AUS student designer, Rana Kassem, commissioned for Montblanc Ramadan campaign
Posted on 2023 May,03

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In a celebration of classic penmanship and Arabic design, luxury accessory brand Montblanc featured, in its stores across the Middle East this Ramadan, artwork by American University of Sharjah (AUS) visual communications student Rana Kassem.

The campaign aimed to create a modern and creative artwork for Montblanc’s boutique windows that both celebrated the Holy Month and articulated the maison’s core ethos of #inspirewriting. 

Kassem, originally from Egypt, is set to graduate from AUS’ College of Architecture, Art and Design (CAAD) next month. She was contacted by the maison when images of her creative work were spotted in an online gallery on the AUS website by Batul Bashir, an AUS graduate who works in Montblanc’s marketing department.

President of Montblanc Middle East and Africa Franck Juhel said: “The design program at AUS has an excellent reputation and after identifying Rana’s work on the AUS website, we invited her to participate in the project.”

“Montblanc has a long history of supporting the arts and culture in all its forms, and as a truly global maison it encourages the celebration of talent in every market in which it is present. Working with Rana demonstrated this, recognizing her artistic talent and harnessing the beauty of Arabic written expression at a time that is the most meaningful in our part of the world,” added Juhel.

Kassem was invited to develop an installation of handwritten Arabic calligraphy, featuring over 30 words that capture the spirit of Ramadan. Words such as “belonging," "light," and "charity" were handwritten and printed on sustainable paper strips and featured in the Montblanc stores throughout the Middle East.

“After much experimenting, I was able to create an Arabic typography uniquely for Montblanc, inspired by traditional naskh and ruqaa letterforms to ensure easy readability and accessibility. The lettering was then digitized and printed on sustainable paper for their boutique window installations,” said Kassem.

Montblanc clients were delighted to see the essence of Ramadan expressed in a way that was both traditional and contemporary in its execution.

CAAD’s culture of making is at the heart of the student experience at CAAD, which has been consistently ranked number one in the UAE for studies in art and design by QS World Subject Rankings. The college has demonstrated a commitment to delivering courses that are regionally relevant, honoring the tradition and history of Arabic design, including areas of graphic design, fine art, typography, architecture and interior design.

“I'm very grateful that during my years in CAAD I have been surrounded by professors and resources that celebrate Arabic type design. This has helped me discover my passion for Arabic design,” added Kassem.

“The skills we gain at CAAD are highly valued in the design culture in the Middle East, especially as we see the industry celebrate and preserve our design history more and more,” asserted Kassem.