Lebanese Graphic Design, a Homogeneous Hybrid

Conference: 

Discipline: 

Graphic Design & Visual Art

Keywords: 

  • verbal communication, visual communication

We hear of “Swiss Graphic Design”, “American Graphic Design”, “Dutch Graphic Design”, “Tokyo Graphics”, … but no such thing as a Lebanese school of Design. Lebanese graphic design today is an amalgam of various influences, carried along in the educational baggage of academia and faculty teaching this discipline in the various universities across the country.

The presentation will showcase students project from the Lebanese American university, as well as 2 experimental typographic projects that undertake to visualize Beirut, Lebanon, the local culture, the languages spoken, and their associated set of visual artifacts. The result is a varied and differentiated
expression of the sense of place. It transcends the acknowledged borders of the subject, and embodies the more universal values of social interaction and politics within a multilingual* society.

* The geographical position of Lebanon, sandwiched between the Mediterranean sea and the Middle East, makes it a funnel between Europe and the Arab world, and vice versa; and the official languages spoken there are Arabic, French and English.

Yet, we live in an age where design has to play the important role of communicating and visualizing values, culture and mentalities. The paper will argue to what extent do we, as graphic design professionals and educators, need to liberate our visual referents from foreign influences in order to establish a Lebanese School of Graphic Design; or are we there now?

The paper will undertake to highlight the problems faced by graphic design faculty in Lebanese universities, mostly in regards to the identity of the body of work developed in the classroom. From this perspective, the issue of the nationality of design will be at stake, in an age of abundant transnational crossovers.

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