Feature: Anas Al Horani. Images: Courtesy of Yassir Bayoumi
We speak with Yassir Bayoumi, one of the most exciting young graphic designers currently working in Jordan
When I asked Yassir Bayoumi, the Sudanese graphic designer based in Amman, about his beginnings in the field, he answered, “When I was a kid, my parents had all their cassettes lying around the house, and I, for some reason, started drawing and painting on them. I didn’t know at the time that that is what a graphic designer basically does, but I did it anyway.”
Yassir Bayoumi started out as a computer engineering student, but quickly switched to graphic design. “My parents were a bit worried,” he told me, “but they were supportive. And that mattered a lot to me.” While studying, Bayoumi worked as a freelance graphic designer for a variety of clients. After he graduated, he worked at the Royal Film Commission. “It was a turning point,” Bayoumi said. “I’ve always wanted to make art, and working for an institution sharpened my focus. I had to work within certain limits and confines, and it was a challenge to balance the art with the task.”
The balance is at the heart of poster art. Posters are designed to be both eye-catching and informative. “I love art that catches the eye and engages the senses,” Bayoumi said. “I believe that art is expressing yourself and adding to the world around you.”
And although the stylistic tools Bayoumi uses are plentiful, his principle is simple: to convey the information the posters contain through the written word, as well as the depicted image. “What I usually do,” Bayoumi said, “is, first, I research the poster’s material, and then I take some of othe elements I liked or grabbed my attention and decide to incorporate them.” A poster for the Turkish Film Days features an Ottoman fez; another for the Arab Film Festival depicts the letter ayn in movie reel. The text in the poster for the Iranian Film Days is written in Farsi font against the insides of a Persian dome, and the poster for the Ismailia Film Days, which was voted among the best 100 Arabic posters in 2016, shows the intricate pattern of an Ismaili rug, made from movie recorders and a camera shutter at the centre.
“I love art that catches the eye and engages the senses. I believe that art is expressing yourself and adding to the world around you.”
Speaking of influences, Bayoumi said, “There are the obvious ones, like Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei. And then there are the less obvious ones. Regional artists – in fact, Jordanian artists and graphic designers – have influenced me greatly. I respect the work of Warsheh studio and Lutfi Zayed, for example, and I think it’s wonderful. It has taught me a lot.”