Publishers on design and visual culture of the Middle East and North Africa

Kameel Hawa is a Lebanese graphic designer, writer, and artist. He is the founder of one of the first Arab transnational design studio, Al Mohtaraf. His formal training as a designer originated in working at some of Beirut’s progressive journals of the 1970s,  befriending renowned printers, editors, writers, artists, and intellectuals of his generation. Hawa approaches design as a cultural mission and, in his words, his studio was more “than a mere company,” it was a place “where designing with thoughtful, artistic passion is a core value.” In collaboration with his team of designers, illustrators, and calligraphers at Al Mohtaraf, who share his passion and vision for art, design, Arabic typography, and calligraphy, Hawa has left a lasting mark on contemporary Arab graphic design. He not only represents a contemporary Arab design vision, but has also contributed to the training of many young designers who later went on to become well-established and renowned contributors to the regional and international design scene.

In his practice as a publication designer, Hawa blends his inquisitive writer’s talent with his innate love of drawing and creating contemporary and innovative editorial content and visual structure. Hawa’s work includes a number of award-winning typefaces that are inspired by the Arab heritage, but that are decidedly modern and inventive. Hawa’s passion for Arabic typography has ignited a revival of the use of the Arabic language and letterforms in visual communication in the region, a trend that has been flourishing and maturing into a professional and independent specialization. Since 2015, he has taken his more than thirty years of practice in Arabic typography and lettering to the next level: he has started designing and creating self-initiated, site-specific, and culturally relevant typographic sculptures that he refers to as ‘word art’.

This book highlights key design projects in the development of Kameel Hawa’s design career—his lettering, typeface designs, magazine designs and inventive branding projects.