Through the simple medium of the poster, a number of designers have created a prism through which a series of dialectics are exposed: Middle Eastern issues are expressed with European typography, or traditional Arabic techniques are used to depict contemporary issues. The poster exhibition Delusions and Errors is a heady mix, and it reminds us that design is always a triangulation between place, message and the unique circumstances of the designer.
Delusions and Errors is, according to the curators, an attempt to “play with notions of infinitude, error, and insanity in relation to the conditions of the present moment.” It’s an ambitious yet valiant attempt at a design interpretation of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region–in the face of political turbulence, cultural upheaval, and a digital revolution.
The exhibition itself features 28 designers, illustrators and typographers from the region, all invited to respond the titular theme with a poster. It debuted during Dubai Design Week in 2017, and was recently brought to Europe’s Weltformat Festival.
As co-curator, alongside Möbius Design Studio, Engy Aly explains, most of the posters “show a clear reflection of and commentary on the complex social and political situation in the region.” Viewing the show, this commentary is more explicit on some posters than others; some background knowledge often comes in useful in interpreting the meaning of these works.
Designers range from art directors at advertising agencies to studios and recent graduates. Most of the posters themselves were screen-printed, and use a maximum of three colors. Reluctant to be drawn on generalizations, the curators point to the fact that, “a big chunk of participants are from one place but live in another or have studied in another, so the influence and design approach cannot be tied to one location but is more national or international.”
The selection below shows a cross section of the posters on show, the diverse array of crafts used, and offers a window into design in an oft-overlooked region.