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Kinda Ghannoum: Building Beautiful Design

Freelance graphic designer

by Elizabeth Lavis | 09 Nov 2020

For Damascus resident Kinda Ghannoum, traditional Arabic patterns and ornaments are the ultimate inspiration, making her designs a beautiful fusion of old and new. “Living in Damascus, I’m surrounded by many different cultures and styles that shape the way I see and think,” she said. “I have always been fascinated by ornaments, Arabic decorations, and especially Arabic patterns.” 

Ghannnoum’s expertise is also steeped in an unlikely discipline; architecture. She began her post-graduate journey working as an architect at MAG LAB, also known as Maksoud Architectural Group, a firm specializing in merging sleek design with modern engineering. As luck would have it, Ghannoum found herself participating in Damascus’ Startup Weekend as a graphic designer. Her team won, and a new passion was found.  

Today, Ghannoum is an award-winning graphic designer with an impressive portfolio of varied work that’s inspired in its simplicity and certainly one-of-a-kind. Her design approach is both systematic and comprehensive. “For me, the first step is to try and understand the brief given to me,” she said. “I listen to what the client wants and try to answer the brief in the most creative and timeless way I can.” Ghannoum puts in the time and research necessary for an excellent final project and works through many drafts until she gets the design that will perfectly suit the client.

Mood boarding is one of the ways Ghannoum filters through her drafts. This visual process of charting out a design lets her see the bigger picture. She works with Adobe Suite to create her final product before presenting the final version to her clients.

As a consummate professional, Ghannoum has a methodical and compassionate approach to client criticism. “First, don’t take it personally,” she said. “Listen to the critical view carefully, instead of reacting harshly. You should seek clarification by asking specific questions and try to put yourself in their place to understand their point of view.”

By stepping back and probing for concise information on how to make the project better, Ghannoum establishes herself as an authority in the field, as well as an empathetic sounding board. Her optimistic take on success is summed up by one of her favorite quotes; “people with great passion can make the impossible happen.”

Ghannoum believes in respecting the creative process by taking breaks when she feels uninspired. “You can try to go for a walk or listen to some music, which allows your brain to relax for a while.” By giving herself a chance to recharge, Ghannoum can make the most of her active time.

She also values the importance of staying abreast of current and upcoming design trends, keeping herself informed by reading industry books and magazines, as well as checking out online media. Her go-to resources include Behance, Dribble, and Instagram. She recommends Logo Design Love as an excellent primer on effective branding and logos. 

When it comes to design influence, Ghannoum cites her father as a primary inspiration, as well as Amer Alissa, Paula Scher, Jessica Walsh, and Aaron Draplin. She also draws on her past work and experience to guide future endeavors. “I enjoy learning and discovering something new from each project I work on,” she said.

One of Ghannoum’s favorite pieces is “Zoukhrof,” a starkly colored celebration of Arabic patterns reimagined in a fresh light. “I love Arabic patterns in a modern way,” she said. She also loves “That’s Toast,” a 2018 Indigo Award recipient, and a creative take on integrating toast shapes and textures into an effective logo.

Ghannoum would eventually like to run her own design agency and perhaps brand out into other creative sectors, like fashion or interior design. She also has a keen interest in photography. Her friends and family keep her centered, and her love of travel allows her to expand her design horizons to brave new places, finding new inspiration around every corner.

See more of Ghanoum’s work on her Behance portfolio here.

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