Dubai became the first city in the world to have its own Microsoft Office font

Dubai remains ahead of the curve as the city of excess and iconic scenes with the launch of its very own font. The UAE city has recently released Dubai Font, a customized font inspired by the city and modernity. According to the font’s website, it “celebrates the union of heritage and innovation” and “promote[s] literacy, unity and forward thinking laced with tradition.”

The Dubai Font

Government bodies in the city have been told to use the font for all official correspondence, and it is only a matter of time before government websites will also make the change.

In partnership with Microsoft, the font comes with four weights and was specifically created to work with both Latin and Arabic Script. Microsoft has launched the font across its platforms, and is quoted to reach at least 180 countries and will be available in over 20 languages.

The font was released as a free update with Microsoft’s Office 365 applications, it can also be downloaded from here.

Dubai’s Crown Prince Hamdan bin Mohammed al-Maktoum has said that it is “a very important step for us as part of our continuous efforts to be ranked first in the digital world.” The city, which contains the tallest building in the world as well as the world’s largest shopping mall, continues to build a reputation for itself through excess and indulgence as well as being technologically forward and innovative.

Dubai Font Microsoft OfficeThe font’s release has been accompanied by the hashtag #ExpressYou, the website contains recent usage of the hashtag and it seems that it has been received well with the public. Dubai Font is described as “Designed to unite the world through the power of expression.”

Marketing hope and free speech

The Dubai font’s website describes the need for self-expression and that Dubai is providing the world with a “new tool to communicate with.” It states that it is a new global medium for self-expression, but how believable are those words when the UAE, the country the city is attached to, continues to draw criticism for its poor human rights and freedom of expression?

The Human Rights Watch (HRW), an international non-governmental organization that conducts research and advocacy on human rights, has continued to criticize the country for multiple transgressions and offences to international human rights. The HRW has stated that “The United Arab Emirates (UAE) often uses its affluence to mask the government’s serious human rights problems,” and jeopardizes free speech.

The font’s website is filled with claims of providing the world with a tool to communicate, that self-expression is a need we must fulfill and so on. The copywriting is geared strictly towards providing an outlook of modernity, innovation and self-expression, and local news agencies continue to provide positive feedback about the font without addressing the country’s problems.

Dubai City is a branded city, it holds onto a brand identity and image such as with any serious company. The font is simply another tool or piece of branded content for the city to use in efforts to distance itself from the allegations and bad press the country receives. So far, this PR move seems to have gone smoothly, with many already using the font.

Will its positivity help the city in the way it was intended to do or could it cause more harm in the long run? Let us know what you think in the comments.

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