It might not have had the lights, cameras and massive public relations machine that accompanied the "Dubai Font" launch today, but Amman created its own font way back in 2010.
According to an article on "FontCast" development on the "FF Amman Serif TypeFace" began in 2008, when the "young type designer and multimedia artist Yanone visited Amman, the capital of Jordan, to develop a multiscript Latin-Arabic type family. His collaboration with the local design agency Syntax took place at the occasion of the preparations for centenary celebrations of the metropolis. In merely a few weeks Yanone succeeded in enhancing the type family with innovations previously unheard of in digital Arabic type design. Today his extended family has become the “corporate typeface” for Amman."
Syntax, which decribes itself as "Amman's best kept secret", partnered with the Office of the Mayor of Amman and Greater Amman Municipality on the project during the time of the centenrary celebrations in the capital. At the time, the "FF Amman Font" was described by the firm as one of the "largest bilingual font families ever."
In October 2010, Ahmad Humeid the CEO of Syntax wrote the following: "As far as I know there have not been any attempts yet to create an exclusive type family for the Arab capital. The concept of branding a city is pretty novel in these latitudes; merely a handful of projects have originated, primarily in the Gulf region. To be able to develop a type family for a capital like Amman was like a dream come true. But at the prospect of the centenary celebrations the stars seemed perfectly aligned for a project like this. We knew Yanone as a talented and motivated trainee through the exchange program with German Bauhaus students. In addition we had Hussein Alazaat on board, an in-house designer who has a great passion for traditional Arab calligraphy. And last but certainly not least, we met an open-minded and forward-looking team from the client, the Greater Amman Municipality, led by a mayor who valued design and was very aware of its strategic importance."
While it may not be on Office 365 quite yet, first past the post means something for one of the Middle East's most creative, but sometimes overlooked, capital cities.
You can find more information on the story behind Amman's first typeface on FontFeed, here.