Politics by means of Arabic Type

During the last month political slogans took over most of the Lebanese billboards.

On the right is the first set of billboards and the left is the second set. Compare the two. Notice the difference between the Alef-Hamza, the Heart shape and the Arabic type used. And for sure you notice you added sprayed Arabic type and the rainbow logo.

The first set of billboards conveyed a non-political method using the slogan (or logotype) as “I Love Life” in all three languages Arabic, English and French. At first the Lebanese people thought it is a new organization promoting life over politics, but after a while it became clear that these slogans and designs are directly or indirectly linked to a political party in Lebanon. For more info about “I love life” visit their website at http://www.lebanon-ilovelife.com/.

p.s: At the present time in Lebanon, there is two main opposing political opinions. There is always been many political parties in Lebanon with different opinions but nowadays it is like two big political parties with each one containing several.

After two weeks from the first set of billboards, a second set started to appear with [approximately] the same design and slogans but with additional sprayed Arabic words on them. At first look we (the Lebanese people) thought that it is a continuing concept from the first set and it is done by the same organization. But after a second look on the new set we noticed that there is a new [hmm, maybe plagiarized] logo on the bottom left side of the billboards stating that the opposing Lebanese party has done these new set of billboards as a reply or response to the first set.

Four main topics emerges from this story:
1. Arabic type awareness. The design and advertising agencies companies in Lebanon are using more and more Arabic type not only for text but to express visual graphics.
2. Customized Arabic fonts. The Arabic type used in the first set of billboards is a customized or modified font from an existing Arabic type.
3. Plagiarism. The second set of “I love Life” logotype is a plagiarized copy from the original logotype. You can notice that from the type and the missing green leaves above the heart symbol in the logotype. Please refer to pics for clarification.
4.My Massira Type Family. When I saw the sprayed letters on the billboard a directly thought of my Massira Spray font. If my font was finalized and published, then maybe the design agency that designed the billboard could have used my Massira type family for the main Arabic words and the sprayed ones. I this encouraged me to finalize the font as soon as possible and start publishing it.

p.s.: I will post cleaner photos soon.

14 thoughts on “Politics by means of Arabic Type

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  1. Thought of Massira too when i saw the spraying! What would be the awareness of the international Rainbow symbol in Lebanon?

  2. Well Walid
    This is also a plagiarized logo. The people who designed the second set of billboards wanted to state that they are from different colors from Lebanon. So they used it as a logo for them. Look closely what is written under the rainbow. It is the taken from the international rainbow flag and also form the gay flag.


    Or maybe they want to say that they want peace or that they are gays. I do not know.

  3. one good thing i get from all this billboard masquerade is that arabic type is slowly moving to the foreground, in terms of type use in lebanon. however this was not initially done on purpose. however,salespeople all over lebanon are becoming aware that using arabic slogans has potential. the fish market in beirut on ur way to sin el fil, has put a slogan that reads “baddna n3ich w nekol samak bi lebnen”! crusading for arab type has just begun?

    P.S. i just checked the wikipedia site and it’s with great sadness that i see one more beautiful aspect of nature, the rainbow, has become a symbol for gayness. maybe we should crusade against labeling too?


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