Wael Morcos and Khajag Apelian’s Beautiful Plex Arabic Wins a Pencil

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When IBM started brainstorming a new typeface for their brand, they sought to create a workhorse that was steeped in and honored both their values and their long design legacy.

The solution? A well-crafted grotesque: IBM Plex. As the company details, “Plex is just as important as our name or our logo. It fine-tunes the tone of our words. It represents who we are and what we believe—as a company and as designers. Every decision was made with purpose; every detail has a reason for being.”

Furthermore, “Living up to our name—International Business Machines—meant thinking globally right from the start.”

IBM has since released Plex in more than 100 languages—including the cornerstone Plex Arabic, which just took home a wooden pencil in the D&AD Awards. Wael Morcos (a 2015 PRINT New Visual Artist) of Morcos Key and Khajag Apelian designed the face, with creative direction by Mike Abbink and type engineering by Bold Monday.”

“Plex Arabic was designed to complete IBM’s corporate font families,” Morcos Key writes. “Inspired by the Paul Rand IBM logo, the design echoes the company’s design ethos: an organic mix of engineered and humanistic shapes. The design of the Arabic translates centuries of calligraphic conventions to a modern typographic context.”

One more key thing about Plex—it’s free. Completely. Get Plex Arabic and all other variants on Github, and read much more about the development of the face here.

In the meantime, here’s a closer look at the award-winning Plex Arabic.