Techtype Conference Beirut, Lebanon

, by Peter McCree

On Saturday July 9th, three Letter Exchange members gave presentations at the Techtype Conference in Beirut, Lebanon. The conference, organized by the Lebanese Graphic Design Syndicate was attended by around 70 members of the city’s design community.

Along with Zaid Al Hilali, an Adobe expert from Dubai, Letter Exchange members Arlette and Mourad Boutros plus David Wadmore gave presentations in the morning and early afternoon sessions. These were followed by a workshop, led by David and supported by all lecturers, on practical applications of layout, grids and typography.
The presentation by Arlette was on designing an Arabic typeface including different weights using Glyphs software. It also included how to design an Arabic typeface to work with a Latin one. The talk was well received, especially by an audience that was, by and large, fluent in Arabic, English and French.
A first-time visitor to the country would be amazed how all three languages are quite often used by the locals in one sentence!
Mourad’s talk was factual and highly entertaining, delving into the thorny subject of typeface piracy as well as common errors in understanding when employing Arabic typography and calligraphy in design. Copies of his books, Arabic for Designers and Talking About Arabic were also available.
David started the proceedings with a talk on the history of grids in publications and some practical analyses of his time as Associate Head of Design at The Times, and the final presentation by Zaid Al Hilali showed some extremely interesting innovations by Adobe in their Bridge and InDesign applications.
For the workshop, the delegates worked in teams or as individuals to produce a layout in both Arabic and English, with excellent results given the limited time available.
On the day after the conference the Letter Exchange ‘team’ were taken on a visit to the Gibran Khalil Gibran museum in the north of the country followed by an al fresco lunch and then a visit to the ancient forest of The Cedars of Lebanon.
Our thanks go to LGDS executives, Rihab Zebian in particular and Halim Choueiry for making the conference such a memorable occasion.