The Dubai government unveiled a new typeface called "Dubai font" on Sunday (30 April). It is the world's first typeface developed by Microsoft for a specific city. Available in both Latin and Arabic script, the new font will be available in 23 languages with UAE officials urging all government institutions to adopt it in all official correspondence.
"The launch of the Dubai Font to the world is a very important step for us as part of our continuous efforts to be ranked first in the digital world," Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the crown prince of Dubai, said in a statement. "We are confident that this new font and its unique specifications will prove popular among other fonts used online and in smart technologies across the world.
"Therefore, we urge all government entities to use the Dubai Font in their official correspondence, which is considered as a positive shift that will boost the emirate's competitiveness in smart technology."
In a tweet, Sheikh Hamdan said the font is a "unique project that reflects [the] heritage and culture of UAE and reaches out to the whole world."
The video said: "Expression knows no boundaries or limits. Expression is strength and freedom. It defines who you are."
Sheikh Hamdan noted that the Dubai font will also create an "attractive business environment that will boost emirate's economy".
The Executive Council of Dubai, headed by the crown prince, said the font is the first one to be created by a city and named after it. The council said the new typeface falls in line with the United Arab Emirates' vision "to become a regional and global leader in innovation".
Designed by Dr Nadine Chahine, the Dubai font was created in collaboration with a team from global agency Monotype to full "fills a design gap between Arabic and Latin texts and presents harmonious typefaces combining the two scripts seamlessly".
Samer Abu Ltaif, president of Microsoft in the Middle East and Africa, said the font will be available to more than 100 million Office 365 users across the globe.
"The debut of this font is a great example of successful collaborations between the public and private sectors to encourage reading and adopt more technical solutions to serve the communities," Ltaif said. "This reinforces the vision of Dubai, which aims to become one of the most inclusive cities, as well as Microsoft's vision to provide better fonts to the world that are accessible to everyone."
Although the UAE, of which Dubai is a part, has pushed to extend its reach and appeal as a leader in innovation and technology, the Middle Eastern nation has been criticised for its restrictions on freedom of speech.
According to the Human Rights Watch, the UAE "often uses its affluence to mask the government's serious human rights problems".
Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of HRW's Middle East and North Africa division, told The New York Times: "What's missing from Dubai's new motto is a little asterisk with fine print, 'Except that anyone who says something the emirs don't like goes to jail.'"