January 2019

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How MAD Are You About Graphic Design?

Graphic Design MAD Article Team Lalik

Diving into Graphic Design

Whether you’re working for a multinational agency, an NGO or your own start-up, there’s one thing you’re well aware of: the importance of your brand identity; not only in what you write in a post online or what kind of campaign you create offline, but also in the type of media you share on and offline alike. This is where graphic design comes in.

Graphic design, like art, dates back to cave paintings that embodied a specific time periods’ take on “graphics” and “design” together. After the 1920’s, graphic design became more about branding, logo-creation and user experiences.

Translating Graphic Design Into Words

In short, graphic design is a communication art that projects ideas using images and text. Mainly, graphic designers aim to combine type, form, and images to create posters, ads, packages, and visuals that are used in print and online media. As well, they work on motion graphics which combine animation, videography, and typography. Graphic design also includes branding, which means designing business cards, logos, or ads as well as product design and other aspects that only one person in the MAD team is an expert in!

A Few Questions With Lalik!

Queue Lalik, MAD’s very own graphic designer, who’s going to tell us a little bit about graphic design and her experience working in it! Let’s get MAD with design!

How would you define graphic design and what a graphic designer does?

A graphic designer take briefs, interprets them and works on them, starting from initial sketches to artworking for print/digital. No, a graphic designer doesn’t work only on logos and flyers, there is a lot of time and thinking behind every visual!

What made you want to be a graphic designer?

I used to collect nice designs when I was younger – magazines, flyers, books, packaging, tags, – I used to collect them in a paper bag then cut the designs I like and stick them on my bed, on the wall of my room and on A4 papers that I used to send to my friends. This led me to develop an appreciation for design, which is why i became a designer myself.

What are the most important skills a graphic designer should have?

Good knowledge of design programs, print and online production and creative thinking are essential; but also, you have to be a great listener with an eye for detail. If I were to give graduates some advice, it would be to get as much practical experience as possible. In my short career so far, I have found that I’ve learnt by doing, especially when thrown in the deep end and put under pressure.

What are the steps of your creative process as a graphic designer?

Curiosity, music, photography, paintings, people…  Everything.

Often the things that inspire me are completely unrelated to my current assignments,

but bringing new ideas to those projects makes them all the more interesting. Keeping an open mind lets you see inspiration everywhere.

How do you think your designs communicate MAD’s identity?

First, when I started working for MAD, my designs were very minimalist. As time went by, I discovered what the brand truly stands for, their values, the identity of MAD; it got so much easier for me to get out of my comfort zone, to use colors, bold fonts and to adapt to MAD’s identity.

What’s your favorite part about being MAD’s graphic designer?

Freedom. I can go as MAD as I want. Lise and Rima, co-founders, are always open to new suggestions and they always follow my thought process and welcome my opinions. This is very important for a designer: to have the capacity of expressing what you really feel. It becomes your own baby, you always want to nourish it and help it grow.

Are you as MAD about graphic design as we and Lalik are?

Get To Know The MAD Gang: Lalik

Lalik MAD Team Branding Article Blog

Someone who enjoys the little things in life like watching the sunset or collecting notebooks with lovely design covers. Lalik has a little thing for flowers, pottery and food.

If I were a song, I would be: Couleur Menthe à l’eau – Isaac Delusion

If I were an artist, I would be: Egon Schiele

If I were a book, I would be: L’insoutenable légèreté de l’être – Kundera

If I were a dish, I would be: Strogonoff !

If I were a dessert, I would be: Tiramissu ! Best thing in life

If I were a spice, I would be: Coriander

If I were a sport, I would be: Surfing in Hawaii

If I were a period in history, I would be: the 60’s, dancing in the woodstock festival with Janis Joplin in the background

If I were a movie, I would be: ChungKing Express – KarWai Wong

If I were a series, I would be: Oz

If I were a verb, I would be: Live

If I were an adjective, I would be: Chill

If I were one of the five senses, I would be: the vision

If I were a flower or a plant, I would be: a tulip because its my name in Armenian

If I were one of the five elements, I would be: fire

Get To Know The MAD Gang: Karim

MAD Gang Team Karim Article

Full time joke-maker. Sometimes, you can say I’m a DJ.

If I were a song, I would be : Quand tu allais on revenait – IAM

If I were an artist, I would be : Georges Moustaki

If I were a book, I would be : L’etranger  – Albert Camus

If I were a dish, I would be : Bazella wou roz

If I were a dessert, I would be : Ice cream!

If I were a spice, I would be : Curry

If I were a sport, I would be : (We’re playin’) BasketBall

If I were a period in history, I would be : Cold War

If I were a movie, I would be : The Godfather 1

If I were a series, I would be : Ozark

If I were a verb, I would be : To “Do”

If I were an adjective, I would be : (Cause I’m) Happy

If I were one of the five senses, I would be : Touch

If I were a flower or a plant, I would be : Cactus

If I were one of the five elements, I would be : Air

Get To Know The MAD Gang: Tarek

MAD Team Tarek Article

Tarek Sina Rahme, I am a hard working, fun, humble, smart , outgoing, gamer legend.

Tarek likes to drink a Nespresso, because its more manly 🙂

If I were a song, I would be:  Fear of the dark – Iron Maiden

If I were an artist, I would be: Lemmy

If I were a book, I would be: the Bible

If I were a dish, I would be: Ras nifa

If I were a dessert, I would be: Bahamas Cake

If I were a spice, I would be: Turmeric

If I were a sport, I would be: Snowboarding

If I were a period in history, I would be: 1960

If I were a movie, I would be: Gataga

If I were a series, I would be: Breaking Bad

If I were a verb, I would be: Do

If I were an adjective, I would be: Humble

If I were one of the five senses, I would be : the sixth

If I were a flower or a plant, I would be: Marguerite

If I were one of the five elements, I would be: Fire

Are You Up-To-Date With Lebanon’s MAD Underground Band Scene?

MAD Underground Music Lebanon Article

Are You As MAD As I Am?

Do you turn on the radio in the morning on your way to work or class and after some time, find yourself turning it off? Better yet, do you sometimes automatically look for your AUX cord to save yourself (and your ears) from listening to repetitive music? I know I do. Not that I don’t enjoy my dose of catchy pop songs. Sadly, the majority of Lebanese radio stations play only western or oriental commercial music, leaving no room for local, underground music to gain popularity.

Mainstream or Underground?

Nonetheless, this hasn’t stopped local, underground musicians from paving their way. When you think of underground musicians in Lebanon, who comes to mind? Most commonly, it’s Zeid Hamdan, known as the Godfather of Lebanon’s underground music scene. Hamdan is the producer of many of Lebanon’s most known underground artists starting with himself and the many ventures he has taken on throughout his musical career. If you didn’t think of Zeid, you probably thought of the more mainstream Mashrou Leila, Wanton Bishops and Who Killed Bruce Lee, all of whom are Lebanese hits and internationally recognized.

Discover Lebanon’s Underground Scene

If you crave a taste of the real, local, underground experience, we’ve compiled a small list:

Safar

This indie-pop Lebanese band joins Elie, Mayssa and Fadi for a unique musical experience. The band is based between Beirut, New York and North Carolina. They released their first album, In Transit, in 2016 and recently released an EP, Studies of an Unknown Lover, in 2018. If you’re looking to be serenaded by an angelic voice and listen to something similar to Florence and the Machine, Birdy and Lana Del Ray, then Safar is the band for you!

Interbellum

Interbellum started in 2015 by Charlie Rayne, after having previously been a solo act. He wrote songs and when he felt he needed the support of other musicians, he and his producer Fadi Tabbal enlisted musicians from the Beirut music scene and they recorded an album together as Interbellum (2016’s Now Try Coughing). Today Interbellum is a solo project that Charlie and Fadi work on with the help of contributing artists. Interbellum just released Dead Pets, Old Griefs in Beirut and moved the project to Berlin.

Waynick  –

Two childhood friends, Sara and Joe, came together to form Waynick along with musician friends; that’s the brief history of how Waynick came to be. The indie band formed in 2015, released their hit single Carolina in 2017 and followed with an EP in 2018, which they debuted at KED. Waynick also just released a music video for their song Better Days. Their upbeat and sometimes melancholic tunes are perfect for all you pop and folk lovers out there. It’s worthy to mention that they design their own covers, write their own songs and manage themselves, how cool is that?

Postcards

Formed in 2012, Postcards is a dream pop/indie band that joins musical trio Julia, Marwan and Pascale. As with most Lebanese underground artists, they started off playing in pubs and later released their first EP in 2013 titled Lakehouse. They worked on their second EP with producer Fadi Tabbal and their first full-length album, I’ll Be Here In The Morning  was released last year! They’ve opened for Angus and Julia Stone and have been touring Europe and the Middle East.

GIZZMO

GIZZMO originally started with Joy, Camilio and Sergio, who were experimenting with different genres of music. Alex joined them early on and added electronic and upbeat jazz touches. Together they play indie-dance, funk-pop music. They first played at Fete De La Musique in 2016 at The Grand Factory before landing other gigs and releasing their EP in 2017. Most recently, they’re working on new material that they’ll be playing in a concert they’re planning for all those who miss them and they’re waiting for you to join their eccentric feels!

So…?

So, the next time you’re fed up listening to Ariana Grande, Drake and Haifa Wehbe on the radio; the next time you’re craving something genius and close to heart and home, you know where and who to look for, for some over-the-top tunes!

 

Tala

MAD Community Manager

Art In The Digital Age: Booming or Crashing?

Article Art Digital

How Did It All Start?

Who would have thought that the canvas is one of the oldest mediums of art known to man? The oldest preserved form of expression belongs to cave people, who used to doodle their visions of flesh-eating-lions, their personal belief in God(s) and their concept of family on rocks and in caves that were, thousands of years later, discovered by explorers.

The basic imagery they drew was simple and aimed to portray their understanding of the world around them. After that, more forms of art started to emerge with the discovery of colors and sculpting. At the start of this era, art revolved around the Church and higher class families that wanted to have self or family portraits in their homes. After the Renaissance, artists we know today like Da Vinci and Michelangelo paved their way into the art scene. This was also the period when different forms of art started to emerge including romanticism, realism and impressionism.

And Then Came Modern and Contemporary Art!

The 1800s and the 1900s gave us what we know as modern art with movements such as expressionism and symbolism. As of the 1970’s, we’re now witnessing the era of contemporary art, which is no less confusing, sophisticated or beautiful than any other movement of art known to us. If we were to delve into the history of art right now, you’d end up reading a 15-page thesis analyzing ancient art all the way to contemporary art.

What Happened After the Renaissance?

After the Renaissance, art became desired by many but only few had access to collectable pieces. Despite that, this was the start of the spread of the visual culture; and this is where the digital age comes in play as today. This prompts the question: has the digital age benefited or harmed art?

Today’s Digital Age and Art
Today, it has become easy for artists to upload or digitize their work to gain more exposure; they can even sell their work online. Not only, but more and more digital museums are popping up and more art is being produced digitally. Digital art has expanded and has become just as desirable as traditional forms of art like sculptures, graffiti and classical paintings. On the other hand, many seem to believe that the computer does not do justice in art as it cannot mimic the strokes of a brush; it cannot produce a masterpiece that will make a spectator weep because of its sheer beauty and genuinity. As well, art cannot always be protected online nor can it be as authentic.

…And You?

The ongoing debate arises of whether this digitization of art has been beneficial or harmful to the traditional forms of art; we stand neutral, as we see all forms of art as an expression of thought, mood and subjective beauty. One can’t compare the works of picasso to the works of Murakami for example; the concept, vision and conditions under which the pieces were made all differ. Thus, this remains an open-ended question waiting to be answered by artists, art critics, art lovers and the mass alike. And You?

 

Today’s Weather Forecast: Creative, Don’t You Think?

Weather Creativity Article

Imagine this: it’s an early January morning but it’s pitch-black outside. There isn’t a single white cloud in the sky, only raindrops falling from a greyish background. You squirm around in bed, struggling to leave the warmth of your bed sheets. You strategically think of how many layers you can wear while still being able to function normally. Soon enough, you make it to your office after rushing to beat the nefarious traffic. There, you find yourself making your first cup of coffee and starting with your first task of the day, early on.

From afar, it seems like a romanticized morning in Paris or London or even in Beirut. Up close, it’s nothing but the mere reality of the cruel winter season; the season everyone loves to hate, and hates to love.

You don’t need to imagine the scenario. It happened this morning; in fact, it’s happened every morning since the start of the stormy weather in Lebanon. Despite the cold, gloomy climate, you feel a burst of creativity; a zap of motivation hits you and you sit at your desk to start your work process earlier than usual. Normally, you’d think it’s because you want to finish early so you can leave on time. But according to NYU professor who studies behavioral economics, decision making and marketing, Adam Alter, this sudden surge of creativity is due to the “bad” weather.

It’s pretty common for us to try to keep ourselves busy during dark, winter days. We find things around the house that need to be finalized, we resume hobbies that we haven’t tended to in a while or we simply watch the movie that has been on our “to-watch” list since last year and snuggle up with some hot cocoa. At the office, we brainstorm ideas for pitches and start work on huge projects that we have been delaying for days. For students, it becomes so simple to listen to some music while focusing on calculus or some other subject that they think they’re not good at.

Whichever is the case, we do these things to avoid feeling down in a season that’s known to bring down the toughest of the tough, the season associated with “seasonal mood disorder”.

In Alter’s perspective, “bad” weather opens us up to creativity while “good” weather distracts us. On sunny, summer days, we are too preoccupied by thinking of suntanning on white sand, sipping on our ice-cold beer and taking cold showers to think of the things that really matter. We are too busy daydreaming of where we will be spending our weekends and which ice-cream flavor to get after lunch to care for the deadlines and responsibilities that are now piling on. But in winter, we want to avoid seasonal depression so much that our creative juices get flowing and we produce some of our best work.

 

Humans are biologically predisposed to avoid sadness, and they respond to sad moods by seeking opportunities for mood repair and vigilantly protecting themselves against whatever might be making them sad. In contrast, happiness sends a signal that everything is fine, the environment doesn’t pose an imminent threat, and there’s no need to think deeply and carefully.”

 

Does Alter’s thesis on weather and creativity make sense? I ponder this deeply as I recline in my office chair, listening to this drizzles of rain interrupted by thunder and write this, after having struggled for months to write something decent, or merely just anything.

 

Tala

MAD Community Manager