The Arabesque influence

Having done several experiments and development of potential themes for my FAT1 research (some of which will be the focus in my next module) I will be focusing on outcomes. These outcomes will be along the lines of signage, branding or design.

I have identified several examples as inspiration.

While doing investigations for Visual Signifiers of Cultures and Asemic Writing, I became very interested in Arabesque, Arabic Calligraphy and Geometry as these were areas that provided context for my experiments. Therefore a further investigation into their application to potential outcomes I thought would be useful to my research and future projects.

Here artist Muhammad Abdulmateen has created several Arabesque designs. According to Abulmateen, “Arabesque is an artistic motif that is characterised by the application of repeating geometric forms and fancifully Arabic Calligraphy.”






The rebranding of Dubai International Airport

The Design is characteristic of Islamic patterns, however, it also incorporates the idea of a compass rosette. The designers also had a version that incorporated a globe-like element further reinforcing the idea of “global reach”.



Visual Identity

The Bahrain National Museum Visual Identity by Tarek Atrissi

At first glance the logo reminded me somewhat of the QR code (Quick Response Code) which is now common in customer advertising and applicable to smartphones. This I thought gave the design a modern edge, although this resemblance to the QR code was not the artist’s intention.

According to Artrissi, the architecture of the Museum was the inspiration for the project. The building consists of three cubical structures attached to each other. The squarish floorplan of the building, he said, was the basis of the graphic element adopted for the logo.


The three Arabic words of the museum’s name were designed in a square kufi Arabic calligraphy style to fill in the squarish forms in the logo.


Square or geometric Kufic is a very simplified rectangular style of Kufic widely used for tiling. In Iran sometimes entire buildings are covered with tiles spelling sacred names like those of God, Muhammad and Ali in square Kufic, a technique known as banna’i.


The result is a logo that is typographic and incorporates the museum’s iconic architecture which forms the basis of an identity system further developed for the museum.

Through this exploration I have a greater appreciation of semiotic principles. The above example shows that the designer has instil work with references that enable a design to communicate multiple layers of meaning to the viewer.

According to the Fundamentals of Graphic Design, “When images are developed through the application of semiotic principles, a graphic device can be made more tha it would appear to be at first glance. The type of image, its style and presentation, its quality and how it has been reproduced can all add layers of meaning to the overall design, drawing different meanings from the context in which it is placed.”


Harris P., Ambrose G. (2009) The Fundamentals of Graphic Design, Lausanne: AVA Publishing, 192