Yes! I finally met Helmi El Touni! A great master that filled my childhood with bold drawings and unique calligraphic styles.. I met him during Nuqat 2015 conference in Kuwait, it was one of best things happened to me in my entire life!
I can’t hide my happiness! He also signed the Yasmin Taan book about him, and he wrote there: To dear Hussein, the precious colleague 🙂
Another great thing besides all of this, was El Touni exhibition, where he showed the original artworks and sketches of his old works, seeing those masterpieces face to face was a great honor for me.
El Touni is a special character, his thoughts and works will be always inspiring me.
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I was stumbled upon this photo from Egypt, showing a tiny street having this enormous amount of doctor and clinics signs over two facing buildings, unbelievable shot! A street like this must enter Guinness world records!
Now talking about the sad part: Typography, yes! I feel so ashamed for the quality of design and type in this place, and all over the Arab world cities to be more realistic! Choosing this ‘ugly’ typeface has become a virus that infected every printed material in any Arabic letters! From Afghanistan to the USA, everything is polluted with this disease!
It’s similar to Arial at some level, if we count the popularity and presence, but Arial is way and way better in legibility and decentness! Can you imagine that!
That font, originally designed by Yemeni type designer Abdualla Faris in 1993 for Diwan software company in the UK, the font named as Muna, it has two weights back then, and it was widely used in books and magazines across the Arab world as a body text font, then, Layout of Lebanon has stolen it and named: AXT Manal, after that, many hacks were happen on the font, until the final surgery which made the font that bold and bulky, I think it was done for ASHARQ AL-AWSAT newspaper from London.. then the black stupid font went so viral! And ruined a country with an amazing legacy of hand painted signs!
You need to live in the Arab world to understand what exactly I mean with stupid, ugly and bad Arabic font!
The rare book of Labbad: Nazar One, which means look or view in Arabic.
Nazar books were basically a collection of Labbad articles in some Egyptians magazines like Sabah El Khair. The book was printed in March 1987, then issued again as Nazar Two and Nazar Three during the nineties..
As you’ll notice, the book is really important, it might be the only material that talks about and critiques design, art, graphic design and visual culture in Egypt and the Arab world.
The book was scanned and prepared by Mohammad Sabbagh and Hussein Alazaat for the Labbad tumblr page.
I just found a great collection of film producers’ logos from Egypt, documenting an important era using graphic design in such popular mediums, the collection covering the early stages of Egyptian cinema industry until our current time.