Designing in another language

What if culture didn't influence any design, especially in branding? It would be a catastrophe. Brand identity design needs to come from what the essence of brand is (sometimes), or a more abstract look and feel of what to expect of the experience you'll have with that brand's service/company.

I had the opportunity to work with a fashion designer named Annah Hariri, and created a brand identity for her brand line Mukarnah. She had no major requests other than to make it look 'good', which is something a designer does not want to hear, because we always love more to work with.


Research

As a designer and calligrapher, the first thing I had to do was get to know more about the clothing she created which was focused on abaya wear for all women. A lot of her patterns included traditional and abstract Moroccan symbols.


I decided to dive deeper into research using my observations of her work as inspiration.

Moroccan geometric patterns derived from simpler designs used in earlier cultures: Greek, Roman, and Sasanian. They are one of three forms of Arabic decoration, the others being the arabesque based on curving and branching plant forms, and Arabic calligraphy; all three are frequently used together.


Sketching away

I really wanted to capture the abstract and traditional symbols Hariri used and started sketching concepts. I love giving my clients a peak into my brain to help connect what I want with what they want, it also gets them excited. Arabic calligraphy is complex because most of the letters are connected (similar to script in English), so I had to make sure that whatever I designed was still readable.


Show your client inspiration before diving deep into your design, work smarter not harder.


Check-ins: Hariri-Logo_V2.ai

It's important to keep your client in the loop with everything, especially if you're creating a brand identity for a creative (a lot times harder). Hariri loved the fact that I constantly showed her bits of the process, which helped develop trust between us.



Final_Result.ai

I had a final meeting with Hariri with the final look of her fashion brand. I explained to her 'why' I did certain things and 'what' I had to push back on. It resulted in a unique identity that reflected her work and culture she lives around. Don't be afraid to design in other languages, it's just a new challenge you'll face and master.



© 2020 Gigi Mostafa