EL Hema

Kj and I (with 3 more young designers from the Arab world) are in Amsterdam right now working on El Hema project organised by Mediamatic
The project is preparing an exhibition of an arabic version of a very famous store, the typically dutch HEMA.

000.pngHEMA original logo and its arabic adaptation, designed by Tarek Atrissi in collaboration with Huda Smitshuijzen AbiFares. Arabic font used as basis for the logo is TheMix Arabic, designed by Lucas de Groot and Mouneer Al-Shaarani).




What would an Arabic HEMA look like? Halal sausage? Arabic chocolate letters? Affordable high quality headscarves? 3 Palestinian scarfs (kaffia) for the price of 2? Tunics or Djballas? School notebooks with lining for Arabic, which reads from right to left? Ali Baba and the 40 store robbers? Camel milk? Erotic Arabic poetry on duvet covers? Jibril and Jamilah children’s champagne? North African wine?

Creating an Arabic store was the natural choice to exhibit and launch the book Typographic Matchmaking organized by Khatt Foundation. The book is in fact a collaboration between dutch designers and designers from the Arab world to produce 5 pairs of typefaces designed to work together in body text.

The exhibition is a cultural exchange between artists, designers, young people and poets mainly from The Netherlands and the Arab world.


HEMA is gradually introducing a new logo on its products and signs. The new Arabic version of the logo is based on the first Arabic design.



The interior panels and the tags system of the shop are also redesigned into Arabic. Kj and Raya Tueni studied the HEMA tags and Kj worked on the design of the tags to reflect HEMA’s clean and straight-to-the-point way of design.

Chocolate letters reflect a cultural aspect of dutch traditions and creating the first chocolate letters to include them in the exhibition was a must. Bernardo worked on the molds of the typeface Fedra Bold and revealed the first results on the koopavond 7

The design is still in the making and will include fashion items and typographic underwear with Arabic erotic poems. Abrar Al Musallem worked on T-shirts with pickup lines from different countries of the Middle East. Maria Hakim designed a typographic stamp kit which will be available during the exhibition and will allow visitors who are not familiar with the Arabic script to easily create typographic arabesque patterns.

Hema uses models’ pictures to promote their clothing line. El Hema does the same. The following are some of the photo shoot pictures taken by Marieke Bijster to be used in the El Hema exhibition.


Here are some links of the project in the media
Channel 3 (youtube)
Channel At5
Zoomin tv

The project in 3 major dutch newspapers
Amsterdam weekly, Trouw, NRC Handelsblad


More magazines talking about the exhibition few days before the opening!
In it kj models the tshirts, Joann models for the chocolate letters designed by Raya, and a third model blowing in the ElHema bag designed by wael.



cultuur and show website




The opening of the exhibition is scheduled on the 24th of august. See you there!

Explore posts in the same categories: Amsterdam, Arabic Type, Design, Exhibition, Graphic design, Typography

5 Comments on “EL Hema”

  1. […] it, but the original designers do a far better job… so see the transformation from HEMA to El Hema on this […]

  2. Louay Aouad Says:

    I support the El Hema design they should win!!

  3. jesica Says:

    love your stuff where do i gotta go to buy arabic printed clothes shirts everything please email me asap thank you very much

  4. wael Says:

    Hey Jesica,

    These items were limited edition showcased and sold at the El Hema exhibition in Amsterdam last august.
    The exhibition was extended to beginning of 2008 but is closed right now.
    You will have to contact Mediamatic (mediamatic.net) and check the availability of the t shirts.
    El Hema exhibition might move and open in Utrecht so stay tuned!

  5. ahmed Says:

    i want a kosher -halal t-shirt

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