Released today from Die Gestalten Verlag (home of Los Logos, my favourite logo bible trilogy), Arabesque: Graphic Design from the Arab World and Persia closely explores an area of modern graphic design frequently overlooked in recent times in the West, but now rapidly gaining recognition as the international design community happily succumbs to globalisation and becomes more aware of ‘elsewhere’. (NB: I dislike ever using the East/West label as I believe it to be no longer applicable in this day and age. This one exception will have to be allowed in context.) Collecting samples of recent groundbreaking designs and innovations based on the foundation of centuries of dynamic history and culture in the Middle East, Arabesque literally and visually illustrates the current creative potential in graphic and logo design, modern calligraphy and illustration in countries such as Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Lebanon in the 21st Century. In addition, a film interview feature is also available for viewing entertainment and the book’s official site has a host of beautiful photos taken in Cairo during the editors’ stay there in 2006 (example above), font samples, page previews, and a blog that is forthcoming.

I must admit that this is all rather exciting: having acquired my mom’s love for Arabic calligraphy at a very early age, ‘arabesque’ typographic elements have never ceased to enthrall me. Nor have they ever failed to manifest themselves in either my brand design or fine art work in one way or another. Looking at the previews of this book, I am reminded by the style of one of my favourite artists/graphic designers Nermine Hammam, owner of Equinox Graphics and creator of the Diwan Bookshop brand portfolio. Equally so, jewelry designer Azza Fahmy’s intricate calligraphic detail in her uniquely beautiful metalwork immediately comes to mind (refer to this post published previously). Also supplemented by descriptive texts of the artist/designer work-spaces and surrounding environments, Arabesque includes a CD-ROM with Arabic-inspired Latin typeface created by Ben Wittner and Sascha Thoma (the eps51 design team). Edited by Ben Wittner, Sascha Thoma and Nicolas Bourquin, this hardcover volume looks to be the next 192 colourful pages to be added to the home library…

Sarah Badr © MMVIII

See also: Arabesque (Book’s Official Site)

Talib Type Project

eps51 Graphic Design Studio

Khatt Foundation – Center for Arabic Typography

The Townhouse Gallery, Cairo

Los Logos Project


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