Bilingual Design

An interesting aspect of my first trip to the Middle East was the extensive bilingual branding and typography found throughout Qatar. I was struck by the many creative and innovative solutions to the challenges of designing in the two languages of Arabic and English. From large scale signage, to rows of alternating product placement in the grocery store, to the business card of a vendor at the Souq – bilingual design in Doha is ubiquitous.

With the mass availability of American products in the backdrop, the prevalence of Latin-to-Arabic logotype conversions was consequently no surprise. I paid particular attention to design solutions that seemed to capture the spirit of the English counterpart using similar scale, weight, color, and curvature of the forms. I understand that my Western-eye and lack of Arabic knowledge cannot fully embrace the beauty (or meaning) of each solution, but I have to say I was more than inspired. With that said, I plan for this to be the beginning of many posts that will lead me through the exciting and growing landscape of bilingual communication and design.

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