The workshop introduced the basics of Arabic typography, type anatomy as well as highlighting the importance of two case studies in Arabic typography and bilingual communication design; (a) “Harmonization of Arabic and Latin Scripts” by Titus Nemeth and (b)” Arabic Type-Matchmaking” by Dr. Huda AbiFares. Participants reviewed both case studies to help them execute their final bilingual design (Arabic-Latin/English) projects (typographic-concentrated media outcomes).
The workshop invited different kinds of participants:
1. Interested graphic designers
2. Visual communication practitioners
3. Information designers
4. Design Educators
6. Interested Individuals with basic-to-intermediate drawing /or calligraphic skills
7. Interior Designers
Participants were first divided into a group of four. They chose one of the four main project options to work on in and out of class.
Participants’ final design project options:
1. Bilingual design projects of their choice (this can be logo design, package design, poster design, manuals, book design etc. but *must feature cultural symbols)
2. Symbols for local cultural themed board games or playing cards infused with bilingual texts
3. Bilingual signage with cultural symbols created for old heritage souks, or cultural themed cafes.
4. Envisioned Bilingual Signage in Kuwait (i.e road system, museums, malls, centers etc.) (*must feature cultural symbols)
Participants were introduced to the basic rules of the commonly used Arabic calligraphic styles to help them visualize and understand the writing direction, flow of Arabic text and the letter shapes and their visual patterns and structure as well as practice tracing letters. They were also exposed to an extensive variety of Arabic texts from various existing media – they worked closely with Arabic letters and arrange texts according to a set of typographic rules. They then worked on mindmaps to create their envisioned final projects. Various sketches of letters and drawings/symbols were later created and evidential visual research was displayed on electronic/print.
Break: 15 mins
Participants worked mainly with Arabic letterforms while using their own cultural symbols along the side. They studied different graphic design elements and techniques - including balance, sketching, colours, size, shape, weight, texture, value, lines and contrast. This was to create simple, clear and expressive cultural symbols along with bilingual texts that covey the message in an accessible way.
Critique session, group presentations, Printing, finalizing & installing design projects
Participants laying out typographic collages.
Outcome of Workshop
The worksho allowed participants to have a thorough understanding of the difference between Arabic calligraphy and typography. It allowed them to distinguish between writing, lettering and/or designing for type design. Participants gained the knowledge and skills needed to help understand the progressive transitional phase of a calligraphic practice to a typographic one. This was achieved by understanding how to develop Arabic letters from calligraphic sketches to typographic letterforms. Starting with the exploration of two known case studies to the use of different graphic design elements and techniques, participants were aware of how to develop effective and visual appealing symbols and practice arranging bilingual texts in complete harmony. Whether to gear up a personal project with the use of bilingual texts, to the creation of cultural symbols, or the fusion of both - this workshop helped explore a broad range of typographic and design techniques and elements. This was achieved to help rebrand an existing logo, a company’s identity, or establish a new design project. Towards the end of the session, participants expanded their understanding of how to overcome certain challenges encountered in the process of executing simple and creative symbols as well as bilingual design related projects through the case studies mentioned above.