Arabic calligraphy and the fine art of corporate logos
Wissam Shawkat, an Iraqi calligrapher who moved to Dubai at the end of 2002, splits his time between fine art calligraphy and designing logos for some of the largest companies in the UAE. As well as logos for regional companies trying to emphasise their roots, he also translates international brand names into Arabic typography for their Middle East operations. Calligraphy is an obvious choice for companies targeting Arab consumers as it creates more emotional reference to them. International companies that open operations in the Gulf often use calligraphy as a stamp of authenticity. Calligraphy might be considered an odd choice for those international companies that employ and cater to non-Arabic speakers, but the designs are rarely judged on their legibility alone. It’s about creating an icon.