Happy New Year to all our blog readers and we hope that you’ve kick started the new year on a positive note. Our first post for the year is about the 2013 edition of our signature calendar which we send out to our clients & business partners every year.

Designed 100% in-house, each year we look for a specific theme based on a subject that has inspired us. Two years ago the artwork for the calendar was a fusion of Arabic and Latin typography, East meets West, while last year’s calendar was inspired by colourful artworks that adorn ‘jingle trucks’ on the UAE roads. This year our calendar draws inspiration from popular Arab proverbs.

A love of eloquent verbal expression has long since been a distinct characteristic of culture across the Middle East; where a common held belief is that the Arabic language is one of the most eloquent, subtle and beautiful of all tongues, whose wealth of expressive power lacks comparison. Like storytelling and poem recitals have long since been popular devices in the verbal expression of this language, so too are Arab proverbs.

Short popular sayings of ancient origin, that serve to heed warnings, inspire or teach; the Arab proverb user garners respect through linguistic skill; where form and delivery of the intended message are as important as the content itself.

To generate the artworks for Zaman’s 2013 calendar we selected 12 proverbs that 1) are used daily and across generations and 2) inspired the team to create charming, illustrative metaphors.

‘Grapes are eaten one by one’ – for this proverb we opted for a progressive pattern depicting a visual step-by-step approach which in turn mirrors the lesson imparted by this particular proverb.

‘Winds do not blow as the ship wishes.’ – in this artwork typography becomes the wind that is blowing the ship’s sails.

So, like storytelling and poem recitals, Arab proverbs serve as powerful conversational devices. Through our 2013 calendar Zaman becomes a celebrant bearer of these wonderful literary devices and we hope that the artworks we’ve created continue generating these conversations.