Author(s): Ben Wittner
Despite their rich tradition of calligraphy, the Arab World and Persia are not known for their contemporary graphic design, illustration and typography. Especially now, it's worth taking a look at the region's creativity. Young designers are just beginning to chart their own compelling course between local visual convention and a modern, international style. Arabesque investigates the creative potential of the Arab World and Iran. This book features examples of recent innovative and groundbreaking design work that is inspired by the richness of the region's visual culture. Given the important role of calligraphy in the Middle East, Arabesque focuses on typography. The book presents a wide range of Arabic fonts and typefaces inspired by traditional calligraphy; these are accompanied by a rich selection of applications. Further examples of design and graffiti serve as powerful demonstrations of how text can be used illustratively. This work is particularly relevant to those now creating street art and poster design. Arabesque also features graphic design, logos and illustration by young designers and activists from Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which is complemented by selected projects by Western designers, who are strongly influenced by Arab culture. Regardless of the location and ancestry of their creators, all of the examples included in Arabesque combine modern design with the traditional, letter-based canon of Arab forms in striking ways. Supplemental texts describe the environments in which the featured designers and artists work. Arabesque also includes a CD-ROM that features a typeface created by the book's editors, Ben Wittner and Sascha Thoma.