Monthly Archives: December 2012

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2012 Christmas miracle: Clementine got it right! 

By Admin I: wait! I’m not trying to be the Christmas spirit spreading peace and joy everywhere, I’m really not. Clementine got it right and this happens every once in a blue moon for them and us!

Well you could call it a cheesy flat approach to promoting a country especially when it comes to the copywriting here, but being fair, this campaign looks nothing like the previous ministry of tourism campaigns that were done by one of the most prestigious multi-nationals (Impact BBDO). There are no bikini vs. Chador, no hummus plates and no mountain-beach analogy either.

The campaign plays on one very very ‘pure’ idea of the fact that we’re a population that overcomes difficulties and keep smiling (we do burn some tires, gossip like sluts and are highly sectarian as well). Talking visuals, the campaign proved to be nothing sloppy; weird enough, the art direction was well thought of, the coloring, the acting, the rhythm, it’s almost a full package of an ad that makes you daydream for seconds about the same questions asked in the video (or maybe I’m too festive to see the negatives).

To wrap it up, it’s a good campaign that deserves recognition for not faking promises about Lebanon; yes we’re just a fun country that should drop all other fake cliches that school books have injected in our heads.

Clementine in the end couldn’t but put too much sugar in the tea and play its never-ending failing wordplay manifesting this time in “Smilebanon” and another smiley emoticon symbol in the ministry logo which could’ve been a quite good ending, without the prior slogan.

it’s a MIRACLEMENTINE! *rolling eyes*


Infographics and human rights at Alt-city Hamra

By Admin Nj and Admin I: Migrant Workers Task Force and AltCity joined forces and held a Community day event with 2 exhibitions in honor of International Migrants Day, which took place on December 18. It was a glee down there! Everyone got the best out of the day with an enjoyable and interactive atmosphere that not only entertained us, but surely helped spread awareness of a really major cause.

The first exhibition was entitled “Lens on Life,” a series of photo essays created by 16 migrant workers directed by Ann Megalla; “Lens On Life” was displayed in a very organic placement making our Instagrams look lame; the pictures reflected very clear cultural interactions as well as the reality of a migrant worker’s journey in Lebanon.

the second exhibition was the result of the information design workshop that took place for 3 weeks led by Joumana Ibrahim, one of the very few specialized Lebanese Information designers.

“Visualize Migrant Workers’ Rights” the infographics exhbition, was like a ringleader; the variety of the approaches of design and the information displayed put on a visual show that kept every attendee interested in discovering the different rights and issues of migrant workers.

Talking design, and cutting a bit on the humane drama, the visual outcomes came very diverse and highly engaging, despite the fact that designers had a very limited time period to finalize the work, and that they come from different backgrounds and design levels. The work varied between safe/formal from one side and aesthetically beautiful from the other, with 2 breakthroughs for ‘ballsy’ statement pieces; the first is an Arabic tribal looking slang interpretation of the story of a migrant domestic worker by Reem Ismail and Nashaat Jurdy that appeared very insightful, and the second is a ‘pop’ inspired piece by Joseph Maalouf and Lucy-Maria Momdjian that used detergent identities to create infographics that can truly reflect the dark-ironic reality of the subject matter.

Migrant workers sure made benefit of their day off when they ate, danced and participated in a public event that welcomed them the way they should be welcomed at any Lebanese house. The best part was the Lebanese interaction with the event, we couldn’t stop listening to their music and imitating their dance moves, and if any of them wants to donate those patterned shirts, I’m highly interested! (Admin I).

This exhibition has definitely delivered its main message, it’s a success story that made us really proud being a part of its process, all along till it all came together in the final exhibition; a definite trading of cultural patterns that helped us realize how important these migrant workers are to us, and to their own societies.

Cheers to socially engaged design practices!

By Admin I :  So we’ve been called several new nicknames lately, all hinting to the fact that we’re having a pessimistic tendency in our posts, and that we should encourage creative work bla bla; and because we really need to breath out of advertising, here’s a new chain of posts entitled: ‘On creative collaboration’ where we feature amateur and professional creative platforms that are trying to make a change in the visual scene.

So you guys should meet ‘MY.KALI‘. As defined by founders, this platform is an online social and lifestyle magazine, fights repressive forms, norms and stereotypes through art therapy, photography and psychology. My.Kali is imperceptible; difficult to perceive by narrow minded societies. Tackling issues of women rights, personal politics, sexuality, homosexuality, freedom of speech and media. The magazine also reflects many universal human desires and dreams that hold the key to making sense of a world where the only certainties now are change, revolution and love. (a bit over-the-top poetic, I know)

As defined by us Brofessionals, My.Kali is space done by and for creative minds to unleash a hidden or repressed flow of ideas and share their concerns with the world, which is not necessarily new, but definitely worth crediting, since the work happens in collaboration between Amman and Beirut, the two rising cities of this culturally doomed Arab World.

“The return of the online magazines. Powerful, dramatic, original, creative and wickedly alluring. No Black & White, only Grey forces. Introducing the next generation…”

What’s also interesting about the approach is that it’s clearly at a level where the work is seriously worth checking for creative reference, refined aesthetically and highly expressive. This online magazine looks like an experimental piece of Pop visual art (the good dosage), from photography to music and other fields. Whether Mashrou’ Leila’s ‘Hamed Sinno’ was the one making you drool over the screen or a story about a guy wearing Uggs, this experience is a pleasant eye/brain candy that’s worth being taken to a whole other level.

“imagine how a piece of clothing can emerge a challenge, for someone to be more himself, for hateful people to more hateful, and strengthen or weaken the developing relationship between the individual and the mass, and not individual vs. mass”

Cheers to creative collaboration and free minds!

Go to

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Let’s Sukleen Lebanon: ‘Garbage’ reviewed

By Admin NJ: What is the BEST advertising campaign of 2012? We really would’ve postponed this question if only we knew that Sukleen was planning to release a sequel to its previous flop!

For the previous campaign, we were generous enough to compliment some parts, not this time though; Let us replace the word ‘Ad’ by ‘Garbage’, for a mere metaphorical sake.

What’s up with the ‘Garbage’?

This new printed ‘garbage’ is supposed to promote the free Sukleen application, now available on any smart phone near you.

Clementine made a follow up to the previous campaign – that displayed fashionable models posing in a very artificial way – that doesn’t get better as it serves a new level of ‘garbage’ today along with their never-ending sense of failing ‘jeu de mots’.

This new campaign, under the headline ‘let’s SUKLEEN Lebanon’, showcases bending down and stretching poses of both male and female models served with tons of face make-up and a very stylish wardrobe. These models are basically aiming their phone’s cameras towards the ground and snapping a shot.

Technicality: The photographic treatment is well executed, but again it brings nothing new to the previous campaign, as the outdoor setting and lighting are still the same.

Wait this garbage concept is not over,

One would wonder how this app works and whether this visual is a real reflection of the app’s core. Well yes, you can now, using this app, take photos of all kinds of dump you see on the streets, and instead of picking it up and throwing it in the garbage *which takes a minute*, you take a photo of that very beautiful pile and report it to Sukleen and they will rush to pick it up for you just like those cute models are doing! …Little offensive right?

Once again, this approach fails to please, and this time it’s backed up by a strange application concept. If there will be a next time, the focus should evolve around other features in the application, such as the tips on sorting and recycling your home dumps for instance.


Almaza, what have you done?

By Admin Nk: You might wonder who’s responsible for this design chaos: well its the collaboration between YASA (Youth Association for Social Awareness) and LASIP (Lebanese Association for Sports Injuries Prevention) with Almaza. I mean, before we begin with the campaign’s crucial criticism, have you seen the website of both NGOs? How about their previous campaigns? I guess I won’t judge, I mean..It’s hard to hire good designers and web developers these days (sarcasm intended).

I admire the use of Lebanese slang language, really, but have you read those sentences? I felt like some street guy talking to me (in other words, “wozze” language). What about the “italic” and Microsoft Word Arabic font? It’s hideous and I wouldn’t have been able to read it if I was driving. The illustrations are priceless: first we see a badly vectorized car, on another one we spot an over used hideous smiley face placed at the corner, a so-called “sketchy” sketch of a seat belt and finally a bullet completely out of style and concept. And no, let’s not hide behind the NGO sympathetic budget excuse, any agency would do free work for NGOs as they’re considered award magnets by excellence.
After all this, all I can think about is “why why why would Almaza do this to themselves”. Almaza has always been known for its funny, creative, super fun Lebanese ads (Almaza light commercial not included). Even if it’s a collaboration with YASA, can’t you like, do something about that?! Seriously, what’s going on people?

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By Admin R: Wine advertising is hitting on Television and online during this Christmas season such as Ksara that pushed the boundaries, and the recent Chateau MWAH Ka MWAH. The concepts used to have many clichés, but not this year; The recent revival of the wine ritual, with those TV spots, came highly diverse.

When I first knew about the Chateau Ka ad, friends introduced it to me as the “funny kissing “one; and ping, here it is on TV: of course, a Christmas gathering, relatives kissing each other in a Lebanese way, (oh gosh I hate it, can’t a one kiss on the cheek be enough or just no kissing, maybe a hug… ) then a French boyfriend invited, a small gift in hand ( we can’t ignore their parsimony, even in the ads) shocked by the “ici c’est trois bises”. Believe me; it took me a day or two to realize what she said.

What we should note in particular is the Frenchy a la Sursok voice over, There was a certain je ne sais quoi snobbishness (we know it should be snobbism, save it) about this wine advertising, the lame tagline and the missing link (3 kisses, 3 second opener, 3 bottles… so what?!)

We could pretend that this ad isn’t just an obvious overflow of an acting approach of a Marwan Najjar series. But that would be a lie! Giving credit where credit is due, the ad is fun; you won’t totally forget it, but shall you remember the Lebanese kissing ritual, or Chateau Ka itself?

Graphic Design is dead (The sequel): 

Illustration by Admin I

Illustration by Admin I

Fight the System, the design system! (inspired by the one and only Admin N)

By Admin I : Sometimes you just sit around to analyze your current condition as an aspiring Lebanese graphic designer, and maaaan it’s shitty!

What are we supposed to do in a place where design is drastically split between cheap technical ‘matbaajiyeh’ and obnoxious design thinkers? How much can we survive crawling in the mud before ending up in one of these two categories?!

I might not have enough experience to make such assumptions (I’m not an art director living on pills just yet), but who wants to be a part of a community that functions on an addictive daily dose of bullshit; of people forcing their own brains to think that a logo or a stupid typographic composition can really make a change and that we are problem solvers and visual communicators?! Well, no. We sadly are victims of our own egos and a bunch of digits that make us go all the way from Swiss to Arabesque to please a client that probably knows nothing about what we do, and why we’re doing it.

Decorators (also known as interior designers) are not much better; while mixing furniture with tile choices can be claimed to end world hunger, a wrong choice of curtains can really be as devastating as 9/11.

Product Steve-Jobbers, are also problem solvers in their own perspective! In 2012, a microscopic device can take pictures, give you the best tan ever and can also be made into a chair, a very ergonomic one!

Let’s just wake up you guys; design has always been there to ameliorate visual nuances in people’s lives, just nuances, it was never a need, there was never a problem to solve and no ‘design thinking’ excuse to hide the fact that you cannot function aesthetically.

What’s irritating the most is that you spend time, money and energy on something that you lose whenever you reach its core. What’s more irritating is that it makes you consciously analytical, to the extent of looking for alternatives, for escapism in the new sense of the term, where you work to find new definitions, something that probably sounds like ephilectrotopology design (doesn’t exist, don’t google) just to say that you’re not just like the others.

Fight the System, the design system.

Fight bullshit because it’s demeaning to what you do,

Fight decorators because they shouldn’t exist,

Fight product designers because they’re a bunch of capitalist wannabes,

Fight ad-men because they’re a bunch of hypocrites, rich hyper-sexual ones.

And keep on fighting!