Lebanese American University


Graphic Design students win international competitions

Karim Abu Sallman and Rayane Al Mouallem submit winning entries to the Nasser Bin Hamad International Youth Creativity Award and the Typoday Poster Competition.

LAU’s School of Architecture and Design (SArD) is celebrating the recent success of two of its students, Karim Abu Sallman and Rayane Al Mouallem, whose themed graphic submissions to international competitions have won them both well-deserved recognition.

Abu Sallman, who graduated from LAU’s graphic design program in 2014, won first place in the graphic design category of the 2015 Nasser Bin Hamad International Youth Creativity Award, a Bahraini initiative aiming to nurture youth creativity and enhance talent in the fields of science, literature and the arts. The award came with $9,000 and a trip to Bahrain.        

This year the competition called for submissions in six categories under the theme of ending war, and received 1,826 entries in total from 72 countries. Abu Sallman’s visual project, titled “Wish for Peace,” depicts a slice of cake with buildings on top that mimic lit birthday candles. The image is simple and conveys the idea that a single wish could potentially extinguish the ravaging flames of war. Black and white is used to portray the dullness of war, while one single flame in color represents the wish. “I didn’t want to go with the traditional approach of depicting a dove,” says Abu Sallman. “I was taught at LAU to think outside the box and not be too literal in my work.”

Melissa Khoury, associate chair of LAU’s Department of Design, agrees. “We provide students with a well-rounded education,” she says. “They learn design within a liberal arts context and benefit from a year of foundation studies in art, design and culture, which gives them extensive knowledge to then build upon as graphic designers.”

Also enjoying a win and a trip abroad is senior-year graphic design student Rayane Al Mouallem. She submitted a poster to the 2015 international Typoday Poster Competition “Typography, Sensitivity and Fineness,” that took place in Bombay, India, and which called for entries reflecting the theme of nature. Her winning poster will be published and displayed at an exhibition in March during Typoday 2015 in the Indian city. Al Mouallem will attend, her expenses paid by the event committee.

Her poster, titled “The Prisoner of Humans,” depicts nature locked behind bars, symbolizing human exploitation of natural resources and the direct threats posed to the latter by mankind. Al Mouallem explains the inspiration behind her design: “Nature and its majestic components are degraded by irresponsible behavior. Nature is losing its magical spark and turning into a dark place devoid of life.”  

Contests such as the Nasser Bin Hamad International Youth Creativity Award and the Typoday Poster Competition do not only develop students’ competitive spirit, but also potentially heighten their productivity and the quality of their work. 

“Our commitment is to give our students international exposure that expands their horizons and allows them to look at the world with comparative and critical eyes. This is translated through international studios, visiting faculty and critics, special workshops and lecture series in every field,” says Dean of SArD Elie Haddad. “The rest is up to the students, and to their creative spirits.” 



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