Advertising and design companies around the Middle East have always worked on Ramadan greeting cards, which hold corporate messages and link back to the brands of their clients. Every year, the challenge gets even more interesting with a focus on creativity and visual impact that would surprise and inspire. But as globalization takes over the Arab world, interesting developments are easily noticed.
Starting with the design phase, all creative’s scout around for inspiration and ideas to create a card that is visually interesting, modern and creative. An essential part of “Islamic design” is the integration of old and modern Arabic calligraphy, the “star” of the visual, coupled with a layout design including interesting die cuts and new cardboard treatments and rendering the card an interesting design to display.
In the past few years, the display factor has become essential. With designers creating cards that would “stand alone” and display the message without necessarily being an actual physical card. Ideas range from regular cards to developed boxes that would hold two main messages: first, the company name, which would link the message to a specific brand and second, the actual message, which is a heartfelt wish and portrays the “humane” aspect of a caring company.
Recently, we can notice the introduction of Latin and Arabic texts at the same time, something never done in the past, a symbol of adaptation to the world and a way of sending a clear message and communicating the “Islamic life” to countries and people who do not necessarily understand the Arabic Calligraphy.
Similarly, the calligraphy, which is also a beautiful graphical element, is coupled with modern Arabic typefaces, an interesting thing to note. Calligraphy stays a visual link to the traditional Arabic past, a visual and historical story developing over time. In Ramadan, as people read and remember God’s word, they are reminded by its beauty and form (calligraphy is the Islamic expression of the beauty of Allah’s word).
I view this period as a form of advertising the Islamic world brand. All Arabs from around the Middle East unite in a similar manner (the everyday lifestyle adaptation to rituals). This unity creates a global brand forcing itself on the global audience. These greetings, given out to clients and businesses around the globe, are a simple form of communication. On one side, a certain company promotes itself (as noted above) on another side, it promotes the Islamic world, the religion, the people as one group, one complex identity, one brand.
This brand is currently evolving, integrating itself on a global, massive scale (Arabic typeface development is a simple example). On another hand, the global audience is more open to the Arabic language (with so many interested in learning it, and so many learning how to draw Arabic calligraphy) there seems to be surprising developments awaiting us in the years to come.
Art Director, Blogger, Columnist, DJ
I want to thank Gaby for jump-starting this great collaboration and his wonderful and insightful review of trends in Islamic art and the development of what is know as an “Islamic brand”, based on his many years of experience in branding and advertising in the middle east. Gaby has also provided the great gallery of cards, which we would like to contribute to as well. Just send your company’s corporate greeting card to contact [at] theidentitychef.com or add a link to it in the comment box.
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