The American University in Cairo Press released a book titled ‘A History of Arab Graphic Design’ by Bahia Shehab and Haytham Nawar, being the first published study on the subject.
The 360-page book “traces the people and events that were integral to the shaping of the 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,” reads the book’s brief.
With text in the English language and 659 colour illustrations, the work showcases how cinema, economic, political, and cultural events gave birth to and shaped the founders of Arab graphic design.
Eight chapters of A History of Arab Graphic Design provide a chronological overview of the subject, starting with chapter one: ‘Pre-1900: Sources of Inspiration for Arab Design’, where topics of Islamic visual language and early Arabic printing are discussed.
Chapter two: ‘1900–1919: Artists and Calligraphers: Early Designers’, focusing on the foundation of art education in the Arab world, Arabic calligraphy designers, early Arab advertising and Arab philately.
All the way to chapter eight: 1990–2000: Rebirth of Arab Design, showcasing the post–Lebanese civil war influx of talent and the next generation of designers.
The book won a 2021 Prose Award in Art History & Criticism from the Association of American Publishers.
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