Letterform Archive – Words with Shape and Soul


Words with Shape and Soul

Words with Shape and Soul
with Dina Benbrahim

Co-presented by Book Arts & Special Collections, San Francisco Public Library
Lecture at Letterform Archive
Tue, Nov 16, 2021
12:00pm–1:30pm PT

The shapes of letters, their typography, often go unnoticed, yet they carry meaning — from the most functional to the most abstract. Since Morocco is at the crossroads of several cultures, past and present, the poetry of words there is even more complex. The intricacy, intimacy and, sometimes, the simple functionality of it carries the imprint of multiple cultures co-existing across history and geography. It deserves to be noticed, talked about, written about, and dreamed about.

Words have surrounded Dina Benbrahim in multiple languages since she was three apples tall— Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Riffi, Tamazight, and others have all had sounds and accompanying shapes that were at play in her bubble. In this talk, you will travel all over Morocco and experience the cultural, social, political and economic contexts in which found typographical pieces are grounded.

About Dina Benbrahim

Dina Benbrahim is an Arab multidisciplinary creative who uses a feminist lens to focus on illuminating the power in human beings to be transformative forces in society. She is currently an Endowed Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at University of Arkansas. Her research investigates design for visibility, civic action and social justice for marginalized communities to collectively reimagine equitable futures. Previously, she was an Assistant Professor at University at Buffalo, SUNY.

Dina also has experience in design, art direction, copywriting and entrepreneurship in New York and Casablanca, with SYPartners New York, J. Walter Thompson New York and Casablanca, and Shem’s Publicité. Her work has been featured in national and international exhibitions and awarded multiple times. She received a Bachelor in Business Administration and a Master’s Degree in Marketing and Communications in addition to participating in the Exchange Program in Arts and Social Sciences at Simon Fraser University. She completed her MFA in Design & Visual Communications at University of Florida where she additionally taught design as an Instructor of Record and was the 2020 recipient of the Calvin A. VanderWerf Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Dina is motivated to activate greatness in everyone she encounters.

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