After all that was said and done, anyone who attended the lectures at Nuqat’s fifth annual creative conference walked away feeling inspired. Whether you’ve simply visited the chillout spot at the Al Amricani Cultural Center managed by Dar Al Athar Al Islamiyyah, or attended the workshops and events held at Beit Al Sadu, AlMakan and even the Cinemagics roof top cinema, to say that the conference’s activities left us with a strong impression, would be an understatement. We all left Nuqat with a desire to change, create and innovate.
The Bilingual Magazine Design workshop with Yara Khoury, for instance, opened up our eyes to how the world of publishing in the Middle East is quickly evolving. What we loved even more was the workshop’s use of the Arabic language, and how messages in both English and Arabic came to life in such an inspired environment. The workshop was conducted in collaboration with Design Director Yara Khoury from Al Mohtaraf, a highly versatile design house with offices across the Middle East. Al Mohtaraf is one of the region’s few specialized graphic design houses, renowned for their vision to carry out designs that emulate the contemporary cultural scene of the Arab region.
We are all familiar with the notion that we are loaded with information nowadays. Whether you work in publishing or follow a magazine, news organization, social media channel, website or even a WhatsApp group, information overload is a phenomenon one cannot escape. Even us publishers turn to social media for the latest and greatest updates, constantly scouring social media networks to present to our readers features that they want to read based on their likes, shares, comments and more. Given that we all receive an endless flow of information that our mind tries to make sense of, understand and sort as useful or trivial; the workshop explored the theme of information overload, by dissecting and then synthesizing this information. Hosted at AlMakan, the participants experienced a journey that linked people, events and ideas in the form of a periodical publication.
Participants learnt how to use the elements of layout design such as grids, typefaces, colors, photos and bilingual layout solutions, and were shown how to create a periodical publication using their own social media messages that the participants were either sent by themselves or received by others. To simplify the matter even further, the participants were asked to utilize the last 20 SMS, WhatsApp, Twitter, LinkedIn sent and/or received messages to design a sample article from this periodical. They were each asked to find an underlying idea or a single theme that connects the messages together to make a story, a theme, a timeline, or even visual poetry. They also had the option of choosing a more diverse route by connecting seemingly disparate messages that make the readers build their own impressions. The resulting work was wonderful, and we chose to showcase sample layouts from participants Holly Liu, Aysha AlHouli and Yara Zeidan to exemplify the results of this workshop. Mastheads came to life, incorporating both English and Arabic fonts, along with publication covers and an 8-page article sample.