Huda Smitshuijzen AbiFarès

Founding Director of the Khatt Foundation, Center for Arabic Typography.

- Jan de Bruin

Member of AGI (Alliance Graphique Internationale)
@khattfoundation, @khatt_Books, @khatt_chronicles, @hudasmitshuijzen
Twitter: @khttnet


Dr. Huda Smitshuijzen AbiFarès, holds a PhD from Leiden University (in Middle Eastern Studies, 2017), an MFA from from Yale University School of Art (in Graphic Design, 1990) and a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design (in Graphic Design, 1987).

She is author of Arabic Typography: a comprehensive sourcebook (Saqi Books, London, 2001), Experimental Arabic Type (Saatchi & Saatchi, Dubai, 2002), Typographic Matchmaking (BIS Publishers, Amsterdam 2007), Typographic Matchmaking in the City (Khatt Books, Amsterdam 2011), and Arabic Type Design for Beginners (Khatt Books, Amsterdam 2013), and a number of book chapters and essays on multilingual communication and contemporary design in the Middle East. She contributes articles on design in the Middle East to academic journals and industry magazines like Baseline, Bidoun, Design Issues, and others.

She specializes in bilingual typographic research and design. She has worked as a designer for a number of years, in the US, Europe and the Arab World. She has art directed and collaborated on the design of several contemporary Arabic fonts for magazines like Aleph (London) and several companies in the Gulf. She has taught typography and graphic design at the American University of Beirut. She was the Chair of the Visual Communication Department for three years at the American University in Dubai and Special projects Director and Associate professor of Graphic Design until June 2008.
She currently supervises research of PhD candidates in the Leiden University Arts program.

She was jury member of the Jameel Prize 3 (2013), and has been a nominator for the Jameel Prize since 2014. She was a member of the advisory committee on art and design subsidies for the Mondriaan Foundation and the Creative Industries Fund, both in the Netherlands.

She curates exhibitions, organizes collaborative design research projects between Europe and the Middle East, and is editor of the Khatt Foundation online network of Arab/Middle Eastern designers ( She works between Europe and the Middle East as a typography and design consultant on projects of cultural relevance. She is the mastermind and curator of the Khatt Foundation's Typographic Matchmaking Projects (versions 1.0 , 2.0, 3.0).


Books By Huda Smitshuijzen AbiFarès include:

Inner Structures — Outer Rhythms: Contemporary Arab & Persian Graphic Design

Mouneer Al-Shaarani: Against the Grain: Exploring the Scope of the Arabic Letter

Imprimerie Catholique 1848–2000: The Catholic Press of Beirut: A Printing & Design Legacy in the Arab East

ARABIC TYPOGRAPHY: A Revised and Concise Sourcebook

Kameel Hawa: The Art of Shaping Arabic Letters

El Hema: Graphic design for social change

Arabic Type Design for Beginners: A bilingual and illustrated guidebook to Arabic type design

Typographic Matchmaking in the City: Propositions for a Pluralist Public Space




Interview: Nafas, magazine d'art:

Interview: Al Jazeera English, programme Artsworld:

Interview: Design Inbada, Afrique du Sud:

Interview: Gestalt TV:



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