Onur Yazıcıgil

The Ottoman printers’ 8 pt Naskh typeface and its Turkish type maker Mehmed Emin Efendi

November 5, Saturday 13:00 – Sakıp Sabancı Museum

This talk explores the 8 point (pt) naskh typeface created in Istanbul between 1870 and 1875 and utilized by Ottoman printers during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In the 1880s, Ottoman printed material began to display a more sophisticated typographic hierarchy, with the proliferation of typefaces in various styles and point sizes being the main reason for this visual development. The historical analysis of Ottoman Arabic typefaces reveals the existence of nine original naskh typefaces that were created and used from 1729 until the 1928 Turkish script reform. Among these nine fonts, the 8 pt naskh typeface distinguished itself by its size as the smallest Arabic type used by Ottoman printers, earning it a crucial role in page layout design. It was first utilized in the 1875 pocket book, Hilye-i Hakani. This study focuses on the visual and historical development of the 8 pt naskh typeface and sheds light on its creator, Mehmed Emin Efendi and uses archival documents to scrutinize the driving force for its creation.


Onur Yazıcıgil is an Istanbul-based typographer and design educator. Born in 1983, Onur spent his early years drawing letters in Dhahran and Ankara — early signs of a passion that led him to move to the States in 2006 to study the historical evolution of Latin sans-serif typefaces at Purdue University. After the completion of his MFA, he was recruited to teach at Sabancı University, where he designed his first text face, Duru Sans, which was acquired by Google, and developed Text Invader, a novel typographic intervention system. In addition to co-founding ISType in 2011, Onur served as a board member at ATypI from 2013-2019 and has lectured on numerous topics in the field of typography. In 2016, he embarked on a thesis exploring the history of Ottoman naskh typefaces at Mimar Sinan University, where he completed his PhD in 2020. Beyond working as an Assistant Professor at Sabancı University, Onur is regularly commissioned to design typefaces and multi-script typographic layouts.


November 5, 2022

09:00 — 10:00

Morning Coffee


Welcome Remarks: Meltem Müftüler Baç

The Dean of Sabancı University Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences


Welcome Remarks: Nazan Ölçer

Director, Sakıp Sabancı Museum


Gerry Leonidas

Arabic typography: a paradigm for research-informed practice


Titus Nemeth

Building bridges: the case for a book that straddles two worlds

11:30 — 12:00

Coffee Break


Orlin Sabev

The Ottoman transition from scribal to print culture: the layout of the Müteferrika prints


Emanuela Conidi

An approach to the study of Arabic foundry type


Onur Yazıcıgil

The Ottoman printers’ 8 pt Naskh typeface and its Turkish type maker Mehmed Emin Efendi

13:30 — 14:30

Lunch Break


Borna Izadpanah

Naskh types from Europe, Ottoman Empire, and Russia in nineteenth-century Iran and their legacy


Özlem Özkal

A curious case of Ottoman Typography: detached Arabic Letters

15:30 — 16:00

Coffee Break


Thomas Milo

Script grammar: a linguistic approach to digitising Islamic script


Ayşe Aldemir

Members of the Ottoman dynasty who were calligraphers


November 6 — 7, 2022

10:00 — 17:00

Borna Izadpanah & Rainer Erich Scheichelbauer

Arabic-script type design workshop: considering the past, designing for the present

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