InsiderMIUxRiseUp’19: Tarek Atrissi and His Journey in Arabic Typography and Design Career

"In order to be successful, be passionate."



“Talent is good, practice is better, and passion is best.” That’s what Tarek Atrissi shared with his audience in  RiseUp 2019 event, which took place on the 6thof  the ongoing December . Tarek Atrissi is a graphic designer and typographer. He is currently running his own design studio in Barcelona. He traveled to many countries and gained great experience in the designing career there. First, he got his bachelor degree in graphic design at  The American University in Beirut. He then completed his studies in Holland and New York and faced a great challenge starting up his own design studio.

In his talk, he shared his experiences in Arabic typography, calligraphy, lettering, and type designs and he also reflected on many remarkable lessons that he learned during his journey in designs career. He mentioned that in order to be special in graphic design carrier, you need to focus on what makes you special and not to go with the flow. “I think one of the first lessons I have learned from Beirut is not to follow trends, and to look for what makes you unique.” He also shed a light on designs and how they are a great art that deserves to be put in museums, “I learned that good designs belong in museums and it is true. Designs are always a part of art and discipline.”

Moreover, he said that the idea of starting up his own design studio was a great challenge because it is quite difficult for a designer to start his career immediately after graduation. For a long time, it wasn’t usual to have a studio for designs alone and the only available option was working in advertisement agencies. But Atrissi didn’t like working in advertisement agencies, so he decided to challenge himself and start his own design studio. He stated, “I believe that good designs do not belong in advertisement agencies. I love typography and I want to work in typography and I don’t think it’s used correctly in  the advertisement or marketing practice. I then decided to start up my own studio that specializes in typography only. That was my challenge and my goal.”

Additionally, he talked about his experiences of what makes you a successful designer. First of all, he mentioned that talent is not enough to be successful in design career. In fact, he clarified that design scenes have changed a lot, especially with technology. He believes that besides talent, you need to practice, and you need to have soft skills, management skills, sales skills, business skills, and technology skills. You also need to have passion. So, with all of those things, nothing will stop you from having an amazing career and making your talent shine and reach a great level. He stressed the idea of being passionate about doing what you love, “I think passion brings the final elements that can push your carrier forward together.”

Finally, he acknowledged that it’s okay to learn from your mistakes since designs need to be modified repeatedly in order to reach excellent final results. He believes that a designer’s passion is designing something a thousand times and still accepting that it might have to be redesigned again.

Here are some of the questions we asked to Mr. Atrissi during our interview:

How do you deal with bad clients?

You keep learning that there is no magical formula for every project and every client. When you deal with human relationships, you realize that people are different. When clients are criticizing the work, I don’t take it personally because they are criticizing the work, not me. It’s difficult to deal with a bad client but I learn from it and I gain experience.

Did you think people are born with creativity or it could be learned?

No, you can learn creativity. I think education goes a long way in design. Talent is not enough as a lot of education is needed. It’s become a very complicated job due to technology. For my designs, it is a theory. It’s not just talent. Of  course, talent helps but it’s not enough.

Tarek Atrissi is a great model, he teaches us to never give up and take up great challenges in order to be unique in any career, so learn to be passionate because passion is the key of success.