Bahrain National Museum Visual Identity

by Tarek AtrissiLogo design by Tarek Atrissi Design for the Bahrain National Museum, as part of the special branding celebrating the  25 year anniversary of the museum

2013 has been a great year for us at Tarek Atrissi Design. We got the chance this past year to work on some fascinating design projects. Several projects were direct commissions by various museums in the Middle East. One of these museums was the Bahrain National Museum, the very first museum that opened in the Arabian Gulf region. This year, the museum celebrated its 25th anniversary, and for this occasion we were asked to kick off a branding for the museum and design its graphic visual identity.

branding for bahrain national museum. Logo design system, by Tarek Atrissi Design. تصميم شعار والهوية البصرية لمتحف البحرين الوطني

The iconic architecture of the museum was our main inspirational for the project. The building, designed by the Danish architecture firm KHR arkitekter in 1987, consists of three cubical structures attached to each other. The squarish floorplan of the building was the basis of the graphic element we adopted for the logo. The three Arabic words of the museum name were designed in a square kufi Arabic calligraphy style to fill in the squarish forms in the logo. The result is a very recognisable typographic logo for the museum that draws a visual similarity to the museum’s iconic architecture- and a logo that is the basis of an identity system further developed for the museum.

design process for the logo design and visual identity for the Bahrain National Museum: based on the iconic architecture of the museum and the floor plan of the building, the main graphic element of the logo was created and filled with a geometric Arabic square Kufi calligraphy

The logo was revealed in the special 25 years celebration of the museum earlier this month. In addition to the branding- we have designed a special bilingual publication that showcased an overview of all the exhibitions that took place in the museum since its start until today.

Bahrain's Minister of Culture Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa presenting a specially packed edition of our publication design to the Crown Prince of Bahrain, Sheikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa. "The Bahrain National Museum: 25 Years in Perspective"

Bahrain’s Minister of Culture Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa presenting a specially packed edition of our publication design to the Crown Prince of Bahrain, Sheikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa. “The Bahrain National Museum: 25 Years in Perspective”

Why design fails: the new 50.000 Lebanese Lira banknote design

by Tarek Atrissi

To celebrate the 70th anniversary of Lebanon’s independence, Lebanon’s Central Bank issued a 50.000 Lebanese Lira banknote, uniquely designed to commemorate the occasion. The new design, released a week before independence day, was heavily criticized by the public, particularly on social media. Most of the critical opinions on the new design were short, personal, and did not go deeper than the surface: some voiced their negative opinion about the visual aesthetics of the banknote and its clutter of effects and colors, calling it a “Photoshop massacre”. Others were shocked how the banknotes had spelling and grammatical mistakes. Many joked about the bad design and creatively looked at it with a sarcastic eye to reflect their disapproval of it and make fun of the incompetence of the Lebanese government.

Lebanese banknote design by the central bank of lebanon : a failure and a good example of bad design. Design critical review by tarek atrissi

All these reactions are for a good reason: the design is by all means one big failure. It is mainly a failure by the government to understand design, as a profession and as a practice. What is needed in my opinion is a clear and elaborate explanation why the design of this new banknote is a failure: a chance maybe to educate our government about design and to provide constructive criticism that can help avoid such pitfalls in the future.

Judging design is not a matter of pointing the “ugly” from the “beautiful”. In my analysis of this design I will leave the aesthetic visual judgment till the very end- assuming that this can be a relative matter depending on personal taste. I will look as a start at all other aspects of design besides “beauty”, to explain the failure of the banknote design.

Let’s start by “design function”: Every design has a function and is conceived to serve a very specific purpose. The function of this design was to celebrate independence day. Obviously the core purpose of this function has been lost since the banknote became the talk of the town for all the wrong purposes, its inappropriate design solution. The government’s goal to highlight the positive aspects of Lebanon’s independence ended up being the public’s joke about everything that is wrong in Lebanon since its independence.

The other basic function of this banknote design is, of course, being a piece of money to be used. The most basic requirement in money is clearly showing the “number” associated with it, to allow its user to know its value. Ironically enough, the number 70- referencing to the seventy years of independence- is larger and more prominent than the number 50, which refers to the currency’s value of 50.000 L.L. This is a disorder of information hierarchy that can be very confusing for the user: how would a tourist, not necessarily familiar with our money system, avoid being confused by the different numbers on one single bank note? How would this design deliver information clearly and quickly without the slightest risk of misunderstanding, especially when it is a new banknote the market is not familiar with?

Let’s look as well at another important aspect of design: design process. Design is not simply a matter of coming up with a great idea. It is actually a series of steps that carries an idea into becoming a product. A design process consists of conceptualizing, designing, finalizing and producing. A professional design team will go successfully through all these stages and will ensure that the end result is as complete as it should be and free of mistakes. Even the greatest ideas will risk failing if not executed properly. I talk about the design process to explain that the spelling and grammatical mistakes in the banknote’s new design are not simply “accidental mistake” that could just “simply happen”: they are mistakes that result from certain faux pas in the design process. The notes had two outrageous mistakes: the first one being the wrong spelling of the French word “indépendance” – which was wrongly spelled in its English spelling on the French-language side of the banknote (Lebanon being officially a bilingual Arabic-French country). The second mistake is an Arabic grammatical mistake, caused by the wrong placement of the “fatha” accent mark on the “sad” letter in the word “masraf” instead the “meem” letter. This simple misplacement mistake ironically changes the meaning of the word “Lebanon Central Bank” – مَصرف لبنان- to something like “Lebanon did not spend” مٓ صٓرف لبنان.

Such mistakes would never occur if a healthy and professional design process were adopted. Following each step of the process, it is impossible for a professional designer to understand how such mistakes went unnoticed. It is common practice that when a design is approved, it is signed-off upon after reviewing every single detail. Once it is sent to the printing press, a printed mock up is sent by the printer back to the design team for a final check and a final approval, prior approving it for mass production. The claim of the Lebanese Central Bank that the French spelling mistake is caused by the printing press doesn’t provide a convincing explanation: blaming the printing press for a spelling mistake is simply the oldest trick in the book. The design team has to always approve the sample print provided by the press. A professional printing press doesn’t print mass quantities before a final check and a final signed approval. Nothing can explain on the other hand the Arabic grammatical mistake. This happened purely out of lack of proper understanding of Arabic and could have been easily avoided by having an Arabic copywriter or linguistic check the spelling and details of the very few Arabic words used on the note before sending it off to print. Bottom line: mistakes are easily avoided in design if the right and basic process is followed, and if obvious checking steps that are common practice in the field are followed. When printing a simple business card for personal use, at least three rounds of content checking will avoid the possibility of any mistake. How can printing national money not follow even more strict reviewing rules?

Let’s look as well at “design features”, which are the characteristics of a specific design to make it serve its function better or enhance its overall performance. The design of the new Lebanese banknote included an additional tactile printing technique that will help visually impaired people know the monetary value of the banknote. While such initiative is highly welcomed; one can’t help but question the necessity of it in this particular context: this is a limited edition banknote made for a very specific occasion and in a limited run. Is making it usable for the blind really a priority? Wouldn’t it be better to make such features part of the regular banknotes so that visually impaired people can actually use the money they require daily without any confusion? This design feature seems then not needed or practical and seems simply added to the design for the wrong reasons: Lebanon has no basic infrastructure whatsoever for the visually impaired people, such as accessible pedestrian signals or any environmental navigation support; which seems the first priority needed before even thinking about the blind using banknotes independently. Let alone that having a tactile feature for only one banknote and not all of them is definitely not a usable solution (you would need change for your 50.000, right?). It is ironic as well that the design tries to take the blind into consideration- yet fails to take the people who can “see” into consideration, by presenting them a design full of mistakes and full of wrong visual choices.

Which leads me finally to the “visual aspect” of the design. It is obvious from what I mentioned above that the design team of the new banknote and the management coordinating it are by far inexperienced in the design sector. It is not a surprise then that one can’t expect much out of the “visual design” qualities of such a team: when even the basics of a design process are misunderstood; and when the basic function of design terms are ignored- it is safe to assume that whoever was involved in this design does not have the right background to create a basic decent design for the banknote- let alone a cutting edge visual design. As a matter of fact, it is logical that the visual aspect of the design is poor and looks rather an amateur work. Every professional graphic designer can agree on this. The color harmony is off; the typographic effects are outdated and cheap; the overall appearance doesn’t reflect the serious context of the note; the composition is weak and unattractive and the different illustrative and typographic elements are randomly placed next to each other.

There are a lot of reasons why this design fails besides the fact that it is not “beautiful”. One thing is for sure: this banknote is without a doubt a valuable collector’s item. I will be the first to try to get it and keep it in my design collection. It will be a classic case study of the importance of design and the pitfalls of underestimating it.

I am not the kind of person that criticizes the work of other designers easily. I know that even the smallest design jobs are difficult, and I actually don’t blame the designer behind this banknote for this failure. It is the management at the Lebanese Central Bank that holds the responsibility of such design failure: they failed to allocate the right design team for this and to manage the process accordingly and create the right professional set up for the job. They failed to implement a strict process and policy that will ensure reaching good final design results: something that the bank has certainly managed to do successfully in the past when they produced iconic designs for the old Lebanese banknotes that were used in the early eighties and earlier.

Designing good banknotes is absolutely not an easy task. The Lebanese Central Bank underestimated it- and hopefully the negative publicity generated by this outrageous design result will impose more serious steps towards allocating such jobs to the right design team in the future. Such design failure can only be avoided when the appropriate professional design party is assigned to do the job. The process of assigning and selecting the design team to undertake such a job should be the starting point that needs re-evaluation, in order to ensure better results in the future. A group of design consultants should be asked for advice to set clear steps defining the process of hiring the right design group to design and produce any new banknote.

Where to find such consultants? I advise the governor of the Central Lebanese Bank to take a walk to the campus of the American University of Beirut, a 10 minute walk from his office in Hamra: AUB has been the first university in the Middle East to introduce a graphic design program 20 years ago. The university has graduated designers that have excelled internationally in the field of design, giving Lebanese design a very strong reputation in the Arab world. Other Arab governments – and even European and American governments – have regularly commissioned professional Lebanese graphic designers for some of the most complex and challenging national and governmental jobs: the results have often been outstanding. Lebanon has certainly the right and professional design talent. It lacks unfortunately the proper governmental body that knows where to find it.

Beirut born Tarek Atrissi is an award winning & internationally acclaimed graphic designer, running his Netherlands based-office design studio, Tarek Atrissi Design. He is a graduate of the School of Visual Arts in New York and has been regularly working with various governmental bodies in Europe and the Arab world on multidisciplinary design projects.  

Tarek Atrissi Design featured in “Design Firms Open for Business”

by Tarek Atrissi

Tarek Atrissi Design featured in the design book: "Design firms open for business" by Lita Talarico and Steven Heller . inside more than 40 top design studio fro around the world

Tarek Atrissi Design is featured in the design book “Design Firms Open for Business”, the latest design book by Lita Talarico and Steven Heller, published by Allworth Press. The book provides insights and images of the inner workings of more than 40 acclaimed design firms from around the world.

A varied selection of our studio’s work is featured in the book, as well as photos of our working environment in our Netherlands based office. An interview with Tarek Atrissi addresses the approach and philosophy of our design and business culture at Tarek Atrissi Design, as well as the history of the studio’s working life since it was registered back in 2001 and its development over the years.

Arabic Graphic design studio featured in international design book - Tarek Atrissi Design, The Netherlands

“Design Firms Open for Business” can be ordered on Amazone on the following link:

http://www.amazon.com/Design-Firms-Business-Steven-Heller/dp/1581159307

Design Firms Open for Business is a firsthand look inside studios and offices, both large and small, from all over the world. The inner workings of more than 40 different-sized and variously focused design establishments are explored, offering keen insights into firms working on everything from two- to three-dimensional projects. Designers reveal their thinking about a broad spectrum of important issues, ranging from the names they selected to the underlying philosophy of their practices to the business models they employ. Profusely illustrated with photos of both specific work and working environments, this book provides a unique blend of analysis and biography rolled into one. Each firm is placed in the spotlight, providing an array of successful models to consider by those who are looking to start their own ventures and by those experienced professionals looking for fresh ideas.

book cover design firms open for business feature for tarek atrissi design

10 years after: the 10 things I learned in my graduate studies at SVA

By Tarek Atrissi

It is hard to believe that it has been 10 years since I graduated from SVA, the School of Visual Arts in New York. In 2003, I earned my MFA in Design after two years of graduates studies at the MFA Design program of one of most prestigious art schools in the United States. So much happened in my life and career afterwards, and the program had so much positive influences on my growth as a person and as a designer in so many aspects. Ten years after, I look back at this wonderful educational experience at SVA to pick the most important 10 things I learned at the “Designer as Author” program.

1- Reading the New York Times

It is estimated that a week's worth of the New York Times contains more information than a person was likely to come across in a lifetime in the 18th century

According to Shift Happens “Did you know” video series. It is estimated that a week’s worth of the New York Times has more information than a person was likely to come across in his or her lifetime in the 18th century. About 5 times as many as during Shakespeare’s time

One of the best habits I developed at SVA was reading daily the New York Times newspaper. A habit made much easier today due to the wonderful digital mobile subscription the nytimes offers. One can argue that this habit has nothing to do with design directly. It did however give me ever since the best perspective on the world that surrounds us and the world that we design for. I don’t know when exactly this regular reading routine of the nytimes started. Maybe it was during Veronique Vienne’s design criticism classes, during which we often discussed the front page of the New York Times Newspaper and its visual and photographic choices. Or maybe it was during my visits to the New York Times offices at Times Square area, for the advising  meetings with our school co-chair Steven Heller, who was at the time the art director at the Newspaper.

2- Design entrepreneurship

Arabic and Latin bilingual typeface by Tarek Atrissi Design for the Mathaf Museum of Modern art in doha Qatar. Font shown on museum entrance signage.

Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in Doha, Qatar. External museum sign using the exclusive custom bilingual Arabic and Latin typeface designed by Tarek Atrissi Design

Entrepreneurship in the context of design is certainly one of the most valuable skills I learned at SVA. After all, design entrepreneurship is the key focus of the program, a focus that creates a delicate mix between business and design. This was in my opinion the main reason behind being able to set up my own design studio right after graduation and managing it as a successful business model for more than a decade now. It all starts with writing the right business plan and finding the niche and commercial viability of your ideas, vision and services in the design world. This certainly helped me understand many of my clients who are entrepreneurs looking for the right visual strategy for their concepts. It encouraged me as well keep my own entrepreneurial typographic approach that I started at SVA: Designing and developing arabic and bilingual typefaces that fit a very specific niche market; becoming products with a significant commercial demand and being “sold” to some of the most visible brands across the Middle East.

3- Typographic sensibility

Italian newspaper front cover and masthead design and typography. vernacular design from Italy. inspired by Louise Fili work and education and from the book italian art deco

Futurismo’s Newspaper front page: Unique Italian vernacular typography from 1933. From “Italian Art Deco” book by Steven Heller and Louise Fili.

SVA refined further my typographic sensibility and nourished my continuous interest in lettering and type. Not surprising when most of our teachers were typographic masters. Take Louise Fili as an example: She is a typographic school of thought that left such an impact on my design practice (and on the rest of the design world). Her work process and approach in transforming Italian heritage into a fabulously crafted typographic language is something I will never stop studying and examining and learning from ( I think I was the first person to order her monograph “Elegantissima”).

4- Public speaking

Tarek Atrissi graduation speech at the graduation of SVA, the school of visual arts in New York. Atrissi was the valedictorian at the commencement ceremony

I was the valedictorian of the 2003 graduation ceremony of SVA at the Lincoln Center in New York. Ever since, public speaking has been something I am at ease with.

I certainly developed my confidence in public speaking at SVA. To start with, we had an external visiting speaker every week at school. Each speaker shared with us his personal path in the world of design through an engaging presentation that was often in itself an eye opener on how to narrate design theory and practice. My most valuable public speaking learning experience however was at graduation day, when SVA gave me the unique and unforgettable opportunity to be the valedictorian of the commencement ceremony.  Speaking at the Lincoln Center in front of an audience of nearly three thousand people, I had the chance to talk about Beirut of the 80s; to quote Edward Said; and to share my positive experience as an Arab student in a post 9/11 New York City. Speaking in front of such a large audience made it certainly easier to speak in public afterwards: In all the lectures and design talks I gave afterwards in 20 different countries, I never had a larger crowd than this!

5- Work for fun, work for money, work for society

paula scher quote work for fun work for money work for society. a motto I have tried to keep following since i took her class at SVA

The words of Paula Scher that became my work motto: Work for fun, work for money, work for society. Part of her design philosophy shared with us in her branding class at SVA.

Paula Scher couldn’t have said it better when describing what a designer should aim for in work: Work for fun, work for money, work for society. A simple explanation that summarises the “balance” that I have tried to achieve in my work ever since attending her classes at SVA; a balance that makes work rewarding and constantly interesting. This simply became my work motto. It was part of the bigger approach at SVA which encouraged keeping the passion of an artist towards design work- yet never being a starving artist as a result of doing what you enjoy doing. There is simply no separation between work “for fun” and work “to pay the bills”.  While maintaining my love and passion for design, in a business context, I made sure to choose every year one project of significant social importance to design on a pro bono basis.

6- Researching Design history

Tarek Atrissi Research into the history of Arabic Graphic Design: collection of vernacular printed material and a special research conducted on studying the work of Egyptian graphic artist mehyedeen al labbad. Shown here the Nazar publication of ??? ????? ??????

My interest in design history and the research of the history of Arabic graphic design was triggered at SVA. Shown above a sample of the large collection I have gathered over the years, from the work of Mehyedeen al Labbad.

 It is not surprising to develop a strong interest in design history as a graduate of the MFA Design program. After all, the Co-Chair Steven Heller has authored more than 100 design books, many of them look into the history of the design proffesion. He also conducted the Paul Rand memorial lecture series on the history of graphic design that covered our graphic design ancestors; particular movement from the last 150 years and other themes that included the relation of design to racism, symbolism, type, Modernism and the Modern. I have carried this interest in design history to research the poorly documented history of Arabic graphic design and to assemble over the years a very large collection of vernacular and historical printed design material from across the Arab world. Funnily enough, it was in New York that I started to discover and study in depth the work of legendary Arab designers that shaped the development of the profession in the Middle East. One of them being the late egyptian graphic artist Mehyedeen al Labbad, who I call the father of Arabic graphic design. I have collected many of his work and books which were a visionary collection of design practice, theory and criticism. Analyzing his approach and work is a continuous research subject that I carry and which provides a rich source of inspiration.

7- Getting inside NYC’s best design studios

The program offered the chance to visit prestigious design offices in NYC. Several sessions of our classes took place at Pentagram design offices!

The program offered the chance to visit prestigious design offices in NYC. Several sessions of our classes took place at Pentagram design offices!

SVA provided the wonderful opportunity of visiting some of the top design studios and firms in New York City and to talk directly with their founders, principal designers and creative directors: Pentagram design;  Mucca Design; Louise Fili Ltd; Doyle partners; Ogilvy & Mather; just to name a few examples. This provided a good perspective on different models adopted by various design businesses. The school’s network gave us as students the contacts needed to get advising on our projects by leading designers. I recall having the opportunity to visit the offices of Hoefler & Frere-Jones and take direct feedback from Jonathan Hoefler on one of the type design projects I was working on. In addition, the faculty at SVA- all of them practicing designers- generously donated some of their time and welcomed us in their studios when needed. I will never forger meeting Bonnie Siegler in her office at studio 17 just before leaving New York as i was planning the business model to adapt for my own design studio. Bonnie shared with me her tips on her experience and challenges in starting up her design business. It was such a helpful conversation that I recalled so many times during the past 10 years.

8- Intellectual Property and the law

The integration of a course within the MFA design program that covers the basic legal issues of contract and intellectual property law has been an incredible supportive knowledge that backed up my creative business practice. Besides covering the law of copyrights, trademark and patent from the perspective of the professional designer; the course faculty attorney Frank Martinez helped us as students individually to draft contractual documents for our specific innovative projects we brought to the market as part of the “designer as entrepreneur” school of thought. I work regularly today still with Frank Martinez from “The Martinez Group” to help my clients register and protect their designs, products and fonts.

9- Experiencing American work culture

posters by tarek atrissi designed in New York while at the school of visual arts SVA. Chess musical poster and the body exhibition poster, winner of the ADAA Adobe Design Achievement Awards

Poster design from my portfolio which I designed while in New York. Left: Chess musical poster designed at SPOTCO under the art direction of Gail Anderson. Right: The Body Exhibition poster designed for SVA in collaboration with Kiki Katahira.

As an international student coming to the United States for education, there was an opportunity to learn a lot about American working culture, generally but also specifically in the context of the design industry. This happened as a start within the school, where a lot of the exhibitions, internal projects and school events were done in collaboration with the students. It was a source for valuable experience in understanding the American business and professional approach. This was reinforced by opportunities for internships or work provided by faculty members, all of them with a full time career in parallel to their part time teaching at SVA. I was lucky to work for a short but insightful period under the art direction of Gail Anderson at SPOTCO, a design firm with a focus on designing for broadway theater and entertainment events. Today I still regularly work through my own studio with many American clients and I definitely feel that the experience gained at SVA helps me tremendously in easily communicating with them and in understanding the American business culture.

10- Dream big

"What colors are your dreams?". Pins designed  by Tarek Atrissi for the Colors of Asia Exhibition by The Design Alliance Asia at the Hong Kong Design institute. At SVA, our dreams were of all colors!

“What colors are your dreams?”. Pins I have designed for the Colors of Asia Exhibition by The Design Alliance Asia at the Hong Kong Design institute. At SVA, our dreams were of all colors!

SVA simply taught me to dream big and to believe in getting things done. With incredibly successful faculty around school such as Stefan Sagmeister, Paola Antonelli, Milton Glaser, Brian Collins, Maira Kalman, and many others; one would only grow to believe that anything is possible in a design career.

Many people today are questioning the need of going to graduate school and argue that the investment is not worth it in our current times. I remain strongly in favour of graduate studies as I believe it provides any designer with a wider perspective on design and a chance to develop a more solid design personality and plenty of new contacts that will always generate long term career opportunities.

 

Arabic music meets Arabic calligraphy

By Tarek Atrissi

Salon Joussour in holland, Netherlands based music event focusing on arabic music. branding with a calligraphic and typographic twist using the arabic script

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.

classical arabic music event and salon in den haag the netherlands. Classical arabian music is a world of passion, poetry, nuances and details, just like arabic calligraphy

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.

design for salon joussour brug naar arabische muziek Arabisch grafische vormgeving en kalligrafie en typografie den haag

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.

Logo and typography design for Jeem TV; the new branding for Al Jazeera Children Channel

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 TV logo design by Tarek Atrissi Design for Al Jazeera Children Channel / Arabic kids television

“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.

sketches design process arabic logo design jeem ??? letter television aljazeera jazeera channel icon bug ??????? by tarek atrissi design

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.

logo design process from sketch to final design. Arabic logo design ofr Jeem television, the children TV for al Jazeera network

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.

jeem tv logo animation of arabic lettering letter stylized as icon for the brand identity

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.

Jeem Television Custom bilingual typeface, Latin and Arabic, designed and developed by Tarek Atrissi Design as an exclusive bescope font for the new TV channel: the children channel of Al Jazeera Media Network in Qatar serving the Pan Arab world

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; Jump Design and Direction with their creative motion graphics that brought the logo to life; 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.

Al-Akhbar / the news on Jeem television. Children news program on Al Jazeera Children television: تلفزيون جيم

Further images from the logo and type used as part of the new visual identity can be seen in the images included below.