About the Khatt Foundation

Center for Arabic Typography

Khatt Foundation Logo - Huda Smitshuijzen AbiFarès

We are a cultural foundation dedicated to advancing Arabic typography and design research in the Middle East, North Africa and their diasporas. Building cross-cultural creative networks is an important instrument for this end.

The Khatt Foundation has developed a network of design specialists working on research projects and programs focused on contemporary design in the Arab World and Middle East. It aims to raise awareness of the vital role design can play in building a sustainable environment through conferences, forums and publications. It strives to stimulate design and production of socially relevant products and artifacts, to the highest professional standards.

The Khatt Foundation was founded in 2004 in Amsterdam. The goals of the foundation are: to build cross-cultural creative networks, provide a platform for dialogue and design research, support and initiate cross-cultural and inter-disciplinary collaboration, publish critical writing and establish a knowledge center on contemporary design from the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region. The Khatt Foundation strives to develop typographic design within the broader context of applied arts and visual culture. In partnership with established institutions, it has organized several successful events, including: Kitabat (conference on Arabic typography, Dubai, 2006), El Hema (exhibition, Amsterdam 2007), Letters Off the Page (exhibition, Haus Der Kunst, Munich 2010), and Typographic Matchmaking series: Typographic Matchmaking 1.0, Typographic Matchmaking in the City 2.0, and Typographic Matchmaking in the Maghrib 3.0 (research project, Amsterdam 2008–2017). The Khatt Foundation’s online creative network is a networking platform and a virtual information center on design and visual culture from the MENA region.

Our activities

— Setting up design research projects that help revive and renovate design and crafts in the Middle East/North Africa in partnership with local industries and designers.

— Facilitating and assisting in research projects on typography and design.

— Organizing workshops/seminars on Arabic typography and design in the Middle East/North Africa.

— Organizing conferences and exhibitions in collaboration with other European and/or Middle Eastern/North African institutions on Arabic typography and design.

— Providing information through a network of experts, about type technology and visual communication in the the Middle East/North Africa.

— Publishing books, catalogs, and articles about design and visual communication in the Middle East/North Africa.

— Coordinating exchange programs between Europe and the Middle East/North Africa.

— Creating an 'Arab/Iranian' design community with a presence on the international design scene.

— Offering design research residencies in collaboration with institutions in Europe and Middle East/North Africa.

Board members

Dr. Yasmine Nachabe Taan (Chair of the Department of Design, Lebanese American University. Beirut).
Fawzi Rahal (Managing Director, Flat6Labs. Beirut).
Dr. Huda Smitshuijzen AbiFarès (Designer & Writer. Founding Director of the Khatt Foundation. Amsterdam).
Willem Velthoven (New Media Designer. Mediamatic. Amsterdam).
Edo Smitshuijzen (Graphic & Product Designer, Writer. Amsterdam).
Omar Saif Ghobash (UAE Ambassador to Russia, Businessman and Cultural Activist. Abu Dhabi-Moscow).

Ambassadors & Advisors

Salma Touqan (Contemporary Curator Middle East, V&A Museum, London).
Gerard Hadders (Graphic Designer/Buro Plantage, Rotterdam).
Nada Debs (Furniture Designer/ Nada Debs, Beirut).
Salem Al Qasimi (Founding Director, Fikra Design Studio, Sharjah).
Nadine Kanso (Jewelry Designer/Photographer, Dubai).
Nathalie Fallaha (Graphic Designer/Vit-e design studio, Beirut).
Bahia Shehab (Creative Director/MI7 design studio, Cairo).
Karl Bassil (Graphic Designer/Mind The Gap design studio, Beirut).
Mohamed Rahmo (madNess/ Cultural Activism & Incubator, Casablanca).