This week we’re in Baghdad with designer Mohammed Oudah
One of the most interesting things that Creative Chair shows us is how design varies by region and by nation. It both influences and is influenced by local culture and history. We talked to Mohammed Oudah, a designer living and working in Baghdad, Iraq.
Mohammed explains how over the years design has changed in his city.
We recommend that you follow his work on Behance, as we predict great things!
Firstly, tell us a little more about yourself and what you do?
I’m Mohammed Oudah. I was born in Baghdad in 1994 during the period of the economic embargo on Iraq, so I didn’t see a computer or any technology until the 2003 Iraqi war.
After the war, I started self-learning without the internet or any resources and worked on various design programs, but my real entry into the design world was after 2008 when I had internet connection for the first time.
I now work as an Art Director at d3 Studio, the company I co-founded two years ago; I also work as a graphic designer at QiCard, the first e-payment solutions company in Iraq.
I’m interested in icon design, illustration and creating ideas, actually most of my projects are in branding and logo design, but this is not my primary interest.
The 41st 366 Award goes to Mohammed Oudah for his outstanding creative work.
We really like the work you did on the promos for a 2016 Behance Portfolio review. What gave you the idea for this project?
What is the special thing about Baghdad? We all read the stories from Arabian Nights (One Thousand and One Nights) and especially the story of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, which is set in Baghdad, so the main idea is inspired from the girl Kahramana and pouring oil on the thieves, as mentioned in the story.
I’ve redrawn Kahramana carrying the paint bucket tool instead of boiling oil jar. To denote that, Kahramana pours creativity of designers into Baghdad like she was inspiring readers previously.
You describe yourself as having been one of the first 3D designers in Iraq. How do you feel that creative trends and methods vary in Iraq to other parts of the world?
Iraq’s design culture is still weak or almost non-existent, in 2008 when I was working in 3D design, there were only eight designers in Iraq even though Iraq’s population was 30 million.
Until recently, the design of logos was not the work of designers, but rather the work of traditional calligraphers. Now designers are getting good respect but not at the level we aspire to; there are still many printing houses which do designs at low prices or for free only in order to do the printing for the client, this comes at the cost of the design quality and lessens the value of design for the client.
But the good side, we in Iraq have a long history of arts for more than 4,000 years, the Sumerians built the first cities and garnished them with wonderful arts and continued these civilisations through to the Babylonians and the Abbasid, Safavid and Ottoman until today. All we need is a culture to transform all this artistic legacy to modern digital arts.
One of your projects is “6 Feet Under Chat” a social app for dead people! If you died and came back as a song, what would that song be?
There is a song I always hear when I get creative block and I cannot come up with a new idea this song is (we walked to the war “احنا مشينا للحرب”) this song was written during the Iraq-Iran war, the Iraqi soldiers would sing it during the war to give them more enthusiasm and drive to fight.