Since 2012, five owners of small artisan businesses located in the heart of Amman’s downtown or in unprivileged neighborhoods, have benefited from Wajha’s free design and branding works. A custom-made logo, individual lettering and business cards were designed to match the story of Khaled, a Deaf tailor or to reflect on the identity of Al Muhtaseb the owner of a 40 years old bookshop. Stencil directional signages were produced in five different languages to lead to the shop of Abu Ahmad, the barber and a new signage having “パラソルヘンべえ , Parasol Henbee” a vintage Japanese cartoon character was used to indicate Abu Ahed mini mart.

These facelifts is the result of Hussein Alazaat and Ali Almasri, two graphic designers from Amman, who initiated Wajha a social design initiative.

Each project is the result of a collaborative process and a contextual analysis to consider the owner’s identity, the shop localisation as much as a the business results and clients. This success of this site-specific design plays a part in developing the local economy and the social fabric of the city. For Wajha’s founders, it also renew with the cultural heritage of the Arab business world of the 1950s and 1960s which was a golden age for sign writers and painters whose craft died out with the onset of the computer age.

The online platform that Wajha is creating will be both a library of design elements (icons, fonts, illustration ..etc) as well as a window to the history of Arab art calligraphy – it will give an open access to anyone who’s interested to re-use them again in offering free design services.

image credit

  • Wajha, Elmuhtaseb Bookshop, since 1949