The internet has become an important tool for commerce, communication, and recreation within the past couple of decades, but has not grown equally in all parts of the world. “Language” has been a critical determinant in the equation and Oteh Mushaweh, a young graphic designer and entrepreneur from Saudi Arabia, has found that it is one of the areas in which the Arabic online community was underserved.
Whereas internet users familiar with Latin-based alphabets have access to a wide range of different fonts, Mushaweh argues that the same cannot be said for Arabic. He says there are almost 500 Arabic fonts in use today but less then 10% of them are suitable for use on the web.
He has therefore set out to develop TypeStage, a service that will allow users to create and browse web content in various fonts that are more pleasant than the current ‘obligatory’ ones. That will, of course, further increase the use of Arabic web, he believes.
TypeStage works by allowing users to create an account and then add in websites that they manage. It currently supports Arabic, Urdu, and Persian, so users can enter in websites and then add various fonts to spruce up their sites.
At the moment, there are 3 fonts that users can choose from. The service is free for users who have less than 5K monthly pageviews and who only wish to add one new font, but $8 monthly for sites with up to 100K monthly pageviews and $60 monthly for sites with up to 2 million monthly pageviews.
The Syrian-born Mushaweh is no stranger to graphic design, having founded Logos Guide Studio in 2006 and then online magazine Logo Talks in 2010. This most recent project launched in November 2013, but does not yet have outside financial backing. They do not reveal information about total users, but he tells us that they have had a positive response from media, newspapers, websites, and others asking for this service.