As a writer and a partially professional graphic designer, I often face the dilemma of Farsi text on a computer.
As I am sure many of you know what I’m talking about and have experienced the problem. The various versions of the Farsi font with all the serifs and ligatures that are required, simply has not been as easy to read online as you’d think it should be by now.
This is because Iranian font designers (is there one?) have until now not spent the time to design a fully functional Farsi font that was optimized for the web or the computer screen.
The relatively low resolution of the computer screen (only 72 dots per inch) versus the traditional higher print resolution (300 dpi and greater) have made this too hard, and most have simply been porting over the traditional print version fonts to the web, without working on them to increase their quality and legibility on-screen and on-line.
The BBC site (leave it to the BBC) has recently started using a font that is an absolute pleasure to read, I am putting up a sample of it, but you really need to go to the site to see for yourselves.
This is an equivalent to the English Arial or it looks a bit more rounded, so let’s say Arial Rounded to be fair, but still there is a tremendous improvement in overall readability.
The other thing I like about this font, is that they seem to have solved the spacing problem that often plagues Farsi language sites using the old bad fonts. Words seem to be cut off or an extra space inserted where it shouldn’t be, that causes you to re-read or pause, or skip ahead or back to check the context to see if it was done on purpose or is the spacing problem. No such problems now with this BBC font!
This revelation also proves once again, that while we may be lagging behind in many areas, eventually we catch up. Let’s hope this 20 year delay in font technology can apply to governance systems!