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Art and Design Field Trip to London

The American University of Kuwait's Graphic Design, Environmental Design, and Modern Art History professors Marcella Kulchitsky and Sharon Lawrence arranged a week-long academic field trip to London during spring break 2010. The purpose of the trip was to attend a design conference on combining Arabic and English typography, as well as to expose students to master artists, historical sites, and conduct a critical analysis of way-finding and signage systems.

Professors Kulchitsky and Lawrence arranged a lecture and workshop with Mourad Boutros from Pulse House design firm, a master designer, type designer and author of several books on typography.

The series of lectures was designed by Mourad Boutrous, and introduced the young designers to the world of design in different areas. The conference focused on Arabic calligraphy, typography and design. Speakers included Dave Farey who presented on the use of 'Type Families' and how they relate to each other with their benefit for graphic designers and typographers. George Kandalaft, another guest speaker, introduced Arabic Web-Typography. Well-known British artist Robin Hazelwood presented his paintings and discussed his inspiration and the process of creativity in his work, as well as in the work of artists and designers in general. He is currently working on a project with Mourad Boutrous combining his painting and Boutros' calligraphy, and students were treated to an unveiling of the work. Boutros discussed the stages of development of Arabic typography throughout the ages and its relation to the communications world of today. One of this own landmark typeface designs; "Tanseek" was introduced to the students. It is particularly important, since it has been designed to keep the space occupied by Arabic typography equivalent to the Latin; consequently, it is the first and only harmonious range of Arabic-Latin /serif and sans serif/ typefaces yet designed to serve the needs of today's creative industry.

Photographer Anthony Dawton was the last speaker of the conference, and he verified the importance of typography in photography. His presentation included the history of the use of photography with type, and he issued an invitation to typographers and graphic designers to collaborate with him in order to produce images that combine typography with his photography, synergistically producing a whole that is greater than the parts.

Besides the Pulse House lecture series students also visited Holmes Wood, another well-known design studio in London, specializing in environmental design. Alexandra Wood, one of the partners in the firm, and her designers had a discussion session with the students and treated them to a tour of the studio, sharing some of the firm's work-in-progress.

Along with the graphic and environmental design lectures and discussions, the students experienced artwork in real life that they had only seen in books before. At the Royal Academy of Art, for the popular exhibition, "Vincent Van Gogh: The Artist and His Letters", where the artist's sketches, letters and paintings were on display.

Students also visited The National Gallery on Trafalgar Square, where they saw famous works of art such as Jan Van Eyck's Arnolfini Wedding Portrait, Raphael's The Madonna of the Pinks and paintings by Rubens, Monet, Seurat and many others from the 13th Century.

A day trip to Stonehenge was arranged ad the group stopped at Windsor Castle to view the design and detail of the artwork and the castle itself. The last destination on the day trip was Bath, where the group visited the 2000 year-old Roman Baths.

In the evenings, the professors took another approach to the Arts and included three expeditions to London's legendary theater district. Les Miserables , The Lion King, Stomp. Local transportation during the trip was partially sponsored by Al-Soor Financial Consultants.

The AUK students' visit to Pulse House was featured on the following link in Boutrous's webpage. http://www.arabicfonts.com/edu_det.asp?art_id=1

Images from the trip:

ART & GDES London travel group lead by Professors Sharon Lawrence and Marcella Kulchitsky photographed at Stonehenge, one of the cultural stops during the trip

Suad and Dalal problem solving during the workshop


Faisal admires environmental design work at the Holmes Wood Studio during a tour of the firms office in London

Aljahara investigates the signage system in London

Arabic Typographer, author and illustrator, Mourad Boutros

Lecture series led by Arabic Typographer, Mourad Boutros

Rana tries applying Letraset letters during the workshop

Working out typography issues with Mourad Boutros

Traveling by the Underground in London was a new experience for some of the students

Released by the PR & Marketing Department on the 26th May 2010

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