The advances in digital type design have allowed for the mechanization, stylization, and standardization of traditionally handwritten letterforms and calligraphy. In recent years, there has been great interest in the design of font families that include not only characters from the Roman alphabet, but from Cyrillic, Greek, and Arabic alphabets as well.
Nadine Chahine graduated from the American University of Beirut with a degree in graphic design, and during her studies there she became interested in Arabic typography. In 2003 she received a master's degree in typeface design from the University of Reading, where she studied under Gerard Unger and the renowned French type designer Jean François Porchez. While studying there, she concentrated on congruous relationships between Latin and Arabic scripts.
Koufiya was designed by Chahine in 2003 as part of her MA project at the University of Reading, UK and later released by Linotype in 2007. It is the first typeface to include a matching Arabic and Latin designed by the same designer at the same time with the intention of creating a harmonious balance between the two scripts. The Arabic part is based on the Early Kufi style popular in the 7th to 10th century AD. It is characterized by a strong horizontal baseline, horizontal stacking order, clear and open counters, and a general open feeling. Though based on the earliest styles on Arabic manuscript, the design paradoxically appears quite modern and fresh. The Latin part of Koufiya recalls a Dutch influence in its shallow top arches and rather squarish proportions. Both Arabic and Latin parts have been carefully designed to maintain the same optical size, weight, and rhythm. However, no sacrifices were made to make them appear closer to each other. They are designed so that they work well together on the printed page, and to make sure that the two scripts are harmonious when they are mixed together even if within the same paragraph. The font includes support for Arabic, Persian, and Urdu. It also includes proportional and tabular numerals for the supported languages.
Today she works at Linotype GmbH in Germany, designing custom Arabic fonts for international clients. Her typefaces include Koufiya (a dual-script font family, Latin and Arabic), Arabic versions of Latin typefaces, such as Frutiger Arabic, Neue Helvetica Arabic, and Palatine Arabic, as well as new Arabic fonts,
including Janna and Badiya.