Can you tell me about your studies and how you got into graphic design and calligraphy?
I became more serious about it while working on my thesis. I tried to create an Arabic calligraphy in three months. At the same time I was exploring how computers and digital typography rob beautiful calligraphy of their unique characteristics. Arabic script is regarded as holy, because it is in the Qur'an. It has had a slow modern development. I really respect this type. I see letters as fluid shapes, as opposed to Latin-thinking, which considers English typeface as being static.
How does this affect your work on the Mapping for Tourists (now Noord) project?
When working with Arabic script, it is crucial to begin with an original script and then start to modernize it. I always fight Latin imposition on Arabic script. I maintain original shapes and refuse to add structural-details such as serifs. During this project, I am focused on how to juxtapose Arabic type with English script in the travel guide. It is challenging to pick two fonts that complement one another, but it's also part of the fun.
What can you tell me about your time in Noord?
I like that it's part of the city and yet feels like a village. All the green space, the silence, the quaint houses. When you go to a city like London the streets are crowded and everyone is moving towards a destination. In Noord people are more chill, they move in different ways. If a friend were coming to Amsterdam and wanted to relax, I'd tell him to go to Noord; though the ferry can be more hectic than you think.
Would you say Noord is starting to feel like home?
I was in Berlin last weekend and I was actually homesick for Noord. I am really getting used to it; even when I went to The Hague I was calling it home. I like to be where I am settled. But I am still homesick for Beirut though.