October 3, 2019.   Word Shapes.

I want to know more about the Emirates typeface — the lettering the airline uses in its marketing, advertising, and so on. Who came up with it? Does it have a name? What is it meant to evoke?

It looks like this…

Or like this, as seen on a first class menu…

Typeface design has always been part of a carrier’s branding, but I’ve never seen an airline use a proprietary font with such devotion. At Emirates it’s everywhere: on the side of the plane, in its promotional literature, and on virtually every printed sign or notice. I was in the Emirates lounge in Johannesburg the other morning and even the little buffet placards used it.

It’s handsome and ultra-distinctive, with just a dash of — what can we call it? — exotic flair. Notice how the jaunty cant of the lowercase “e” and “a” synchs with the airline’s calligraphic logo. It’s a subtly powerful tool for communicating the Emirates identity, and I wish more airlines did this sort of thing.

Photos and thumbnail composite by the author.

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