Kameel Hawa: The Art of Shaping Arabic Letters

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By Huda Smitshuijzen AbiFarès

Kameel Hawa is a Lebanese graphic designer, writer, and artist. He is the founder of one of the first Arab transnational design studios, Al Mohtaraf. His formal training as a designer originated in working in the design departments of a number of Beirut’s progressive journals in the 1970s.

Hawa approaches design as a cultural mission and, in his words, his studio was more “than a mere company,” it was a place “where designing with thoughtful, artistic passion is a core value.”

Working in collaboration with a team of designers, illustrators, and calligraphers at Al Mohtaraf, Hawa left a lasting mark on contemporary Arab graphic design. He not only represents a contemporary Arab design vision but has also contributed to the training of many young designers who have gone on to become well-established and renowned contributors to the regional and international design scene.

Hawa’s work includes a number of award-winning typefaces that are inspired by Arab heritage, but that are decidedly modern and inventive. 

In his practice, Hawa blends an inquisitive writer’s talent with an innate love of drawing and creating innovative and modern editorial content and visual structure.

This book focuses on Hawa’s Arabic handwriting, lettering, and typeface designs, which break with rigid calligraphic rules, yet are also sensitive to Arab heritage and reflect its contemporary culture, setting new aesthetic standards and inspiration for designing with Arabic letterforms. Other key projects in his design career—including editorial design and branding—are also covered.

Designed by Huda Smitshuijzen AbiFarès & Andrea Hayek

Published by Khatt Books,
Bilingual, in Arabic and English

Hardcover, 174 pages, color and b&w images, 6.75 × 9.50 inches

ISBN: 978-9-49-093915-1