We are pleased to announce the official release of the Alkalami (pronounced al-KA-la-mi) font. Alkǎlami is the local word for the Arabic “qalam”, a type of sharpened stick used for writing on wooden boards in the Kano region of Nigeria and in Niger, and what gives the style its distinct appearance. The baseline stroke is very thick and solid. The ascenders and other vertical strokes including the teeth are very narrow when compared to the baseline. A generous line height is necessary to allow for deep swashes and descenders, and the overall look of the page is a very black, solid rectangle. Diacritics are much smaller in scale, with very little distance from the main letters. The Latin style of the font was designed with long ascenders and descenders to better blend with the deep swashes of this specific style of writing Arabic. We believe this is the first digital typeface design based on handwritten manuscripts from Nigeria.

Work on this font was initially begun by Becca Hirsbrunner Spalinger in partial fulfillment for her MATD from the University of Reading. She received her degree “with distinction.” Since the initial design, the font has been tested and enhanced to better match the requirements for use in the Kano region.

Known Issues

No known issues.

Download the release packages from the Download Page.