The Definitive Guide to Living in the Capital , Cairo , Egypt

Arts & Culture

Absolute Egypt: A Map to Egypt’s Visual Soul ‎

Absolute Egypt applied arts arts arts and culture cairo Culture egypt graphic designs Khatt books Raghda Moataz
Absolute Egypt: A Map to Egypt’s Visual Soul ‎
written by
Dina Mokhtar

Featured image via Absolute Egypt – Facebook


Having studied art, we’ve been told that there’s a considerable gap between art and applied arts. While the first is a personal experience and a language of self-expression, the second is restricted to functionality.

A walk down any street in Egypt proves that the gap between the two can be easily bridged. An old-as-time country which has been exposed to numerous cultures bears multiple influences that visually show themselves in every corner; be it a sign, a vending cart, or even a manhole cover.

Not only do we absentmindedly see this rich visual language, but we also interact with it. However, one Egyptian graphic designer called Raghda Moataz took the time to stop and observe, document, and investigate that language in her book entitled, Absolute Egypt.

“The Absolute Egypt book takes you on a tour through the local Egyptian streets in an attempt to bring attention to everyday designs by clearly displaying [Egyptian] contemporary, overwhelming, beautiful visual culture,” Moataz says.

It all started as a final thesis that discussed the Egyptian visual culture, as seen through the eyes of a graphic designer. A couple of years later, Moataz took a deeper dive that widened the scope of her analysis, to include nearly every element in the nation’s visual culture.

“… It features basic design elements like patterns, colours, and symbols, public designs like street lettering, graffiti illustrations, and signs, and printed matter like books, newspapers and stamps. This book is a visual testimony that archives and celebrates [a] graphically rich environment. This is how graphic design tells the story of a culture. This is Absolute Egypt.”

Published by Khatt Books, supervised by Philip Paulsen, Absolute Egypt makes Moataz one of the youngest female authors on design in the region. We think it’s a must-have to any arts and culture enthusiast; it’s a dictionary to our nation’s contemporary culture. You can get yourself a copy here or here