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Frank,

Javier explained the idea somehow. I'm going into complete explanation
here. Please ask for clarification if there are ambiguities.

In Persian, we usually do not have the three classic families. In Iran,
there is rarely a need for typewriter style, that's only used for Latin
texts, and in the case they really need to show Persian on the screen,
they use screenshots. Also, I know only three non-bitmap typewriter fonts,
and the only almost-free one is MS Courier. I use one of the other two
when writing a manual, but I'm among the few who use such a thing.

We also do not have equivalents of serif and sans-serif, there are fonts
that have few details, using simple curves. They are usually called
"Traffic"-like ("Traffic" is a font family itself, so that's somehow
like saying "helvetica"-like, and is usually used for text on traffic
signs). But we can't classify them according to this, because there is a
spectrum between traffic for example, and things like "Lotus" and
"Linotron" that are equivalents of serif fonts and are used widely for
normal text.

In the absense of that model, designers choose some families (for
a mathematical book, I've seen from as few as one, to as many as six or
seven), and specify that this heading or that caption should come out as
in this family and that shape and size.

Also, there's no "bx" (only "b"), there's no "sc" (no replacement), and
usually there's no "it". Designers like to use real italics (known as
"iranic" here, because they tend to left instead of right), but only a
few families also have an italic companion with them (they are usually
considered different families by vendors here, and there is "Azin" and
"Iranic Azin" for example). Because of this, sometimes people use an
Iranic font from one family, and an upright font from another. BTW, people
have forgotten that there exist real italics, and use slanted and
backslanted fonts (with the name of "iranic" when it tends to left, and
"italic" when it tends to left).

Because of this lack of option, outline and shaded-outline shapes are used
much more in technical books, sometimes together with slanted and
backslanted. The model that is used in available Persian software,
modeled from how designers think, is something like this:

family        weight             shape
------        ------             -----
normal        medium             upright
italics       bold               slanted
some others   outline            backslanted
              shaded-outline

This the Persian model only. Then you need Latin. For each of the styles
that also may contain Latin text, they should use an equivalent fonts
that goes with it. There are some difficulties here also, one of them
being the different direction and hence different slants: there are few
backslanted Latin fonts, so you need to use slanted or italic Latin with
backslanted Persian (which is as ugly as any backslanted font in any
script).

I think you have some ideas now.

--roozbeh