Branding a Museum Using Gestures


Mathaf, the Arab Museum of Modern Art


Wolff Olins


Design and Arabic typography for the branding of Mathaf the Arab Museum of Modern Art in Qatar.


I was invited to consult the Wolff Olins team in New York on the marriage of Arabic and Latin typography in the concept phase of the branding project. The team and I challenged ourselves to come with a fresh, new, symbiotic relationship of both languages and how they would come to live in different applications. Besides the idea of gestures being a main focus of the identity, we were adamant on creating a specific typeface which would first and foremost be created in Arabic, and then adapted to English (not the other way around).


Our process lead us to exercises where we tried first to create an Arabic font extracted from Variable (font). Once we were pleased with the look and feel, Type designer Pascale Zoghbi was able to create and execute the Mathaf font in Arabic which was then adapted to English. 


The second typeface “Mathaf Script” leveraged the look and feel of our illustrated gestures. Based on the weights and characters we established in drawings,Tarek Attrissi was able to execute a hand-written script font that worked beautifully in Arabic and English.


Design Director Frank Mueller / “Mathaf” font designer: Pascale Zoghbi / “Mathaf Script” font designer: Tarek Atrissi