NESHAN, The Iranian Graphic Design Magazine

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Neshan 42

Iranian Contemporary Design

Excitement Management in the Years of Youth: A Review of the Works of MohammadReza Abdolali

Damoon Khanjanzadeh

A singular form or style can’t be defined to describe the forward movement of each generation of designers, but in the last two decades, the new set of young designers developed a spark caused by social, political, and cultural conditions. Their work consequently formed the graphic design profession we see today. This emerging phenomenon can be seen in all areas of design, but it is most obvious in posters, writing elements, and type design.
I am not qualified to illustrate all the dimensions of this new wave. I cannot explain how it expanded into festivals and communities, nor I am aware of a comprehensive study on this subject. However, I noticed the presence of a few designers among this huge wave who had a different movement than their peers. This is what motivated me to write this essay.
One of these unique designers is MohammadReza Abdolali. Like others of this generation, he is full of undeniable excitement and passion, but two points should be noted about his work: he has always considered the needs of the customers and the process of getting there is a part of his creativity. Hence, when you observe his covers, posters, signs, and other work, you can see that they follow a logical process. You never feel a difference between the self-promotional and real works. We feel involved and absorbed in it. Nowadays, this kind of professional attitude is a rare gem.

MohammadReza studied the old traditions of Iran and the motifs behind historical writings. His hand and mind are in harmony with the logic of the geographical imagination in which he lives. Due to his inherent talent, MohammadReza started teaching right after graduating from The Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Tehran. His students admired him, but for reasons unknown, he left academia. Even though he was young, he had a calm and mature temperament. MohammadReza is a disciplined academic and his main focus is constructing an ideal educational environment, but the schools pushed back against his progressive ideas. Unfortunately, this circumstance is common in our country.
In 2000, the commencement of his collaboration with the Academy of Art, Mirdashti Publications, and Sooreh Mehr Publications was, in fact, his first attempt to present and express his new ideas. Now, in the fourth decade of his life, he has completed remarkable works of research and produced publications on the subjects of calligraphy and typography. I personally believe his best essay is 3D Typography written for Dabireh. Dabireh is a collective focusing on calligraphy and typography in the Persian language and writing system, which Reza Abedini founded with a group of young people and students. It is my impression that MohammadReza played an effective role in that group. All of his efforts have been concentrated during the past few years, but it is his well-known posters designed for our local galleries such as Azad Art Gallery, Shirin Art Gallery, etc. These posters, which showcase a special style, highlighting the letters with a distinct, multidimensional form, have brought him international success and multiple awards. In addition to his professional work, he provided research and writings. The books The Splendor of Islamic Calligraphy, Thinking in Type, and Grid System: Principle of Organizing Type are titles that he translated and added to the theoretical base of our field.
He experimented widely with calligraphy, but his most acclaimed creation is the Square Kufic script. The features of this typeface allow it to expand into the space. The letterforms of his work are distinguished and do not mimic baseline shift (Korsi). There are rare examples of letter combinations in his work, which, with the intellectual resources of the designer, are resting to the highest degrees of fit, order, and solidity. This feature is evident in all areas of his work, even his posters, book covers, and typographical treatments. The forms represent his creative and curious mind—although he has a naive and calm personality. Perhaps this moderation and perseverance of MuhammadReza are due to the fact that he was disciplined during his childhood. Even older and more experienced designers do not easily achieve a project like the visual identity for Kelardasht City.
These examples are only a small portion of his recent. MohammadReza Abdolali will continue to reach new heights and explore new corners in the course of his career.

Damoon Khanjanzadeh

Damoon Khanjanzadeh, born in 1975 in Tehran, is a graphic and typeface designer graduated from Fine Art Faculty at Tehran University. He has taught typography in different universities and schools such as Soore Art University and Vije School of Visual Communications as a lecturer. He also designed various typefaces for publishers, institutions and business firms, and owned multiple awards for his works.

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