Ghida Nadar is a graphic designer studying at the Lebanese American University. She participated in the project in fall 2018 with her winning 45 symbols, 3al Lebnene, featuring visual depictions of the literal—and often surprising!—translations of common Lebanese idioms. Ghida is minoring in animation, and her artwork was recently featured in Selections magazine.

“The most important part of drawing a visual with a story behind it is to be able to make the viewers understand it without any difficulty, while keeping it simple.”

TPP45S Describe yourself in 3 words.

GHIDA NADAR I am ambitious, perseverant and passionate about my work.

TPP45S What was your response looking at the Phaistos Disc?

GHIDA NADAR At first glance, I did not know what it was. However, it was rather interesting, so I researched and discovered the different categories for the open call.

TPP45S How did you come up with your idea and then go on to develop the visual language for your project?

GHIDA NADAR “The Everyday” category enticed me the most. I had already been thinking about Lebanese sayings, and I thought it would be a nice idea to further develop into something fun and entertaining.

List of idioms

GHIDA NADAR I started off by recalling the Lebanese expressions that I find myself saying. Then I started thinking of the common ones that my family and friends say. After that, I went to my mother and friends and asked for their help. It was actually a fun experience, and made everyone realize how those sayings, when examined closely, made little sense! I then started thinking about how to involve the same character in all of them in some kind of way.

TPP45S Of the 45 visuals you created, which is your favorite?

GHIDA NADAR My favorite one is #15—the Ejre Fik symbol (which translates as “My foot is in your mouth”), because it is the funniest one, in my opinion. I even created a small sketched animation of it, where the guy comes in acting like a ballerina and then lifts up his leg toward
her mouth.

My foot is in your mouth.

TPP45S Which visual was the most challenging—and why?

GHIDA NADAR The Dammo t2il symbol (#38, “His blood is heavy”) was probably the most challenging, because it was hard to visualize the blood. The most important part of drawing a visual with a story behind it is to be able to make the viewers understand it without any difficulty, while still keeping it simple. So I tried to make it seem like a bag of blood that you’d find in a hospital.

His blood is heavy.

TPP45S Your visual symbols help to give us a real sense of Beirut as a colorful city. What would you want viewers to know about your hometown?

GHIDA NADAR My hometown’s beautiful side stems from its old heritage. This old heritage is seen most often nowadays in the old cafés, small family-based bakeries and the old architecture that our elders left behind. Every time I pass by the old cafés and bakeries, I am hit with a nostalgic feel of how Beirut was in the past.

And even now, everyone is willing to preserve this heritage. When walking on the street, I notice older people playing an Arabic game called “tawle” on balconies and in cafés. I also smell the amazing mouthwatering scents of manakish, fatayer and lahm bi 3ajeen bursting out of small bakeries, and the mesmerizing odor of shawarma all over the place. The old restaurants are enriched with soothing colors, and the food is just as colorful, with the taboule, frike and batata harra.

This part of the city is what gave birth to the sayings that I have collected. People use them in a lighthearted manner throughout their daily lives, which helps establish the beauty of the culture and the heritage. All of the food, art and hearts of the people combined are what forms us as Lebanese people.

Old Beirut’s colorful cafés provided inspiration for Ghida’s project.
Beirut’s “beautiful side,” preserved in its lovely old architecture.
“All of the food, art and hearts of the people combined are what forms us as Lebanese people,”
shares Ghida.

TPP45S What’s your advice for artists submitting to next year’s open call to create a set of 45 visuals?

GHIDA NADAR Make sure to pick a theme that has multiple ideas in it from the start. You might even need more than 45 visuals, because some might not work out for you.

TPP45S As an artist/designer, what are three tools, programs or processes you couldn’t live without?

GHIDA NADAR Without my laptop, my Wacom and my sketchbook, I could not accomplish anything!

TPP45S What’s the best thing you saw or shared in the digital world this week?

GHIDA NADAR The artist James Jean, who caught my eye on the Internet. His art is jaw-dropping!

Ghida Nadar
Ghida Nadar studies graphic design and animation at the Lebanese American University. In addition to her winning 45 symbols, Ghida has worked on projects including amusement park branding and Arabic font patterns.


Winning Project Open Call 18/19—3al Lebnene

Inventing Perspective: Ghida Nadar, Selections Magazine