Children’s Book


I know its been forever since I last posted, but I promise I’ll try posting as much as I can again. So its my last semester at ZU, as excited as I am, I am also sad that I’ll miss it so much. So let’s enjoy it while it lasts shall we.

I was really happy I was able to get into the Design For Social Change course. Not only does the course seem interesting, but also my favorite professors teach it! 😀 Anyways, we were asked to make a children’s book as our first project. We had to choose one local topic/issue that we were going to be experts in after we research deeply into it. I chose Arabic Language Conservation as my topic, simply because of what we obviously see around us nowadays where Arabic is actually losing its value and importance. Children are starting to get more comfortable speaking English than Arabic, and actually speak English more than Arabic in their everyday lives.

I began with secondary research as a first step, basically to help me learn more about the issue before interviewing people. One shocking fact I found was that Arabic is the third most spoken language in the UAE (after English and Hindu) even though its an Arabic country!!! I then moved to primary research where I had a casual unstructured interview with my mother, and she talked about the reasons she thinks Arabic is slowly fading. Here is what she had to say:

Unstructured Interview

My name is Huma Al Hashemi, an Emirati mother living in Ajman. Finished my undergraduate studies in public schools; we started studying English in our 7th year in school. All our subjects in school were taught in Arabic, all the projects we did were in Arabic, and our curriculum has very strict and strong Arabic courses. We had 5-6 classes of Arabic language weekly. Back then, Arabic had its value, everyone on TV and the radio spoke in proper Arabic, and not the simple Arabic which everyone understands. English at the time was a very weak language between the people. Except for some of the families who were more educated and traveled more, English was spoken better. In our case, my father was a businessman who met with businessmen from countries abroad and worked in ARAMCO with American people so he spoke English and taught us too. Later in university, our studies were mostly in English.

Learning other language is very important, and learning about other cultures is also important. English is also important in the cases were students decide to continue their undergraduate and graduate studies abroad. However, we should not let it take over our mother language and our culture.

There are reasons that I believe lead to the declination of the Arabic language, which is the approach of teaching in the public schools; where do not teach it in an exciting and attracting way which would make the students love the language, so studying it became very boring and forced to the students, to the extent that they can’t wait to get it over with.  That is one of the main reasons of why students run away from the Arabic language. The other reason is that speaking in English makes them feel that they are going along with the modern language and makes them feel more open to the world, and makes them feel very up to date. Before, English was useful to business to traveled abroad and who met with foreigners and people from abroad, however nowadays we are starting to see English taking over everyone from children to elderly people. The reason behind this is because of the way parents are starting to take their kids to private schools with English curriculums, which is a way of showing the social welfare in our countries, and how modern these families are modernized. They also started viewing public schools as inferior to their level. So, Arab children in private schools started studying Arabic as a language class like they Spanish or French America and all the rest of the subjects are in English, where we previously used to study English as a language and everything else was in Arabic. Over that, private schools encourage and sometimes even force students to speak in English even outside class to strengthen their English, and that leads to children getting used to speak English even at home. The thinking language amongst the younger Arab generations is starting to shift to English, which really disappoints me. That is because the thinking language is usually the mother language of people, so Arab children having English as their thinking language means their mother language is shifting to English and not the language that was acquired from their parents.

I believe that if teaching Islamic was stronger that wouldn’t have happened. That is because the more knowledge one has on Islam and the Qur’an the better their Arabic language would be. Our language and our culture and traditions now identify our identity. Our language is already losing its value, our culture will also follow the same road, and we will be left with nothing.

Children are started to get more westernized and modernized, were they start following latest western news, and actually judge other children who know nothing about the western world, including new movies, tv shows, latest fashion…etc. Media plays a great role in the conservation of the Arabic language. For instance, nowadays TV presenters are using the very simple Arabic while presenting without using the proper academic Arabic words, and also some terms that are not originally Arabic.

The next step what a structured interview or a questionaire with 15 people. I had 18 people fill in the follow survey:


Our Language, Our Identity

I am working on designing a children’s book to raise awareness about Arabic language. It is clear that our language is losing its importance in the Arabic world because of other languages taking over. Arabic is now the third most spoken language in the UAE. Please help me learn more about your knowledge in Arabic by taking a few minutes to fill in this survey. Thank you!

What is your age?

  • Under 18
  • 18-21
  • 22-25
  • Over 25

What is you gender?

  • Male
  • Female

What is you nationality?

Which of the following school system are your currently enrolled in, or graduated from?

  • Private schools
  • Public schools

What is your mother language?

  • English
  • Arabic
  • Both
  • I don’t know

What language do you think in?

  • English
  • Arabic
  • Both
  • I don’t know

What language do you usually speak with your family?

  • English
  • Arabic
  • Both
  • I don’t know

What language do you usually speak with friends?

  • English
  • Arabic
  • Both
  • I don’t know

How would you rate you fluency in Arabic?

Weak 1    2    3    4    5 Strong

How would you rate you fluency in Arabic?

Weak 1    2    3    4    5 Strong

What language were you spoken to as a child?

  • English
  • Arabic
  • Both
  • I don’t know

What language would you first teach your children?

  • English
  • Arabic
  • Both
  • I don’t know

If you were asked to speak publicly, what language would you most comfortable speaking?

  • English
  • Arabic
  • Both
  • I don’t know

How many Arabic books do you read yearly?

  • None
  • 1-5
  • 5-10
  • More than 10

How many Arabic books do you read yearly?

  • None
  • 1-5
  • 5-10
  • More than 10

Are you concerned of the conservation of the Arabic language?

  • Yes
  • No
  • I don’t know

Would you help to preserve the language?

  • Yes
  • No
  • I don’t know

What actions would you take?

Click here to view the survey results

Survey Analysis

I interviewed 17 people with different age groups that range between 14 and 30, mostly Emiratis. All of my interviewees are currently enrolled in, or graduated from private schools, which means all their primary education language was English. Even though all of the participants in this questionnaire stated that their mother language is Arabic, 10 out of 17 said that their thinking language in a mixture between both Arabic and English, 6 said English, and 1 said Arabic. Moreover, the majority of the people I interviewed stated that they would speak in both Arabic and English to their families and friends. Also, most of them answered that we were spoken to in both Arabic and English when they were children, and they will also speak in both Arabic and English to their children.

It is really surprise that although everyone I interviewed has Arabic as their mother language, but they still believed they were more fluent in English than in Arabic, and almost 77% of them said that they would be most comfortable speaking English publicly or in front of a crowd. There can be many reasons for that, including the lack of reading Arabic books, were 72% said that they have never read an Arabic book, whereas 44% said they read 1-5 English books a year, and 16% said they read 5-10 English book yearly.

With all the results I got, I am somewhat relieved that the majority of the participants are actually concerned about the conservation of the Arabic language and they are willing to help preserve the language and take some action, which includes increasing the use of Arabic at home, schools, universities, hospitals, increasing Arabic subjects and extra curricular activities in schools, including Quran lessons, introducing more fun Arabic movies, trying to rely on Arabic more than English in their everyday lives. One of the most interesting answers I got was from an 18 year old male Emirati, currently continuing his undergraduate degrees in Korea, who states:

The English language I believe is growing more and more in our country. I think tourism has a lot to do with it. Many people come to our country and we implement English more for them. But we see a country like Japan for example; one of the most visited countries in the world yet they held on to their language. Like they consider their language something that they care about because it is unique and special to them. We should let the younger generation feel that commitment. It’s not just the language that is swaying its most of our cultures and traditions. Though I may have grown up with them. Most of the kids of this generation don’t know a lot. Schools try to get them interested but that is not the way. A way to fix this might be to like have days in popular places with an event al related to our culture and language. The more tourists get to know it, the more it interests them. Then it won’t be that distant.

Another interesting answer was from an anonymous interviewee, who stated:

Ever since we were children we were spoken to in English, whether it was a private or public school, English is a very dominant language. If every parent and elderly made it clear to children that Arabic is their dominant language and not Arabic and child will grow up mastering Arabic. No flyers nor campaigns will make people be better in their own language, a change will only occur if the person him/herself really want to make a change and be better in their mother tongue

Mind Map

Screen Shot 2013-03-18 at 6.45.13 PM


Majed is a 6-year-old Emirati boy. He is a first grade student at Sharjah American International School. Even though Majed hates waking up in the morning for school, he always loves seeing his friends and playing with them in break time. His school has a playing ground with slides and swings. He loves his teacher Miss Khaleel who teaches them the Arabic, because she is very fun and sings with them every morning. She also plays hide and seek with them sometimes. At home, Majed loves playing with his baby sister, Mahra, and he always reads her his favorite storybook about the boy who lost his dog in the park. Like any other child, Majed loves watching TV. As soon as he arrives from school, he rushes to finish his homework and then watch his favorite cartoons at 4 o’clock.



The next step to after creating our own brand and logo, was to create a professional artist’s portfolio, and because we had only a couple of weeks left for the semester to end we had to work really fast. So, I started out with a specific idea on mind and I sketched a few different sketches of the layout of the book.

My idea was to create square portfolio, however the cover-page would be longer and so it flips over and there’s a die-cut that reveals my logo beneath it. The dimensions of the porfolio will be 210×210 mm.

The next step was to make a simple paper mockup of the portfolio, and how projects and content will be arranged inside the portfolio. So, I decided to separate my projects according to subject, and most important projects first. A content pages comes first, and then the Bio and Artist Statement, and then the projects. I placed an inspirational quote on the first and last pages too.

After that, moved on to InDesign. I created an interesting pattern out of my logo and placed it on on the cover-page, and lowered the opacity but kept the logo that will be revealed from the laser cut on full opacity. I made a second mockup just to try and see how the flip cover page is going to work. Even though the colors printed wrong, it still helped me decided on some sizes and spacings. The different subjects are each labeled with a different color column on the side of the page with the name of the subject written on it.

After I finished designing the portfolio, the next and final step was printing. Due to lack of time and resources, I had to change the design on my portfolio in the last minute because all the printer shops I called could not print the cover-page like I wanted them to. So instead of the flip cover-page, I changed it to a normal coverpage that had a laser cut and reveals my logo that is placed on the next page.

I did not like how the printer place printed my portfolio. The pages weren’t perfectly aligned and I some pages were misplaced. So thank god I had time and I was able to print it again in a different place. Here’s my final porfolio:

Please click here to view my online portfolio

Please click here to download my digital portfolio


Client Brief
GYEM asked us to create a campaign that would help send awareness to the youth population concerning the importance of health and the reality of the food they are eating. They asked us as designers to come up with a design solution. The targeted audience were the youth in Dubai. The campaign holds four main quarters, which are:
1) How the food we eat affects our future and our planet.
2) Debunking food myths and balanced diets.
3) Food in schools.
4) Exercise.

Project Brief
We provided the client with solutions that will help them in raising awareness about the importance of health and food. Our quarter revolved around exercise. As a design team, we were asked to create the branding part of the campaign and develop a creative way to grab attention by integrating fun and extraordinary ideas to present exercise. Team Pause decided to go with photography and videography as a design direction since it expresses more action and movement. The emotions that are presented through still images reflected what our idea was all about, fun and exercise, and the only way to prove it is fun is by showing it. We wanted the audience to be engaged further so we suggested few activites or events that help keeping the campaign alive. For instance, the flashmob as an introduction to the campaign, and a fitness calendar to help with time management and carry on with the purpose of
the campaign.

For our final graphic design project, we worked with GYEM to brand and create a campaign for a topic that is related to health and food. The class was broken down into four groups, each group worked on a specific quarter. Our quarter was about Exercise. At the beginning, our team leader, Fatima Alhashemi, asked each girl in the group to think of a theme (including name, concept, tagline..etc.) in general. I was able to come up with the name “Run For Your Life”, and with the help of Fatima, we were able to come up with a short brief, concept, and inspiration:

Run for your life
“ Its not all about weight”

“Run for your life” is a campaign that suggest a better life, instead of focusing and measuring their weight, people
should focus on fitness and being healthy, you wont be healthier if your skinny, so run for your life not your weight.

Its obvious that life is all we got, and we are responsible for it, who said skinny means healthy? That’s what we’re
trying to change.

Few things that got us excited to run and also inspired us and might inspire you guys

However, our other team member, Amel, was able to come up with a more interesting idea. The campaign is called Pause. The name was inspired by Pitbull’s song called Pause, and the video is actually a zumba dance video.

Other responsibilities:
– Helped teammates with the typography in the announcements.
– Final retouches in the announcements to make sure all the elements and the typography are consistent throughout them all.
– Found a model for the female version of the poster.
– Helped photoshooting female model.
– Gave moral support to teammates when they needed it
– Suggested the idea of people taking a pledge to start exercise more often.

I was given the branding part of the project. I first started with the idea of the pause sign stamped on our fingers. I immediately started with illustrator without sketching the idea first. I also experimented with a few different typographic logo variations.

However, the logo was very weak like it was and it did not translate the strength and message we wanted to send with a campaign about exercise. So, I started reseaching for inspirational logos, and then started sketching out as much as I could.


Inspirational Logos:

Typographic Variations:

I tried experimenting with several typographic explorations with both serif and sans serif typefaces to see which typeface looks stronger. I decided to go with Futura. Since it’s a sans serif typeface, I think it looks neutral and strong for an exercise campaigns.

Black and White Logo Variations:

I took the sketches I made and transferred them to Adobe Illustrator. I put all the logos on both a light background and a dark background to experiment what looks better.

Colored Logo Variations:

Color Palettes:

I experimented the logos using the following color palettes. I chose those specific color palettes because I wanted colors that were energetic and vibrant, and something that could really represent a campaign about exercise.

Final Logo Variations:

After experimenting with several different color palettes, and after asking teammates for feedback, we thought that choosing a very vibrant and energetic color palette would reflect movement and energy and exercising. However, because we later decided to go with the photography direction, we changed the color  palette to more subtle, but still energetic, colors that are fresh and clean.

Final Logo:

Click here to open my process PDF file.

Type poster

I know I was supposed to post this a several days ago, but my illustrator file has been giving me a really hard time. The file I’m working on is extremely huge and it takes foreverrrrr to make changes, that’s because I changed the space background to a higher quality image which made the file very big in size. It even crashed on me a few times (once after I was done with the whole this and I lost more than half of the work :”””( ).

Anyways, I was able to get a few screenshots of the final posters. I have 3 different variations of three different opacity levels for the filled circle. I prefer the one with the lowest opacity, what do you think?


Type poster draft 2

Hello everyone,

This weekend while I was working on my other projects, Jay-Z’s song “Forever Young” was playing in my head over and over again. So, I got this idea of putting the lyrics in my type poster because it’s kinda related to my typeface where it’s very young and casual. I also included Arabic translation of the song.

Type poster draft


So I started putting the ideas I had for the posters on illustrator, however what I did so far does not look like how I wanted it to look like because it still need more work. My idea for the first one is to make the poster look like a page from a notebook because the typeface is my handwriting, and add some quotes, song lyrics, and doodles. For the second one, I was just thinking of putting a quote (might be changed), and playing with the color, illustration, size, layout…etc. kind of like what you see on :p

Final typeface: Raw

I’m so happy I’m finally done with creating my full bilingual typeface. I’m really happy with the results and I think it really shows consistency throughout the typeface. I extremely enjoyed creating them, both while sketching and transforming them into digital vectors.I had few difficulties with some of the letters but I was able to think of a solution after few sketches. Also, I believe that creating the Arabic version of the typeface is somewhat harder and more time consuming than the English letters. So if you ever think of create a typeface don’t ever leave the Arabic letters to the last minute! :p


For our second Typography 2 project this semester, we are asked to create a full bilingual typeface, and associate is with one of the type classifications given to us. After lots of thinking about what the typeface I will create could look like, I finally decided to make it a handwritten typeface.

People always told my I have a very legible, clear, and neat handwriting. So, I always imagined it being a full functioning typeface for people to use. I finally got the opportunity to make it happen. Even though the typeface will look like my font, I will still make changes and adjust the thicknesses, sizes…etc. Handwritten typefaces usually look very scribbly and scratchy, however, I’m hoping mine will be more settled, clean, and not very scribbly. It will be quite curvy (but not too curvy), sans serif, and casual.

I imagine my typeface to be used in fun and more informal occasions. It will probably be used by the younger generations. One special aspect about handwritten typefaces is that they almost always look very friendly. So, I don’t think it will be used in a poster for a horror movie.

Even though we don’t usually pay attention to the characteristics of our handwritings, it is very important to think about them when transforming them into a font. All letters should have same proportions, thicknesses, and overall feeling.


(to be added)

Digital Vector Phase:

Final Bilingual Font Specimen Sheets:

Infographics: Dubai’s Hidden Treasures on the Streets

We were asked to create an infographic poster that answer a question that has to do about Street Vending. After researching about street vending in general and the focusing on street vending in Dubai, I noticed that the ones in Dubai are not like the typical ones around the world, they are more like markets with shops or vendors usually selling the same or similar item. I was also surprised from the markets, or Souks, I found in Dubai because I honestly did not know most of them existed until I made my research. For that reason I decided to make my question “Where are street vendors found in Dubai?” and make my big title or tagline: “Dubai’s Hidden Treasures on the Streets“.



Sketches of 3 different layouts:

Digital Process: