Arabic Calligraphy

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  • Title: Arabic Calligraphy: A Source of Design Inspiration
  • Author(s): Wael Rashdan, Ahmed Al Shakhs
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Design Principles & Practices
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Visual Design
  • Keywords: Calligraphy, Arabic Calligraphy, Geometric Shapes, Furniture Design, Design Inspiration, Design Experiments, Heritage Design, Arabic Cultural Heritage, Arabic Scripts
  • Volume: 12
  • Issue: 2
  • Year: 2018
  • ISSN: 2325-1581 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2325-159X (Online)
  • DOI:
  • Citation: Rashdan, Wael , and Ahmed Al Shakhs. 2018. "Arabic Calligraphy: A Source of Design Inspiration." The International Journal of Visual Design 12 (2): 1-16. doi:10.18848/2325-1581/CGP/v12i02/1-16.
  • Extent: 16 pages


Designers typically explore and experience several inspiration sources from which they generate unconventional ideas and compositions. Tangible cultural heritage, as one inspiration source that represents a designer’s identity, is concerned with the appearances and connotations of objects. Arab culture inherited many diverse design elements, one of which is Arabic calligraphy. This art form has been developed across generations, distinguished by its flexibility, script variety, and geometric forms. Few researchers have examined calligraphy as an inspiration source for three-dimensional design elements. The researchers of the present study argue that a merger between the aesthetics and geometry of Arabic calligraphy, with respect to its rigorous mathematical drawing rules, can inspire new geometric design forms. This article presents essential information on Arabic calligraphy, explains its scripts, and explores its applications in art and design, based on a comprehensive literature review. The objective is to examine the capabilities of two-dimensional Arabic calligraphy in generating contemporary and functional three-dimensional design forms, which includes identifying the design concept and constraints, determining the most suitable script for achieving new forms, and investigating the design procedures. The results obtained from the experiments show the inspirational processes and procedures behind contemporary furniture design.