Graphic Design


Not just any notebook…

20140427_233050I thought I’d start the new year of posting with a rather inspirational set of books. These aren’t just your plain run of the mill thin lined paper put together with staples and bounded with a tacky front cover. These beauties, courtesy of my husband, came all the way from the Fabriano shop in Rome. Paper nerds will know that Fabriano are a traditional company based in Italy, specialising in premium quality paper since 1264. They make the best paper you can buy, combine them together and wrap it up in impressively designed covers. This set of seven A5 sized books come in a range of sexy colours aka known as the Bouquet notebooks.


It’s like buying a piece of art…

20140324_145558Each book contains different thickness of paper and ranging from 80-100 gr. These beauts are so damn good looking, I don’t actually want to write in them. They’re just too good for that. No, these mini delights deserve pride of place on your bookshelf, or neatly arrange on your writing table.

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7up design icon

It was hot yesterday so I stopped at a koosk by the side of the road and cracked open an ice cold bottle of 7up. heaven. I must confess that it wasn’t just the weather that made me buy the drink, but the vibrant envy green of the glass and bold typography of the logo. It was seducing. A clear message was sent to coke saying 7up yours, it’s my time in the limelight.

Long live Egypt

On the weekend I went to the savage that is City Stars mall, and did the usual -walk around the beast aimlessly ogling at the objects that are either too expensive or useless.

20130426_213031                                                                                   Strange manequins in shop front

Sit in a cute as a cupcake coffee shop. Order over priced hot chocolate with cream. Hot, but cheap quality cream from spray bottle. Outside the cafe a fed up African babysitter screeches at two young boys of 12 who refuse to comply with her orders. Frustrated and vexed by their teasing, she tries to take a swipe at them. She misses,instead her blackberry crashes on the polished marble causing the boys to jeer uncontrollably. A tirade of threats and insults ring out of her mouth, yet the little brats retreat happily up the escalator. She follows grudgingly, her thumb furiously tapping away at her Blackberry.

We sought out a burger joint, wanting to cocoon ourselves in some familiarity. All you can eat salad bar with an array of sauces to drench your food.  The 22% service charge is more hefty than the burgers.

I bought some cool t-shirts designed by Nas Trends. Love the graphics.



A few hours is more than I can take in a mall, before I start craving the fresh air and open spaces not dedicated to consumerism.  We were stopped from going out one exit and told to go down the escalators and turn right. Being such a big mall you would think they would have signs directing you to certain places, but of course with this being Egypt they tend not to think about simple things like that (you’ll know what I mean if you’ve lived here).  It was like a maze trying to find the right exit, until we finally saw a sign directing us to the taxi rank in the car park.

Two casually dressed men stood half leaning against an abandoned shopping trolley, a look of boredom written across their faces. As we approached they stood upright and nodded vigorously when we asked if it was a metered taxi. What no need to haggle the price? Hmmm something seemed too good to be true (and of course it usually is). The driver was in a hurry and was stuffing the pram in the back seat, almost banging into me. He then tried to shut the door causing his window to almost break. We told him to be careful and put the pram in the boot, but he chose to ignore us. A fight broke out between the driver and manager until we were ushered into the taxi behind, where the driver was less aggressive and more easy going.

As the taxi made its way through the over crowded streets the meter seemed to be moving faster than usual, and by the time we reached our first destination it was more than double the price. It turns out that the ‘metered’ taxis in the mall are three times more because you don’t have the hassle of haggling it down. “Everyone knows that” the driver said, well aware that we didn’t.  We paid and hopped out, waiting by the side of the road for another.

I was fuming at having been conned (even after three years of living here) and was thinking why I moved here. Luckily though, the next taxi driver reminded me why. He was a jovial man, even though he looked as though he was driving for ten hours straight. At first glance I wanted to dismiss him just like the rest of them, but what he said changed my mind. He started to tell us that the Quran mentions Egypt many times directly and non directly. That Jesus passed through Egypt, Moses came to mount Sinai and that Muhammad (pbuh) passed through on his night journey.

The prophet (Pbuh) said that he is “the son of the two slaughtered ones”:

Mu`awiya (Allah be well-pleased with him) related that a Bedouin once addressed the Prophet (upon him blessings and peace): “O Son of the Two Sacrificed Ones!” (ya ibna al-dhabihayn) i.e. O descendant of both Isma`il (upon him peace) and `Abd Allah b. `Abd al-Muttalib, whom his father had vowed to sacrifice at the Ka`aba but then he was allowed to sacrifice 100 camels instead.

Prohphet Abrahams wife Hajar was Egyptian and the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) married a coptic called Maria who was also Egyptian. We are also told in a hadith to be good to the people of Egypt:

The Prophet (s) looked far back into history and evoked ties of kinship going back centuries, when he enjoined good treatment of the people of Egypt, as is recorded in the hadith narrated by Muslim:

´You will conquer Egypt, so when you conquer it, treat its people well, for they have protection (dhimmah) and the ties of kinship (rahm).’ Or he said: ´… protection and the relationship by marriage (sihr).’

The ‘ulam , explained that ra­m here referred to Hajar the mother of Isma’il, and sihr referred to Maryah, the mother of the Prophet’s son Ibrahim – both of who came from Egypt.  Source

The driver told us that it was fate that we were overcharged because now we are sitting in his Taxi, learning some interesting facts about Egypt. In that split second all negative thoughts about being conned, and living here evaporated. Instead I was reminded of the beauty and optimism both within the land and people. تحيا مصر (Long live Egypt)

Hijab styling

I’m always on the look out for inspiration everywhere i go. I love walking around my area and spotting something that no one else has noticed. The ancient rusted up car that people meander past not stopping to appreciate the curved sexiness of the bumper or the vivid 50’s diner green of the surface, now pocketed with rust and the ever ubiquitous scratch.  They dont appreciate the history of the car or think about how many people this beauty has safely transported over its life time. No to them its just a rusty old model, long due for retirement in the scrap yard.

I came across this book for different hijab stylings called Aalias HIjab Styling Guide. Who would have thought there was so many ways to style a hijab? Styles that include those who wear glasses, winter hijab styles, wedding styles and also a casual gym styled hijab.

I loved the book and prefer hard copy versions of anything as opposed to watching youtube videos. With the book you can pull it off your bookshelf and flick to the relevant page in a couple of seconds. The design is brilliantly executed and the step by step pictures make it easy to follow.

hijab book pic

hijab pic2

Pictures kindly provided by Aalia



Youtube: Alz786uk

Printing workshop

Yesterday I had opportunity to go to a printing workshop in Giza, Cairo, located just near the famous toblerone shaped pyramids. It was fascinating to see the process of printing leaflets, and how books are made from every stage starting from the printing, gluing, and cutting to create a perfect product. There was various machines in charge of different tasks, with my  favourite being one that resembles a wheel. All the pages of a book are slotted into the compartment and the wheel spins round where glue is attached to the spine by another part of the machine, the cover pushed onto the glued, and then the final process is the machine closing the book together. Genius.

This particular workshop prints leaflets, posters (most recently election posters), school text books and packaging for pharmaceutical companies.

Printing plates

Checking plates for dust and then wetting it before putting into machine to start the printing process

Checking sample plate for mistakes in colour and print

Finished product

Business card with a twist

This has to be the best business card I’ve ever seen, made from a metro ticket.