be in the company of so many accomplished people,’ said Chahine. ‘My focus has always been on the complex and evolving societies of the Arab world. There's a lack of high-quality Arabic typefaces, so the challenge is to create beautiful Arabic type that's culturally relevant and invites people to want to read, write and take action. We also need Arabic typefaces to work well alongside texts in other languages, on screen and in print. Typography is integrally connected to the environment in which it sits. As a designer, I see more than just letters and numbers - I see type as the means to engage in the broader context of culture and society.’

Improving communication and exchange of ideas

Nadine Chahine
Nadine Chahine

‘This honour is well deserved,’ said Doug Shaw, President and Chief Executive Officer of Monotype Imaging, where Chahine is employed. ‘Nadine's work is helping companies to expand into the Middle East or to communicate in Arabic in their own regions. Her contributions reflect more than creating beautiful Arabic type. They represent tools to improve communication and the exchange of ideas across cultures.’

'A bold design for bold times'

Chahine has a number of design achievements to her name, including her work during the redesign of An-Nahar, Lebanon's leading Arabic-language daily newspaper. 'It's a bold design for bold times,' said Chahine. Between 2007 and 2010, she designed award-winning Arabic versions of three popular typeface families with the approval of their original, legendary designers, Adrian Frutiger and Hermann Zapf. After reviewing Chahine's design before its launch, Frutiger called it a ‘touch of genius.’

Cultural, social and political engagement

Chahine’s research, under the supervision of Professor Gerard Unger, in Leiden spans multiple disciplines, including design, type design, linguistics and psychology. Moving forward, she expects to become increasingly involved in design as it relates to cultural, social and political engagement.


(22 May 2012 / Monotype Imaging Inc. / MLH)

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