Shukran. Humanitarian Design Business

I had the honor to be a speaker in Dar Al Hekma University’s international design symposium: Reinventing the Vernacular, that was the outline of my talk:

Shukran. Humanitarian Design Business

Daily, we observe the need for good design, the design that extends to all industries and segments of society. There is one segment, however, that is left behind. This group may not realise, nor afford, the importance of design thinking. Underprivileged communities are overlooked by designers, in their quest to establish a career and profit. What designers forget is why they started their business at all; to create change, and impact society. And what better way to achieve this, than to look to those who deserve it most, and would benefit from the smallest design effort? A new logo, a revamped window, a carefully considered sign would not only introduce “good” design to a neighbourhood, it could solve problems, and positively affect the livelihood of a person.

The concept of “humanitarian design” evolved without any demand from this under-privileged community, a distinctive approach that is counter to the ordinary procedures of the design scene. A service that is provided gratuitously, free of charge. It was simply a matter of think, design, and apply, with the only profit being a simple “Shukran” (Thank You in Arabic)

This Shukran means the world. The concept goes beyond charity and awareness-raising; it has developed to encompass an effort to bring good design and solutions to society, working with business owners and immersing oneself in the culture and daily life of local communities. These efforts are not without reward, new horizons open up opportunities, encouraging diverse clients and interesting projects.

DESIGN WEEK

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Calligraphy workshop in DAH

In March 2015, I was invited to conduct a workshop for the design students at the Dar Al Hekma University in Jeddah, during its international design symposium: Reinventing the Vernacular. My workshop theme was ‘Contemporary Arabic Calligraphy’, which I introduced my vision of developing the art of Arabic calligraphy, and how it can be blended into other modern visual forms, and keeping its soul and originality in the same time. The workshop has focused on the practical aspects, by asking students to sketch, play, experiment and then try to come up with genuine artworks that reflect each student own style and point of view.

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