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Arabic Book Cover Archive Documents Arab Design Across the Ages

Documenting book covers from across time, this archive project aims to tell a story about Arab design.

They say one ought to never judge by a book by its cover, but Moe Elhosseiny would beg to differ. He believes that evolution of cover design in Arabic literature is a telling portal into the evolution and history of design in Arab world also offering glimpses into different and cultural nuances throughout the decades.

“I realized that we have a huge gap in Arabic design knowledge,” Elhosseiny, design director and the founder of Arabic Book Cover Design Archive tells #CairoScene. “I wanted to try and start the process of filling that gap. One very clear and strong medium was Arabic book cover designs.”

This kernel of a thought-connection would evolve into a dazzling digital archive featuring decades worth of book covers dubbed the Arab Book Cover Design Archive. The lovingly curated collections includes book covers from across the region sources with the help of a roster of equally passionate contributors and researchers including Yaman To’meh, Omaima Dajani and Nourhan El Banna. 

“The ultimate goal of the archive is to try and write the history of modern Arabic design by providing the necessary material for that to happen,” says Elhosseiny. “And the digital archive will be the base, point zero, in the process of writing that history.” 

ABCDA are now working on introducing workshops for students and working with universities to integrate the archive into the current design syllabus so that resources used are relevant to the local culture. The archive will also soon be made available through a website, where people can also request material for different projects, provided they agree to copyright laws guaranteeing covers will not be reproduced and are reserved for the publishing house. 

For now, you can scroll through this design goldmine through their Instagram.