By Tarek Atrissi
I have worked recently on designing a visual identity for Salon Joussour, a music event taking place in Korzo theater in The Hague in the Netherlands and consisting of six episodes ranging between concerts, workshops and lectures. Salon Jourssour’s aim is to create a kaleidoscope of music streaming from Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt, Iran, Turkey and Morroco; and crafting a bridge bonding Arabic and European ingenuity, through connecting renowned Dutch musicians with guest artists from the Arab world. An event that embodies the cross cultural spirit that we constantly try to embody in our design projects at Tarek Atrissi Design.
When discussing the event identity, the event organiser expressed his desire to truly visualize classical arabic music as a world of passion, poetry, nuances and details. To me this description seemed similarly applicable to the world of Arabic calligraphy and lettering, which was adopted then as a main element in the logo and identity design. The event name “Salon Joussour” has been rendered in a calligraphic cloud-like shape inspired by the musical language. It overlapped and engaged with the black and white photographs of the of the Salon musician artists to connect their body language with their instruments.
The first two salons in April featured Palestinian Ud player Ahmad Al Khatib and Riq player Youssef Hbeisch. The upcoming salon will feature Lebnaese singer Rima Khcheich on June the 8th.
More about Salon Joussour on their facebook page.
by Tarek Atrissi
After several month of hard work, the new branding for al-Jazeera’s Children Channel (JCC) saw the light, under the new name: Jeem Television – تلفزيون جيم. I have been privileged to be involved in this project right from the brainstorming phase for finding the channel’s new name- all the way to fully designing the logo of the new brand as well as the custom bilingual Latin and Arabic typefaces for print and on air usage. A logo design and a type family that I am very proud to add to our portfolio at Tarek Atrissi Design.
“Jeem” is an arabic letter that is the first letter of “Al Jazeera” word, the pan Arab news satellite channel behind the children channel. Working with simply one arabic letter was very challenging for creating the logo, yet it was an interesting challenge as it involved crafting a unique lettering for the “Jeem” (ج) arabic letter. Weeks of sketching explored various lettering approaches to present the isolated form of Jeem in a graphic rendering that makes it “owned” as a brand logo mark.
The final adopted logo design was based on a hand sketch I developed during the sketching phase. The typographic logo had a calligraphic quality and a particularly rounded diacritic dot that became an important part of the brand elements.
The logo took quickly a life as part of the larger visual identity- and was to be seen in various applications directly after the launch: on screen, in giant installations for kids, on interactive screens and of course broadcasting on air. The most exciting part about designing a logo for a TV channel is probably seeing the logo in motion as part of the various animations and indents that are constantly produced for the channel.
In addition to the logo, I have designed a custom exclusive typeface for the TV channel to be used as the brand typographic voice. The new font inspiration started on the basis of the skeletons of a previous unfinished arabic typeface project I worked on in the past; which was further developed as a start for creating the signature / wordmark underneath the logo icon. This arabic lettering, adjusted to be more rounded and complementary to the circular elements in the jeem letter, was the basis to create a matching Latin logo signature. This defined the starting point of the style for the bilingual typeface designed and developed further: characterized by short ascenders and descenders and considered for arabic screen legibility.
Designing for the children industry is actually often very challenging and requires a delicate study for this specific complex target group. This project has been a wonderful opportunity to gain experience further in this industry, particularly because of the larger project group that provided valuable expertise on designing for children: JCC team with their substantial experience to produce content; as well as kids industries and their specialized research and marketing strength. We added to our credentials at Tarek Atrissi Design a new design project in the Middle East / GCC area targeted at the needs of modern Arab children, through a television channel that aims to be loved by children and trusted by parents.
Further images from the logo and type used as part of the new visual identity can be seen in the images included below.
Jeem TV custom typefaces as soon on screen of the children television of Al Jazeera network
Jeem TV logo by Tarek Atrissi Design
Logo design of Jeem TV used on various print and interactive applications
by Tarek Atrissi
Last week I was interviewed by Al Jazeera TV network in my office in holland. The interview is part of a special documentary the major Arab satellite network is producing. Details to come soon; photos of the making of the interview are shown in this post. The interview focused on specific design areas such as branding and Arabic typography.
By Tarek Atrissi
Over a period of 10 month, I was involved in one of the most exciting design projects I have worked on to date. The Victoria & Albert museum commissioned us at Tarek Atrissi Design to produce the graphics for their first major contemporary photography exhibition about the Middle East. “Light from the Middle East: New Photography” (November 2012- April 2013) featured over 90 works by some of the most exciting artists across the region. This was an exciting projects for several reasons: On one hand, museums have been one of my favorite clients because they bring a strong cultural flavor to each project they need. On the other hand, working on exhibition design became in the last few years a key focus in my studio, particularly for exhibitions related to the Arab culture. Exhibition design involves a challenging combination of 2D graphics and a three-dimensional space understanding; A couple of large museum projects we are currently involved in have given us a valuable experience in this sector.
The V&A was keen on bringing through the exhibition and space design an authentic flavor of the Middle East to the exhibition space that reflects the theme of the artwork on display. As a designer, I am strongly against the typical clichés often wrongly associated with the Middle East in a design context, and that is why I wanted to create a design language that truly reflects the reality of the region today (read my article on Arabic design clichés). That is why I turned to the “street” as a main source of inspiration. By applying the concept of “Recording, Reframing, Resisting” in a typographic context, I used a documented hand-lettered street sign in Beirut to deconstruct its visual typographic elements and use these as a main ingredient for the design. The calligraphic / lettering style on that sign was recreated with the exhibition title in Arabic, and by cropping and reframing it, the large murals of the exhibition space were designed and produced.
Once defined, the concept was carried to the detailed design stage where the typographic abstract elements were integrated in the space as part of the huge murals within the exhibition. The negative and positive space of the Arabic letters created the opportunity to play further with the concept of light and in providing different perspectives in looking at different areas within the exhibition space. The material was carefully selected to work with the construction foundations of the exhibition design and the final 2D graphics integrated within the 3D design and was detailed and finalized for production in the tender document provided to the fabricator.
The final exhibition space was very typographic, using arabic letters as forms in very large scale while remaining subtle and not overshadowing the art on display. The main entrance of the exhibition consisted of multiple layers of Latin and Arabic typography that combined to give the exhibition its own recognizable style. Urban typography was brought from the street to the museum. Most important, it helped reflecting an accurate visualizing of the real landscape of the Middle East today.
Previews from the exhibition space and the design process and production are shown in the photo gallery below.
The main mural of the exhibition space combined layers of Arabic and Latin typography that mixed together and created an interesting effect of light and shadow inside the exhibition
Sketches from the concept design phase for the exhibition design for the Middle Eastern contemporary photography exhibition at the V&A museum in London
Main mural seen from the inside of the gallery space, with the layer of Latin typography showing behind the Arabic typographic layer
Exhibition and typographic murals under construction during the space production
Intro panel for the exhibition’s main sections
Tarek Atrissi’s interview featured on BBC, during which he explained his design concept and process for the Light From the Middle East exhibition and 2D graphics at the V&A museum in London.
by Tarek Atrissi
Every year, the Arab Thoughts Foundation hosts FIKR, an annual conference that takes place in a different Arab capital, and during which thinkers, researchers, decision-makers and intellectuals from across the Arab world meet to treat a major subject or pressing issue facing the region. Ten successful conferences were organized by the foundation to date- yet the graphic visualization of most of these previous events were weak and never really reflected the ambitions or cultural values the foundations stands for. The foundation approached us at Tarek Atrissi Design to help lift the visual identity of the 11th FIKR conference, planned in Dubai. I was very excited to work on this project because it is the exact type of graphic design project I have always been interested in: Its main ingredients are cultural, Arabic, intellectual and social.
The topic of this year’s conference was “Citizens and Government: Future vision”. This was a very challenging theme to be visualized due to its abstract nature. This was my chance to follow a typographic solution for the conference branding, because I always believe that typography is one of the most efficient tools to visualize complex themes. My goal was to work with Arabic typography in a graphic level that raises up to the Foundation’s deep interest in Arab core identity.
The typographic concept focused on linking the two keywords of the conference theme: “Citizen” and “Government”. A geometric custom lettering crafted this typographic and metaphoric relationship to create a composition that names the event’s title yet that worked as a composition in itself; A typographic composition that became the main element for the visual identity of the event, used in a consistent manner on printed and digital material for the conference’s branding.
Previews of the visual identity created for the 11th FIKR conference held in Dubai in November 2012 are shown above. A simple yet bold and recognizable identity exploring the potential of arabic lettering in a branding context.
by Tarek Atrissi
I am very honored to be one of the judges for the 59th TDC Annual International Communication Design competition, TDC59. The judging will take place in New York in January 2013.
The yearly competition organized by the Type Directors Club has been an internationally acknowledged event for promoting the best typographic work from around the glob. This year’s judges include apanel of distinguished designers including Rietje Becker, Andrew Byrom, Aaron Draplin, Irina Lee, Craig Ward and Alyce Waxman.
I am proud to be involved as a judge in the Type Director’s Club competition, especially after being a previous winner of this competition by receiving the TDC’s Certificate of Typographic excellence few years back. I highly recommend every designer to submit their best work produced in 2012 to the many categories of the competition. It is wonderful opportunity to give good design and typographic work a valuable international exposure. Details on submitting work can be found on the following link of the TDC website.
Other international competitions that I have been in the past on their jury panel include the Adobe Design Achievement Award in the United States and the Magdalena Festival in Maribor, Slovenia.