Arabic typography in a modern world. – Reem Qushmaq.

I have always had an interest in the form of Arabic alphabet characters, as Arabic is the language of communication, where I come from. Arabic Calligraphy is one of the basic elements of Islamic art in the past. its historical content is what I guess makes it appealing to me. Nowadays, it has become more modernized to its use, graphic designers approach, is to design to a digital era, which makes it difficult, as Arabic script beauty is through its handwritten by calligraphers in the past. so having to modernize the Arabic type without losing its authenticity, is what makes it challenging. 

The graphic designer Tarek Atrissi, one of the recognized designer in the Arab design field. He has gained an international reputation for his graphic work and has received prestigious awards and honors through his design career. He established in 2000 his Netherlands-based design studio, Tarek Atrissi Design. The studio’s typographic and cross-cultural design approach produced projects that left a significant influence on the contemporary graphic design landscape in the Middle East. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design with distinction from the American University of Beirut; a Masters of Arts in Interactive Multimedia from the Utrecht School of the Arts in Holland; and an MFA in Design Entrepreneurship from the School of Visual Arts in New York. He holds as well a postgraduate degree in Typeface Design from the type@cooper program of the Cooper Union New York.[3]


A work of his that stood out to me is a poster that he created for Across Borders. Across Borders is a multicultural and multilingual collective exhibition on the power of design to break borders. The program invited fifteen prestigious designers and graphic artists from Iraq, Egypt, Lebanon, Singapore, Taiwan, Korea, Ukraine, and Barcelona to collaborate on creating a series of posters that support freedom of movement and explores the limits of the world we live in, establishing an intercultural dialogue, exploring our origins and celebrating our cultural mestizaje.[2]

The poster design by Tarek Atrissi is entitled “Typographic Connections”: We break borders by creating connections; and this typographic piece celebrates the connections created among designers through creativity, using the word “Tawasul” in Arabic, a symbolic word that means to draw close, to connect, to communicate. The design was printed in one ink silkscreen, and overlaid randomly on another design, creating an unexpected final design resulting from a collaborative experimental process.[2]

Including the middle east side of the graphic design, would have shown how it’s developing and gotten modernized to its content, also getting introduced to designers from that part of the world would have been. Typography is a huge part of middle eastern identity.

Work Cited:

“Modernizing Arabic Type for a Digital Audience – Library.” Google Design, [1]

“Across Borders Poster: Tarek Atrissi Design: The Netherlands.” Tarek Atrissi Design, 19 Jan. 2018, [2]

“About Tarek Atrissi Design Studio. Biography Tarek Atrissi.” Tarek Atrissi Design, [3]

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