The modernising of Arabic and Persian script is a silent revolution explained the organizers of RIGHT-TO-LEFT in 2012 when they launched their initiative that focused on Middle East society via visual culture. It included an exhibition that might well be brought to the United States of over 40 artists and graphic designers with hundreds of posters, partly commissioned for the occasion of the Berlin-bassed show.
The exhibited designs were cross-cultural references and styles ranging from experimental typography and type-design to street art and graffiti. “They often merge Latin and Arab/Persian scripts in sensual, beautiful ensembles with multiple layers of meanings. Poetry, metaphors, and references to the present political situation in the Middle East are recurrently used in the designs,” says the RIGHT TO LEFT website, “its appearance, and the way it is written thanks to contemporary software and experimental visuals created by a new generation of skilled artists and designers.”
The social and political “revolutions” are aided by the type and lettering. The messages of the Arab upheavals are indeed conveyed through written language, graphics, and illustrations—graffiti, stencils, tags, banners and through social media and the internet—and deserving of a look on this side of the pond.
For more Steven Heller, check out Citizen Designer: Perspectives on Design Responsibility, one of the many Heller titles available at MyDesignShop.com.