Islamic Lifestyle 

1971 - Design Space and Khatt Foundation presents “RASM”, An Exhibition on Contemporary Arabic Typographic Posters

| 08 November, 2018

With the unfolding of yet another cultural achievement in Sharjah, the first Fikra Graphic Design Biennale, 1971- Design Space and Khatt Foundation proudly presents ‘RASM: Contemporary Arabic Typographic Posters, 2008-2018’. RASM is the first exhibition at 1971 – Design Space solely dedicated to graphic design. It presents posters of designers since the launch of the Khatt Foundation’s design community.

The posters were carefully selected to represent a wide array of Arab nationalities and styles and reveal the experimental typographic explorations of designers in the region. It presents the best regional talents and their contribution to the fields of type design and typography, focusing on diversity and unique design approaches. The exhibition will be opened on Friday, 9 November 2018 at 4:30 p.m. at 1971 - Design Space, Sharjah, and will run until Saturday, 19 January, 2019. The opening will be followed by a panel discussion with the curator of the exhibition and the Founder of the Khatt Foundation, Dr Huda Smitshuijzen AbiFares, the two commissioned designers, and the graphic designer Ben Wittner from Berlin, Germany.

‘RASM’ (meaning drawing in Arabic), underlines a challenge that designers face: when drawing Arabic lettering or typefaces, designers must inevitably assume the responsibility of taking creative risks that question set conventions, recognize contemporary design trends and question what one takes for granted. Experimenting with materials and techniques, creating clear and innovative concepts as well as engaging with social, promotional and public issues are all necessary ingredients for a critical understanding of the role of design in contemporary Arab culture today.

The exhibition is divided into a section of selected Arabic typographic posters from the Khatt Foundation’s design community from the past decade and another section is dedicated to newly commissioned artworks from two Dubai-based designers. The commissions are typographic installations by designers Ranim Al Halaky and Abjad Design. They are results of experimenting with Arabic scripts - one which transforms into a physical installation in the gallery space itself and relates to the poetry of Nizar Qabani (“Unheard Voices” by Ranim Al Halaky) and another one which acts as an interactive visual sound installation exploring the relationship between music and the Arabic script (“A Hidden Quintet” by Abjad Design).

RASM is a celebration of the creative development of contemporary graphic and typographic design in the region in the 21st century. It invites young designers from the region to carry on exploring new creative avenues for Arabic lettering and typography.


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About Khatt Foundation

The Khatt Foundation is non-profit cultural foundation, design research center, and an online network ( which was launched in 2007 and has since grown to around 5000 members. The online community is designed to operate as a borderless virtual design center that transcends cultural and geographical divides, and that allows for open dialog and the fermentation of transcultural initiatives. The virtual center operates on the principle of sharing knowledge and collectively building a resource and information center about design in the Arab and Middle East regions. This is achieved with the active participation and contributions made by the registered members. The Khatt Foundation online network is a dynamic portal to the unexplored world of design in the region, and a flexible framework for networking and meeting other (young) Arab and Middle Eastern designers, in a semi-social environment.


About 1971 – Design Space

1971 is a multi-functional design space dedicated to the display and discussion of all forms of contemporary design ranging from graphic, furniture to interior, interactive design and new technologies. With a variety of curated exhibitions and public programmes, 1971 - Design Space aims to become a regional and international design hub in the U.A.E. working in close proximity with local designers, architects, schools and universities. 1971 - Design Space also serves as an informal meeting point and includes a fully serviced cafe for the enjoyment of the public.


About Abjad Design

Abjad Design is an interdisciplinary Dubai-based design studio founded in 2010 by Sheikha Bin Dhaher and Diana Hawatmeh. Abjad thrives on using design language as a tool of communication and expression using a variety of mediums to arrive at the most holistic creative solutions that are distinctive to each challenge. Abjad Design incorporates the traditional methods of design thinking with contemporary aesthetics in experimental ways that preserve the human touch in our digital world.

The studio provides complete design services such as branding, environmental graphics, illustration, layout, motion graphics, packaging, print design, product design, and web design. Abjad Design’s work serves multiple sectors including corporate, government, and startups with a particular focus in the cultural and educational segments. Keen on contributing to the education of the growing design community, Abjad engages in design lectures and workshops. The studio aims to inspire and contribute to the growth of contemporary Arab design in the region and around the world.


About Ranim Al Halaky

Ranim is a Syrian/Lebanese Graphic Designer, graduated from the American University of Beirut with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design, in 2015. In her design work, she emphasizes on the use of Arabic Typography as a visual element in a contemporary and experimental way. She blends culture, poetry, and traditional storytelling to create engaging visual narratives. Her work and research varies from print to 3D objects and experiential spatial design.

She has received several national and international design awards.  In 2017, she was awarded The International Graphic Design Award and was published by the AIAP Women in Design Awards in Italy, for her work including her final year thesis and project book/object in space, 50 METERS OF STORYTELLING. This project also won the Areen Award for excellence in Graphic Design in Lebanon in 2015, and was awarded a Merit Award for Typography and Lettering and published in NYC Print Magazine in 2016.

She has worked as freelance designer with a range of regional and international clients, in Amsterdam, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia. Al Halaky currently lives in Dubai and works for Tinkah Design Studio.