Bidoun is a magazine that covers art and culture in the Middle East. We’ve art directed it since 2010 (or so? time flies), designing every issue from cover to cover.
The magazine’s focus is hard to pin down, but I think our colleague Babak Radboy summarized it well:
“The magazine is driven by a central paradox: how does one make a journal on a region like the Middle East while simultaneously questioning the neutrality of journalism and the region’s very existence as more than a construct of outside interests? How does one ‘picture’ a region in which representation is a point of contestation and a site of historical exploitation? The answer, in part, has been to let these problematics themselves propel our process — from editorial to image production — resulting in a quarterly which is by turns remarkably inconsistent and consistently remarkable.”
From a design perspective, this means reconceptualizing the magazine with each issue. The layout, typography, and feature language are repeatedly rebuilt, as if to correct the flaws in past issues while planting seeds for those issues yet to come. Visual ideas that were foreshadowed in one issue are expanded at length in the next, while some issues exhibit a structural foundation only hinted at elsewhere. In this way, the magazine is like a game with a continuously-evolving ruleset. From one issue to the next there may be only passing resemblance, but as a whole the magazine maintains a spirit that is undeniably its own.