Arabic Type Design – Beirut: The Story
with Lara Captan
Arabic Type Design - Beirut, or ATDB, is the first intensive program entirely dedicated to Arabic type design. It is an experimental program, an educational manifesto expressing the need for more graphic diversity and deeper knowledge in the field of Arabic type. In her talk, Lara will speak about how and why her project partner Kristyan Sarkis and herself started this program and will unfold the story behind the ATDB adventure.
About Lara Captan
Lara is an independent type designer & typographer based in Amsterdam. She was born in Beirut in 1984 and raised in Saudi Arabia until moving back home to Lebanon at the age of fifteen. She holds a BFA in Graphic Design  from the American University of Beirut [AUB] where many professors inspired students to explore solutions for the numerous problems in Arabic typefaces through the composition of type. From that moment on, a passionate quest for the reasons behind the dysfunctions of Arabic type began, as well as a dream to create contemporary typefaces that respect the essential characteristics of the Arabic script.
The years went by on that same path that was at times diverged by work experiences such as teaching design and typography at AUB [2006-2013], the co-foundation of AIN: an NGO promoting art and culture as a tool for non-violent expression amongst youth in Lebanon; and lastly, trading ballet classes with design work for Lebanese Choreographer Nada Kano.
After a mind-opening internship at Fontana Diseño [Buenos Aires, 2005], a Masters in Typography at the Escola De Disseny i Art [Barcelona, 2011] and a summer attending Type@Cooper [New York, 2012], the road to create experimental Arabic typefaces continues. Since March 2015, Lara has been designing Arabic typefaces for DecoType’s ACE layout engine as well as OpenType.
She regularly speaks at type conferences and design events around the world such as ISType (Istanbul, 2015) and AtypI (São Paulo, 2015, with Kristyan Sarkis). And in March 2016, she co-founded the “Arabic Type Design - Beirut” educational program along with Kristyan Sarkis that is hosted by the Department of Architecture & Design at the American University of Beirut.