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A History of Arab Graphic Design

A History of Arab Graphic Design

by Bahia Shehab, Haytham Nawar


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Available for Pre-Order. This item will be available on May 26, 2020


Arab graphic design emerged in the early twentieth century out of a need to influence, and give expression to, the far-reaching economic, social, and political changes that were taking place in the Arab world at the time. But graphic design as a formally recognized genre of visual art only came into its own in the region in the twenty-first century and, to date, there has been no published study on the subject to speak of. A History of Arab Graphic Design traces the people and events that were integral to the shaping of a field of graphic design in the Arab world. Examining the work of over eighty key designers from Morocco to Iraq, and covering the period from pre-1900 to the end of the twentieth century, Bahia Shehab and Haytham Nawar chart the development of design in the region, beginning with Islamic art and Arabic calligraphy, and their impact on Arab visual culture, through to the digital revolution and the arrival of the Internet. They look at how cinema, economic prosperity, and political and cultural events gave birth to and shaped the founders of Arab graphic design. Highlighting the work of key designers and stunningly illustrated with 450 color images, A History of Arab Graphic Design is an invaluable resource tool for graphic designers, one which, it is hoped, will place Arab visual culture and design on the map of a thriving international design discourse.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9789774168918
Publisher: American University in Cairo Press, The
Publication date: 05/26/2020
Pages: 360
Product dimensions: 8.50(w) x 9.50(h) x (d)

About the Author

Bahia Shehab is associate professor and founder of the graphic design program at the American University in Cairo. An artist, designer, and art historian, her work has received a number of international awards, including a TED Senior Fellowship, a Prince Claus Award, and the UNESCO-Sharjah Prize for Arab Culture. Her publications include A Thousand Times NO: The Visual History of Lam-Alif (2010).

Haytham Nawar is an artist, designer, and educator. He is assistant professor and director of the design program at the American University in Cairo and the founder of Cairotronica (Cairo Electronic and New Media Arts Festival).

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Sources of Inspiration for Arab Design, Pre 1900

  1. Decoding Islamic Visual Language
  2. Early Arabic Printing

Chapter 2: Artists and Calligraphers: Early Designers, 1900 – 1919

  1. Foundation of Art Education in the Arab World
  2. Arabic Calligraphy Designers
  3. Early Arab Advertising
  4. Arab Philately

Chapter 3: Design for the Masses, 1920 – 1939

  1. Formation of Arab Magazines and Newspapers
  2. Arabic Typewriter
  3. Design for Cinema

Chapter 4: Arab Design and Modernity, 1940 – 1959

  1. Independence of Arab States
  2. Design for Culture
  3. Arabic for the People
  4. Father of Sudanese Graphic Design
  5. Arab Graphic Design Pioneers

Chapter 5: Arab Design and the Palestinian Resistance, 1960 – 1969

  1. Reasons for the Emergence of Resistance Poster
  2. Arab Centers of Knowledge
  3. The Problem of Arabic
  4. Second-Generation Arab Designers

Chapter 6: Arab Designers in Exile, 1970 – 1979

  1. Lebanese Civil War
  2. The Syrian Design School
  3. Migrating Designers of Iraq
  4. Design and Post-socialism in Egypt
  5. Arab African Design
  6. Third-Generation Arab Designers

Chapter 7: Design and the Search for a New Identity, 1980 – 1989

  1. Arabic Typography
  2. Lebanese Limbo
  3. Sudanese Designers in the Diaspora
  4. Egyptian Design after the Open Door Policy
  5. Fourth-Generation Arab Designers

Chapter 8: Rebirth of Arab Design, 1990 – 2000

  1. Post–Lebanese Civil War Influx of Talent
  2. Inspiring the Next Generation
  3. The Artist Designs