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Neshan 45

Iranian Contemporary Design

Bahman Eslami; Practice Makes Perfect

Amir Mehdi Moslehi

Bahman Eslami began his path in 2004 with his education in Visual Communication at the Faculty of Fine Arts, Tehran University. Prior to joining the university, he occupied himself by creating animated videos for advertising agencies.
He considers his education in Type Media at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague (2015) a turning point in career, and believes through this experience he can distinguish Persian/Arabic type design frontiers from Latin. In the text that follows, I will refer to Bahman’s ideas about authorizing Persian/Arabic type design.
Bahman Eslami works in three main categories as a designer — seemingly separate, but operating as a single unit. These categories are type design, programming, and animation.

Type Design
Bahman has designed ten typefaces throughout his career. His work is divided into three categories according to time:
Compilation works before studying type media, such as: Harir Arabic Typeface
Compilation works after/during studying type media, such as: Tajrish, Binam
Developing Latin typefaces into the Persian / Arabic typefaces after studying type media, such as: Diodrum Arabic, Kuhi Nur Arabic, Fedra Arabic Display, Fedra Sans Arabic, Fedra Serif Arabic, Kone LCD, Renault Arabic
In the explanation of the compilation types, it can be added that the design of these types, from the idea to the font all comes from the designer’s mind and may not even have a specific ordering agent. In comparison to other categories, the compilation types are closer to the designer’s mind and aesthetics.
Developing Latin types into Persian script is another category and, in this regard, a Latin type designer orders Arabic / Persian types to Bahman as a specialist of the Arabic / Persian types in order to complete the languages of his fonts. In this situation, the designer is required to act in the framework of order, or in other words, the development of Latin types into the Persian script in order to coordinate with the initial types — including Latin or other languages.
Due to the quantity and quality of Bahman Eslami’s works, and with consideration regarding the length of this article, only three distinguished types of Bahman have been analyzed here.

Harir Arabic Typeface
This Type Family, which is the product of Bahman’s final project of his visual communication education at the Faculty of Fine Arts of University of Tehran, is the first step in realizing the same idea that he has been seeking until today. That idea is the implementation of the hidden system in Iranian calligraphy, which in its generator in the calligraphy culture is the calligrapher, and the improvising and elegance are ones of its essential features, whilst paying attention to these features in design is meaningless because the type design is done by the software (and there is no room for improvising and elegance in it).
One of the characteristics of Harir is the same amount of black and white in words, which leads to better legibility of the text. The effects of the Holloway’s works, especially Mitra, and other works such as Karim and Adobe Arabic, are evident in the Harir font.
From the author’s point of view, Harir font has a better functionality in the text than its demonstrative application.
Harir is a modern Arabic text typeface featuring three optical sizes, probably the first Arabic typeface to address optical sizes and to create a package of Caption, Text and Display fonts, each in two weights.
Harir is also considered to be a promising beginning in the Bahman Eslami’s career due to its success in winning the Letter2  Award and its purchase by Typotheque type foundry.

This font is the starting point for the formation of the designer’s attitude towards the fundamental differences between the Arabic / Persian font and the Latin font. During the design of Tajrish typeface, he understood that the Iranian and Latin designers look at the letters basically from two different perspectives. In the design process of this type, via the feedback that he received, Bahman understood that as an Iranian designer, he is deeply influenced by calligraphy field and he looks at letters through that influenced view.
He understood that the calligraphy runs more in Arabic or Persian designers and it’s more intriguing than it is among the European or American type designers, which may be the result of more historical background of Arabic or Iranian calligraphy, but quite contrary, Latin type is more ancient than Arabic / Persian.
Bahman has designed Tajrish type family in five Persian / Arabic weights, five Latin weights with five Latin italics; but three years after its original design, it has not yet been released officially.

Diodrum Arabic
Diodrum is widely used in Iran alongside the Kuhi Nur Arabic. What is clear about the utilization of Diodrum in Iran is its success and applicability in comparison to its similar types.
Arabic Diodrum is designed for Latin type by Jérémie Hornus. In the course of this project, Bahman has made great efforts to convince Jérémie. One of Bahram’s conflicts with Latin designer of Diodrum was the shape of the dots. Jeremy believed since the dots in the Latin type of Diodrum are roundish, they should also be roundish in the Arabic type. But Bahman convinced him to accept that the roundish dots in Latin, is derived from the Roman script and its hundred-year-old background, which can be seen in their current text, too. However, in the written tradition of the Persian script, the dots are in the shape of a rhombus. Therefore, as rhombus dots in the Roman scripts gain attention and distort the readability of the text, the rhombus dots seem obvious in the Persian script.

Programming And Animation
Throughout Bahman’s career, the history of programming and animation is more ancient than the type design. He became familiar with programming languages during his adolescence and found the opportunity to learn Python programming language during his Type Media education.
His portfolio in the field of programming is a program that he has written for the designer, Karel Martens. This program converts the camera image into the designed icons by Karel. The output of this program is being used at the Guy’s Hospital in London of cancer patients. 
One of his works in the field of animation is also type-based which he considers his most enjoyable work. In this animation, which is the outcome of his collaboration with his college-mate, Jasper Terra, a performance of slang words (which has a similar culture to the Graffiti that is a street art) has been animated, and not with the most popular animation software, but only through programming.

As mentioned earlier, Bahman Eslami does not consider his career outside his experience in Iran. He constantly strives to present a responsible image of himself as an Iranian designer living in the Netherlands. His commitment to authenticity and identity in design is tangible in his design system. Bahman Eslami constantly puts himself on the face of new challenges and the outcome of these encounters is contemplative and professional output

 1 Letter.2, the 2nd Type Design Competition of the Association Typographique Internationale, has announced the winners of its competition to find the best typefaces of the last decade from around the world. December 20, 2010

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