GDE730: Week 2 – This is not a pipedream

saṭr is a graphic design platform serving to further the cultural discourse within the Arab diaspora. It offers a communal space for design experimentation and reflection, aimed at the development and advancement of design from and for the Arab world.

To imagine saṭr as a real-life, feasible project, I’ve decided to map out two business pipelines that are designed to work simultaneously.

In last week’s research, a gap in the field was identified where the platform I’m envisioning can potentially live. This is a place that equally combines design practice and exhibition space. A platform that supports the artistic desires of Arab graphic designers while giving them a little pocket of financial freedom to fulfill their creative ambitions.

As a starting point, and in this post-COVID era, going in the route of a virtual platform isn’t farfetched. There are a few rules and non-rules that I have set aside before mapping out the aforementioned pipelines and their respective resource models.

  1. saṭr, while apolitical in its basic structure, is open to political and societal discourse from a variety of perspectives. However, the line is drawn at prejudice and propaganda.
  2. saṭr shall serve as a safe place for designers to present their work anonymously if they wish to do so.
  3. saṭr shall not at any point serve projects for a consumerist nature.

Now that we’ve laid down the essentials for the platform, let’s define how it can operate.

Before construing anything from my own imagination, I had a look at 3 different platforms that operate virtually under a similar premise of doing social good for the design community as a whole.

Intern Mag

“Intern is a platform that empowers the next generation of creatives to build their dream careers”

Intern Mag operates primarily online and an adjacent print publication that opens the discourse on empowering young designers through their careers business-wise. Their Instagram features mostly text-based graphics with catchy callouts on how to improve your business sensibilities as a designer. Their website, and concurrently, their magazines, offer up long-form, self-help style articles and occasionally some call-outs of the industry.

It’s Nice That

“It’s Nice That believes passionately that creative inspiration is for everyone and by championing the most exciting and engaging work online, in print, and through our events programme, we want to open up this world to the widest possible audience.”

It’s Nice That operates through a variety of platforms, including a website, a bi-annual magazine, and a monthly talk series. They provide inspiration and advice, put up-and-coming creatives in the spotlight, and collaborate on multiple levels to form a colorful and thriving network in the industry.

Diet Prada

Diet Prada is an online platform run anonymously. They gained a cult following through their Instagram by calling out fashion brands for their wrong-doings, while still covering highlights within the industry. They operate primarily through Instagram, with an adjacent website and Patreon.

The three elements I was able to derive from the above case studies are:

(a) community support and

(b) creative inspiration

(c) social good

Let’s recap what saṭr is and how it can function as a real-life program:

saṭr is a virtual program that offers micro funds to Arab graphic designers to ideate, experiment, and explore on small scale, one-time projects.

The outcomes of these micro-funds are disseminated online through a curated social media feed that serves to empower and inspire creatives in the Middle East and diaspora. The culmination of those creative micro-projects will also be published in a limited-print, quarterly magazine.

To finance the project, saṭr is budgeted based on a Visual Arts grant for collectives from the AFAC Arab Culture Fund for $35,000.

Below is a breakdown of the budget, estimated by each necessary component of the project.


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