Mourad Boutros has achieved far more than the anticipated function of this lavishly produced book, ARABIC FOR DESIGNERS, as a primer for those who seek to understand the rhythm and flow of the Arabic language in creating commercial avenues for communication. While this book works very successfully on the level of a teaching tool for designers, with well over 200 pages of extraordinary examples of the beauty of Arabic creative work, the general reader will find in this volume a worthy introduction to understanding the flow of Arabic calligraphy, the manner in which the liquid letters weave into images of communication far better than the Latin based characters, and hopefully result in an appreciation of Arabic art and culture and beauty that has eluded our literature to date.
After a wise introduction 'Arabic in the World Today', Boutros wisely divides the book into chapters: Historical Backgrounds/Calligraphic Styles/Aramaic; Elements of Typography (Arabic vs. Latin)/ Typeface Technology and Development; The Value of Cultural Knowledge; Logos; Currency Design/Basic Arabic; and the final and glorious Gallery. In this last section (as well in the generously illustrated previous chapters) the book is devoted to some of the most sophisticated and subtle design work for books, advertising, pamphlets, labels, photography integration, and simply stunning images of Arabic calligraphy as art in and of itself. The book includes a fine glossary of terms and a useful bibliography.
Yet the most touching part of this lovely volume lies on the final cover flap where writer Boutros' philosophy is stated: 'All of these subjects covered within hinge on the idea that language carries the identity of those who speak it and it is a formative influence on how those people view their world around them....Arabic and its speakers have entered an era in which they must achieve a balance between tradition and the realities of the contemporary world'. This is a book for artists, yes, but it is also a volume that speaks loudly for cross cultural understanding and mutual appreciation. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, April 06