Arab and British in equal measure, Samar Maakaroun is a designer and creative director renowned for her creatively multilingual approach to design.
Growing up in Beirut before moving to London, Samar is fluent in three languages and two cultures. As a designer with 20+ years experience across branding, digital storytelling, scenography and typography, her career has focused on balancing aesthetics, context and heritage with brand voice and purpose.
In a globalised world with burgeoning diasporic communities in every city, Samar believes in embracing the fluidity and nuances of identity, seeing complexity as a source of creative inspiration and narrative power. Her work explores the space in-between – where cultures and languages intersect, integrate, align or diverge.
She founded Right to Left in 2021, a design agency that straddles cultures and typographic traditions. Specialising in designing for hybrid brands, the multidisciplinary team speaks seven languages and crosses three generations, working to fluidly integrate worlds, cultures and languages across naming, brand strategy, brands systems and identities. An example of their language-hopping, culture-crossing approach manifested in the typographic project, 29 Words for 29 Letters, which explores language, translation, and the fluidity of meaning through design.
Before Right to Left, Samar worked in the design industry for over 15 years, where she led ambitious projects with major studios. Her notable projects include coining the first ever integrated destination brand for Dubai with M&C Saatchi (2015); launching Apple’s brand in Arabic across digital, retail and print (2017); rebranding the Abu Dhabi Media portfolio including AlIthihad newspaper and Majid TV with Angus Hyland at Pentagram, and later bringing the Diriyah City brand to life with Domenic Lippa (2019).
Straddling the worlds of art and design, and often working across disciplines, Samar is a creative with a varied background. Early on in her career, she worked as a set designer with director Rabih Mroué for over 15 years, designing visuals for shows which toured from from Beirut to Berlin, Seoul, Tokyo, France, and New York.
Samar actively works to support the next generation of creative talent through Creative Women’s Network, as a board member of inclusion campaign Design Can, and by delivering talks to a variety of universities and judging awards with D&AD and Drum.
Regularly invited to deliver talks and to participate in conferences, she has spoken at: TypoCircle; V&A with Design Can; Google Creative Labs; Shillington College; D&AD; SuperCondensed; Arts University Bournemouth; Pentagram London; University of Greenwich; Chelsea College of Arts (UAL); Baltic Centre for Contemporary Arts; Kingston University; Apple, London; LDF 21, Global Design Forum.