Ghada Wali is a pioneering graphic designer from Egypt, who has designed fonts, brands and collaborated on high-profile, design-driven art projects. She believes graphic design can be used as a tool for social change.
Having completed a masters’ in graphic design from Florence, Italy, she went on to find new ways to build a dialogue, keeping the Arabic script as her focus. Effective communication and education is the road to more tolerant communities, says Wali. And who would have thought she would employ something as inconspicuous as Lego bricks to achieve her dream of making the Arabic script more accessible to people the world over.
“What if I combined the two most significant symbols of innocence and Arab identity? Maybe then people could resonate. What’s more pure, innocent and fun as Lego? It’s a universal child’s toy. You play with them, you build with them, and with them, you imagine endless possibilities. My eureka moment was to find a bilingual solution for Arabic education,” she says.
Ghada’s efforts were not intended to have only a cultural fallout – what she was also doing was help create tolerance in a world that seemed to have depleting resources of the same. She says, “I want to introduce the Arabic language to youngsters, foreign speakers, but most importantly help refugees integrate to their host societies through creating a bilingual learning system, a two-way flow of communication. I called it Let’s Play.”
She goes on to explain the process employed in creating this learning system. In her studio in Florence, she started off by building the letters.
She photographed each letter separately, and then retouched every letter and chose the correct colour background and typefaces to use. Ultimately, she created the full letter set, which is 29 letters times four different forms. That’s 116 letters built just in one week.
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Synopsis: After a visit to a European library in search of Arabic and Middle Eastern texts turned up only titles about fear, terrorism and destruction, Ghada Wali resolved to represent her culture in a fun, accessible way. She uses Lego to teach Arabic script, harnessing the power of graphic design to create connection and positive change