Vectorizing Arabic Calligraphy

Feb 28, 2017

We commissioned a calligrapher in Beirut to design a logo containing both of our names, intertwined. A week later, we got the result via WhatsApp. Here’s the original picture:

Note the blue guide-lines and variations in the stroke thickness. I really wanted to make this last by preserving it digitally, so I loaded it into Adobe Illustrator and used the trace tool to convert the image bitmap into a vector.

Vectorized Version

After tweaking some of the threshold options and filtering out the blue gridlines, here’s the result:

****All-Black Vectorized****

*All-Black Vectorized*

****Vectorized with Accents in Gray****

*Vectorized with Accents in Gray*

The Difference

A regular image (like the one we received) is essentially a 2-dimensional grid, where each cell is a color value (often represented using red, green, blue, and alpha). Vectorized images, meanwhile, don’t use a grid and instead store the actual shapes in the image. Because of this distinction, vectorized images can be scaled up infinitely, while normal images will pixelate at higher dimensions:

****Original @ 10x Zoom****

*Original @ 10x Zoom*

****Vectorized @ 10x Zoom****

*Vectorized @ 10x Zoom*