10 Questionnaires from Beijing Typography 2009 conference.
Answered by Pascal Zoghbi.
The Interview was published in the BT09 Book Catalogue.
1. When was the last time you wrote a letter by hand? When was the last time you received a hand-written letter?
I cannot remember actually. It is been a long while I did not write a letter by hand or received one.
2. Do you like reading? What is your favorite book according to the design?
I read daily, design books or standard novels. My favorite book about Arabic design is “Arabesque, Graphic design from the Arab World and Persia”.
3. What kind of inspiration do you get from letterforms?
I see letterforms as abstract black and white spaces in motion. Arabic letterforms flow on the page like music or ballet dancing. I got hooked with the beauty of the Arabic script few years ago, and from back then, I am always drawing new letterforms and playing around with the outlines of the Arabic glyphs. Since I am an Arabic type designer, I need to be inspired by something else in order to create new Arabic typefaces with contemporary mood and at the same time different than what is present already.
Letters are not only ink on paper that represents a phonetic sound; I see them as individuals with their own spirit and character. I respect them but at the same time try to play around with them.
4. Besides computer and mobile phone, what electronic devices do you have with you typically?
Digital Camera occasionally.
5. What kind of convenience, inspiration, challenge or depression do you get from the daily routines in your work and life in design?
Being a one-person company and a part-time typography instructor, I do not have any routine in my work life. I have my home design studio, I share a big designers office space in Beirut and I have my office at the Lebanese American University. So each day I am working at one of these three offices besides coffee places and hot spots areas. As long as I have my sketchbook and my laptop with a wireless connection, I am designing my Arabic letters. Inspirations come for the diverse people I meet and work with, or from books or websites I am reading. The challenge is the ability to focus on my work and feel at home in any location I am at, and to be able to be creative and productive.
6. In people’s pursuit of a contemporary life style, do you think clients also have new requirements when commissioning design projects?
When design is demanded to follow function, it should be answering the needs and requirements of the contemporary life style. For sure the demands for any design project change when compared to few years back, and it will keep on changing with the fast advancements in communication and interactive methods.
7. What is your opinion about the effect of New Media on visual design?
New Media is another design medium. Its effect on visual design is linked to the fast technological advancements of screen and interface applications and hardware.
8. What is your opinion about the crossover between typography and the academic sphere? For example: linguistics or iconography.
Typography serves legibility and readability. Typefaces are created for certain typographic applications and mediums. If a cross over is needed to improve the functionality of the typeface or typography, then it is a plus.
9. What is your opinion about “old” and “new” in typography and/or in design?
Typefaces and typography are classified according to their posture and style in historical design periods.
10. Which do you believe: design changes life or life changes design?
Design and life (social habits) are interdependent. Our life styles can be changed by the release of a new design; likewise, a certain change in our life style might demand a change in our designed applications and style. Design sometimes follows function or is just done for beauty and style. In both cases design and our life style are always influencing each other and developing for the wellbeing of earth and the human being.