Type art is popular in Western creative circles right now – but that’s nothing compared to the importance afforded the letterform in Arabic illustration and graphic design, as a new book published by Gestalten shows.

Arabesque: Graphic Design from the Arab World and Persia highlights Arabic graphics in all its forms, from logos to graffiti – taking in a variety of photomontages, hand-illustrations and typography. The work is beautiful, and much of it feels decidedly different to the design and illustration we’re used to seeing on blogs and in magazines.





Hassan Massoudy (Iraq/France; Arabic)

But the book’s single most striking feature is the central role of the text in the artworks: intricately intertwined with images, used as a background, or used alone in striking calligraphic illustrations.