Workshop: Bilingual Arabic & Latin Monogram Design

When it comes to Arabic logo design, you will most often find it accompanied by Latin text. But it takes a great deal of sensitivity to combine two different scripts into a harmonic design. During the  Bilingual Arabic & Latin Monogram Design workshop, Tarek Atrissi challenged the participants to meld Latin and Arabic characters into unique and aesthetically pleasing typographical designs.

© Sebastian Weiß / Monotype

© Sebastian Weiß / Monotype


Two scripts, one design, and many lines and curves

Before everyone starts to get their hands dirty, Tarek Atrissi briefly introduces himself. Born in the Lebanese capital Beirut, living and studying around the globe, Atrissi now runs his own successful studio, Atrissi Design.

Logos of well-known brands flicker across the screen as he shows custom made typefaces (like Apple’s Myriad Arabic), letterings, and multilingual identities that he and his studio have created over the years. After explaining the differences between calligraphy, lettering and type design, he goes on to show examples of different Arabic alphabets – some are more simplistic and modern, while others look traditional and calligraphic. Then the participants gather around the speaker’s table to chose their own style and an Arabic letter to work with.

Tarek Atrissi at TYPO Berlin© Sebastian Weiß / Monotype

Almost all the seats are taken and the initial silence slowly starts to break up as the empty sheets of paper start begin to fill with lines and curves. People start talking to each other, taking photographs, and sharing specimens. For the next two hours the participants create a wide variety of designs ranging from traditional monograms to colorful, playful 3D letterings.

After two hours pass, each participant receives a personal and final consultation, and then everyone explains their ideas to the group.

Tarek Atrissi

Tarek Atrissi

Designer / Typographer (Barcelona)

Beirut born Tarek Atrissi runs his multi-disciplinary design studio, Tarek Atrissi Design – with offices in Holland and in Barcelona – specialising in Arabic typography, design and branding. His typographic and cross cultural design approach produced projects that left a significant influence on the contemporary graphic design landscape in the Middle East. Atrissi holds an MFA in Design from the School of Visual Arts in New York; a Masters of Arts from in Interactive Multimedia from the Utrecht School of the Arts in Holland; and a postgraduate degree in Typeface Design from the type@cooper program of the Cooper Union New York. His awards includes the Adobe Design Achievement Awards, TDC, and The Dutch Design Award, among others. He lectures internationally about Arabic visual culture and has taught at the HKU in Holland; the American University in Dubai; and VCU in Qatar. Tarek Atrissi founded, an type design foundry specialising in designing Arabic and multilingual typefaces. The foundry designed custom typefaces for major companies in the Arab world, including BBC, Apple, Riyadh Metro in Saudi Arabia, and the Museum of Arab modern art in Qatar. Atrissi holds the dual Lebanese and Dutch Citizenships. When he is not on Instagram, he is walking across the streets of different cities in the Arab world documenting its urban typographic landscape.

Written by Jannis Riethmüller