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.


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.


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.

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.