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Logotype Translation from Western to Arabic

Typographica  on November 27, 2004

…what is really interesting is to see how usual occidental brands are adapted into Arabic lettering. It’s not always a success…

Jean François Porchez photographs Dubai signage during his type design workshop visit.


  1. Hrant says:

    {Copy from JF’s site.}

    The 7Up one is really great! They’ve really struck a great balance of compromises: since Arabic reads right-to-left, and they didn’t want people to say “sab’a ap”*, plus they wanted to preserve the “7” shape**, so they composed the seven of Arabic letters which read “ap”! They even have the little hamza in the aleph, which not only avoids the reading of “aap”, but better identifies the stick as the letter aleph. Bjannin!

    * Which would also have forced the numeral shape to end up on the right side instead of the left.

    ** The Arabic seven doesn’t look like that (although everybody will know how to read the Latin numerals).

    As for the Virgin one, I actually thought it was cool, although I don’t have Nadine’s expertise.


  2. More comments by Nadine Chahine on images will be done in couple of hours. We just finished the workshop yesterday night and had great fun at night and no free time yet.

  3. Armin says:

    There was an interesting article on STEP magazine (I think) a few months ago about an identity that Margo Chase did for a lingerie store in Saudi Arabia. I found the article on LogoLounge, most of the images are missing but it’s a good read.

  4. Hello.

    I belive this is my first post here, hi! :-)

    This thread reminds me of a imo, very successful translation, the Carlsberg logo (link shows excerpt from Per Mollerup’s ‘Marks of Excellence’).

    I would also like to share a photo of some Thai Pepsi bottles.
    I think these successful beverage label translations proves how important strong branding is to these kind of high consumption retail products. However, you can question how good the Pepsi branding continuity is when you are served three different bottles, all with individual designs at one restaurant :-)

  5. We posted more comments about typeforms. See also that related article about the workshop.

  6. Helen says:

    It conserns not only Arabic. And you should also apply cross-cultural understanding.

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Typographica is a review of typefaces and type books, with occasional commentary on fonts and typographic design. Edited by Stephen Coles with Caren Litherland and designed by Chris Hamamoto. Founded in 2002 by Joshua Lurie-Terrell. Relaunched in 2009 by Coles and Hamamoto.

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