Borna Izadpanah

The emergence of printing in Qajar Iran: an overlooked chapter of the history of Arabic-script printing

June 15, Saturday 13:00 – SALT Galata

This paper has two objectives: the first briefly considers some of the inadequacies in the existing literature – particularly those written in European languages – that generally claim to investigate the history of printing in the Arabic script or document printing in the Middle East. This discussion sets the context for the second and primary objective of this paper which is to explore the introduction of printing and typefounding in nineteenth-century Iran. A few scholars have focused on different aspects of print history in Iran (mainly printing with lithography); however, there seems to be little serious discussion of this subject from the perspective of typefounding within the wider context of Arabic-script printing. Yet, as will be shown, the under-studied history of printing in Iran reveals significant and pioneering achievements in Arabic-script printing and typefounding that began in the nineteenth century.


Borna Izadpanah is a typeface designer and researcher based in London. He holds an MA in Typeface Design from the University of Reading and an MA in Graphic Design from the London College of Communication. He is currently a PhD candidate at the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication, University of Reading. His doctoral research is funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council, under the auspices of the Design Star Doctoral Training Centre, and it focuses on the history of typographic representation of the Persian language.