By Abu Ali
The name Mamoun Sakkal may not be familiar to most readers of IslamicHorizons and members of ISNA but his calligraphic and graphic designs arefamiliar by way of ISNA Convention posters and Islamic Horizons covers.
Sakkal has now solved the hurdle facing Muslims about enhancing theirstationery and other communication pieces with Islamic calligraphy withhis IslamiClip #1 (Sakkal Design, Bothell, Wa.) that includes 33 traditionalas well as modern calligraphic images in EPS format, ready to be importedinto a print communication. Available now for Macintosh and IBM PC/compatiblecomputers, and require software applications that read EPS files, and PostScript(c)printers or imagesetters for best output quality.
The Disk 2 of this collection of computer clip art that has been professionallydrawn from traditional sources, however, it contains a version of the Shahadahthat is not accepted by most Muslims. Sakkal explains that the one of thedesigns in the collection has "Ali wali Allah" that has been takenfrom a building in Yazd, Iran, and he has made an "alternate designwith the phrase Salla Allahu alayih to replace the mention of Ali, and placedthat as variation #1 of the design so people will open it first, howeverI also included the original design because it is a historical example."The users need to exercise due caution.
The rendering of the traditional designs in this collection is faithfulto the originals, except for minor modifications to enhance legibility andreproduction quality, explains Sakkal. The designer has maintained the feelof the calligrapher's hand writing as much as possible, and the strokesoriginally produced by the reed pen have been meticulously analyzed andreproduced, with full control over the quality of each line and the constructionof each path. This means that the artwork can be enlarged without loss ofquality.
Sakkal explains that scanning and auto-tracing is sim-ply not acceptableto convey the subtleties and nuances of the delicate and highly refinedart of Arabic calligraphy.
Sakkal's calligraphic designs are not only appearing in magazines, newsletters,and on coffee mugs and T-shirts but even a mosque in Toronto has used IslamiClipdesigns in its exterior tiles. (Sakkal Designs: www. sakkal.com)
Reprinted with permission from
Islamic Horizons, September/October, 1998
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Calligraphic Designs #1