Letters to Wear : Arabic Typography Competition

Deadline extended until 5 January 2015

5 nov 2014
20 mars 2015

A Product Design Competition for Bag Charms
Closing date for all submissions is the 5th of January 2015
Winning Prize: €10,000 + a realized collection

LettersToWear_Image_sm -

The Project

International accessories brand Baraboux*, has joined forces with the Khatt Foundation to announce an open call for artists and typographers specializing in Arabic type, to take part in the Baraboux Letters to Wear design competition. Artists and type designers of all accomplishments are being given the unique opportunity to design a set of Arabic letters that would eventually be realized into bag charms for one auspicious winner, through a paid product design commission, and judged by a consummate line-up of well known Arabic typography specialists from the region and internationally.

Working with the Khatt Foundation on this special project, the goal is to develop a product personalization concept based on Arabic Typography, with the aim of giving a platform to young Arab designers to express themselves and present a contemporary outlook on Arabic visual culture. This will allow young Arab talent to reach out to wider audiences within the Middle East and internationally.

This call for submissions is for the design and development of a detached Arabic alphabet for a new collection of charms to be placed on the Baraboux handbags. These charms will allow clients to customize their bag with their own initials.

Baraboux is a luxury fashion accessories brand founded by Reema Bandar Al Saud, who is also the Creative Director. The brand launched with its first collection in the Fall of 2013 and produces 3 collections per year. All product development, material sourcing and manufacturing are centralized in Florence with a series of talented Italian artisans and craftsmen. Currently, Baraboux has a strong wholesale business with its key markets being the Middle East and Europe. We will be launching the 2015 Collections in the USA.

The Competition

The shortlisted designs will be exhibited at Design Days Dubai in March 2015, and an awards ceremony will take place announcing the winner.

The event will be supported by a lateral design talk around the subject of Arabic language in fashion and product design at Design Days Dubai 2015.

A € 10,000 commission fee will be paid to the winning entry in the competition
We have secured space within Design Days Dubai in March to exhibit the design by the top 20 entrants in the competition

In June 2015, we will be launching it at Fashion Week in Paris for the Spring Summer 2016 Collection. Where the winning design will be presented.

The collection will remain a key product category of Baraboux thereafter. (The name of the designer of the collection should appear on the product: ie. Designed by X for Baraboux). All manufacturing and production will be done in Florence, Italy.

The Jury

The design competition will be curated and juried by a select group of designers, artists and savvy style leaders from the region:

HRH Princess Reema Bandar Al Saud – Raised and educated in Washington, D.C., Princess Reema holds a Bachelor of Arts in Museum Studies from George Washington University. HRH Princess Reema Bint Bandar Al Saud is the President & CEO of Alfa International, a leading luxury retail corporation based in Saudi Arabia, and is the founder and creative director of Baraboux. She is also a founding member of the Zahra Breast Cancer Foundation in Riyadh.  

Huda Smitshuijzen AbiFares – Born in Beirut, Huda Smitshuijzen Abi Fares, holds degrees in graphic design from Yale University School of Art and Rhode Island School of Design. She is the author of several books on typography including Arabic Typography: A Comprehensive Sourcebook. She was professor at the American University of Beirut and the Chair of the Visual Communication Department at the American University in Dubai. She is the founding creative director of the Khatt Foundation, Center for Arabic Typography.

Nadine Kanso – Nadine Kanso is a celebrated artist and designer. She has exhibited in various solo and group shows at galleries including Isabelle Van Den Eynde and Cuadro Fine Art. In 2006, Nadine established her jewellery line ‘Bil Arabi’.

Rana Salam – Rana Salam is among the most celebrated designers known for her use of Middle Eastern popular art and culture. She is a graduate of Central St. Martins and from the Royal College of Art (London). In addition to Rana Salam design Studio, Rana has a successful line of home products and collection of accessories, art, prints and one of a kind objects sold at her Beirut Shop and online on mishmaoul.com

eL Seed – French-Tunisian artist eL Seed is one of the founding pioneers of calligraffiti. His work reflects today’s world and the reality of mankind. eL Seed’s art has been showcased in international exhibitions and walls around the world including New York, Melbourne, Tunisia and Rio.

Who Can Participate?

To participate in this competition you must be an eligible Khatt Network member. If not then you are welcome to join and sign up on the website at www.khtt.net. This is a free of charge online community for Arab and Middle Eastern designers.

The Design Brief

This call for submissions is for the design and development of a detached Arabic alphabet for a new collection of charms to be placed on the Baraboux handbags. These charms will allow clients to customize their bag with their own initials.
The design of the letters is open in style and creative approach. They should express a visual aesthetic that reflects the Baraboux woman: a modern nomad, who is elegant, practical and assertive world traveler.
Each letter, needs to be produced as a single piece—with the diacritics attached. Bold and compact letterforms are advisable in order to make this product viable.
Please take into consideration the various options in materials listed here below:
Leather – the whole letter can be made in one piece of leather
Metal—the letters can be caste in metal
Mixture of metal and leather—letter can be caste in metal and mounted to leather
Heat Stamping—Heat stamp of metallic foil onto leather
Currently, many manufacturers (Fendi, Louis Vuitton, etc) are using a heat stamping method as this is very commercially efficient – fast and can be done on-site. Baraboux would prefer to explore a more precious development, so that the item becomes a beautiful artistic object.


1. All design submissions must be emailed no later than the 15th of December 2014 to the 
following address: letterstowear@baraboux.com
2. Once the jury has made the selection, you will be notified by email no later than 
5th of January 2015
Once selected/shortlisted for the Design Days Dubai exhibition, you may be asked before the 1st of February 2015 to review the design preparation of the final artwork as well as to provide additional material for the catalogue and exhibition.
Once selected as winner, you will be asked to submit the whole character set by 
1st of March 2015, you will also be provided with specific instructions on how to prepare your final artwork for production.

Competiton Guidelines

1. The designs will be judged on their visual effect as well as their witty concepts and accomplished detailing.
The following set of letters need to be submitted: Waw, Jeem, Tha, Seen, Kaf, Ha, Ya, and Lam-Alif, as in the set of letters shown in the image of the competition.

2. Each letter needs to be submitted on an A4 sheet in black on white background. Size: within 15cm height x 15cm width. In addition, the whole set of 8 letters needs to be submitted on one sheet: placed 3 letters, 2 letters, then 3 letters, in three rows on top of each other.
Submissions for each design entry should be submitted as a 10-page PDF file (A4size) and should include the following:
—Page 1 should contain the following:
• Applicant’s personal information: Full Name, Profession, Age, Nationality,
Address, Email, Phone number.
• The name of the typeface and a short explanation of the design concept
in 100-300 words.
• A description of ideas/suggestions of materials for the letters to be produced in.
—Pages 2—8 : each page is for one individual letter
—Page 10: is for the whole set of letters together as described above. 

3. There is no limit to the number of entries per designer. If you have more than one good idea then send them to us.
instructions on how to prepare the files, and the rest of the Arabic letterforms will have to be submitted for review.

Please submit your design to :letterstowear@baraboux.com

For further questions regarding the competition or submission of work, please contact info@ruthbradley.ae

Please visit www.baraboux.com for more information on the brand