LEGENDARY INTERVIEW

Design Legends ("DL") had the distinct honour to interview legendary designer Hamda Al Naimi ("HAN") for their original perspective and innovative approach to design as well as their creative lifestyle, we are very pleased to share our interview with our distinguished readers.

DL: Could you please tell us a bit about your design background and education?

HAN : I'm a multidisciplinary graphic designer who desires to contribute positively to the world through design. I've joined various design positions such as creative studios, tech companies, and non-profit organizations. As for my education, I' am a BFA alumna from the American University in Dubai and an MFA graduate from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. My work has been recognized by Communication Arts, Indigo Awards, Print, IDA design awards, and DNA Paris. In addition, my projects have been featured in Packaging of the world, Women of Graphic Design, and Print. I served as a judge for various competitions, a select few are Creative Communication Award, Stevie Awards Middle East & North Africa, and Spark Awards, as well as being a member of The Academy of Interactive & Visual Arts (AIVA).

DL: What motivates you to design in general, why did you become a designer?

HAN : The power of visuals! When I was a kid, I had trouble understanding the lessons that were given to me in school. Words and numbers did not make sense to my little brain, but looking at a visual or a graph or an image made more sense. So, really being a designer comes from that little girl who wanted to share her ideas and understanding through a simple visual language.

DL: Did you choose to become a designer, or you were forced to become one?

HAN : I chose to become one, I was into the arts as a kid because it helped me navigate through the world. Soon, design took over because it does exactly that... it helps us navigate visual problems and present them in the simplest way possible.

DL: What do you design, what type of designs do you wish to design more of?

HAN : I design for multifaceted clients, mostly in the graphic design realm and sometimes illustrations. I'm happy with the clients that I've worked with, and would love to design more for projects that serve a bigger purpose. Such as, women's rights, lgbtq, healthcare, sustainability... etc.

DL: What should young designers do to become a design legend like you?

HAN : Clients work may sometimes come with NDAs and you may not always be able to share them with the world. So, do work on your own projects when you can and promote them.. you never know where they may lead you.

DL: What distinguishes between a good designer and a great designer?

HAN : People can learn to design, and with effort and skills, you can become GREAT at what you do. But, what makes a designer great is not just the design, but who you are as a person too. So, be honest and be kind!

DL: What makes a good design a really good design, how do you evaluate good design?

HAN : First question is always, Does the design solve the problem it was presented with? and when it does, you can then get into the nitty gritty of design principles and see where it stands.

DL: What is your secret recipe of success in design, what is your secret ingredient?

HAN : Believing in yourself

DL: Who are some other design masters and legends you get inspired from?

HAN : Many! Michael Schwab, Nadine Chahine, Paula Scher...

DL: What is your greatest design, which aspects of that design makes you think it is great?

HAN : It's hard to say, I guess as designers we continue evolving and we always get excited about the next thing. If I had to pick, I'd say I enjoyed working on projects that made a client smile or get excited. That's when you know... your work here is done!

DL: How could people improve themselves to be better designers, what did you do?

HAN : Continue learning and never stop!

DL: If you hadn’t become a designer, what would you have done?

HAN : Probably a painter.

DL: How do you define design, what is design for you?

HAN : Art and design connects people through a multilayered language that breaks cultural and societal barriers.

DL: Who helped you to reach these heights, who was your biggest supporter?

HAN : As a designer I took myself to where I wanted to go and I believe I was very lucky with the people around me. I had and continue to have supporters and genuine people in my life.

DL: What helped you to become a great designer?

HAN : To be okay with making mistakes, to see them as opportunities and not obstacles.

DL: What were the obstacles you faced before becoming a design master?

HAN : Not being able to be authentically myself and voicing out my opinion. But, with time I learned that being your authentic self is very vital and sharing your opinions can help others with their project.

DL: How do you think designers should present their work?

HAN : By sharing their process, the mistakes and how they got to their final design.

DL: What’s your ultimate goal as a designer?

HAN : To educate others about the importance of design consciously. I believe any project can serve a purpose and be socially or enviromentally responsible. It’s essential for designers to remember the intention behind their design and its place in the world, perhaps by asking questions like: are we designing for inclusion, encouraging confidence and courage, recreating social norms or are we utilizing environmental-friendly materials?

DL: How does design help create a better society?

HAN : Like I said, it's about thinking of each project on its own. It’s essential for designers to remember the intention behind their design and its place in the world and what are they really designing for and how can we as designers, change the narrative.

DL: What are you currently working on that you are especially excited about?

HAN : I'm working on a conceptual typeface at the moment.

DL: What would you like to see changed in design industry in the coming years?

HAN : Individuality, less cut and paste, and less trendy. Design shouldn't be just trendy... it should say something, it should serve a purpose, and maybe even timeless.

DL: Where do you think the design field is headed next?

HAN : I see it going more and more into the digital realm but I do hope that print design is going to stay alive, there is something really special in print.

DL: What is your life motto as a designer?

HAN : To advocate for good design, enrich humanity and be friendly to the environment.

DL: What kind of design software and equipment do you use in your work?

HAN : Alot of Adobe indesign and illustrator.

DL: Who is your ideal design partner? Do you believe in co-design?

HAN : I love working with different people, there is no ideal design partner really. You get to learn alot from meeting different designers and working with others.

DL: How did you develop your skills as a master designer?

HAN : I did learn a lot during my career but the best skills I've developed were the ones I've learned on my own. I usually see a cool design thing, get curious about the process and then try to figure it out on my own or learn about it.

DL: Irrelative of time and space, who you would want to meet, talk and discuss with?

HAN : Paul Rand and I'd ask him how did he make simple things become BIG things.

DL: What is your favorite color, place, food, season, thing and brand?

HAN : My favorite color is Pink, my favorite place is Oahu, season is the Spring, a thing would be my Laptop, and I don't have a favorite brand.

DL: Please tell us a little memoir, a funny thing you had experienced as a designer?

HAN : Mispronunciation haha, I remember saying "Arjaives" for Archives at my first job. When the other designer corrected me, I thought I was being pranked and continued to say "Arjaives" until I looked up the correct pronunciation later that day and was proven wrong; it was indeed "Archives."

DL: What makes your day great as a designer, how do you motivate yourself?

HAN : That smell of a nice cup of coffee and a clean table with my notebook and a pencil ready.

DL: What do you think about future; what do you see will happen in thousand years from now?

HAN : It's hard to tell... but I do hope that things are going to be good.

LEGENDARY DESIGNER

HAMDA AL NAIMI (ALNUAIMI) IS AN AWARD-WINNING MULTIDISCIPLINARY GRAPHIC DESIGNER WHO DESIRES TO CONTRIBUTE POSITIVELY TO THE WORLD THROUGH DESIGN. SHE SPECIALIZES IN PRINT, BRANDING, ENVIRONMENTAL AND VISUAL DESIGN. DURING HER CAREER, HAMDA HAS JOINED DESIGN POSITIONS AT CREATIVE AGENCIES AND GLOBAL TECHNOLOGY COMPANIES IN DUBAI AND SAN FRANCISCO. DURING HER CHILDHOOD, SHE USED VISUALS TO NAVIGATE THE COMPLEXITIES OF LEARNING IN SCHOOL, WHICH LED HER TO FALL IN LOVE WITH AND APPRECIATE THE IMPORTANCE OF ARTS AND DESIGN. LATER IN LIFE, THAT BACKGROUND BECAME HER PHILOSOPHY AS A PROFESSIONAL DESIGNER; ONE WHO STRIVES TO TAKE THE MOST TANGLED CONCEPTS AND PRESENT THEM IN THE SIMPLEST WAY POSSIBLE. HAMDA’S WORK HAS BEEN RECOGNIZED BY INTERNATIONALLY KNOWN DESIGN COMPETITIONS. A SELECT LIST OF HER AWARDS INCLUDE COMMUNICATION ARTS, PRINT MAG, IDA DESIGN AWARDS (INTERNATIONAL DESIGN AWARDS), IJUNGLE AWARDS, AND DNA PARIS. HER PROJECTS WERE ALSO FEATURED IN PRINT MAG, PACKAGING OF THE WORLD AND WOMEN OF GRAPHIC DESIGN. HER MOTTO IN LIFE IS TO ADVOCATE FOR GOOD DESIGN, ENRICH HUMANITY AND BE FRIENDLY TO THE ENVIRONMENT.


Sof Brand Identity

Sof Brand Identity by Hamda Al Naimi

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