Pentagram is thrilled to announce that graphic designer Samar Maakaroun has joined as a partner in its London office.
‘We are all so excited about Samar Maakaroun joining Pentagram’, says Paula Scher. ‘Samar is a wonderfully gifted designer, with a multicultural background and an excellent visual vocabulary, keen intelligence and incisive wit. She is a spectacular addition to our international group.’
Growing up in Beirut and now living in London, Samar is fluent in three languages and two cultures. Thinking and co-creating in different scripts and contexts, she looks for inspiration in diverse linguistic and scriptural fields, designing brands with aesthetic parity regardless of language.
In an increasingly globalised world, Samar embraces the fluidity and nuances of identity, taking these complexities as a source of creative inspiration. Her work explores the spaces in-between, where cultures and languages intersect, integrate, align or diverge.
Samar joins Pentagram from Right to Left, the design studio straddling cultures and typographic traditions that she founded in 2021. Specialising in designing for hybrid brands, her multidisciplinary team speaks seven languages and spans three generations, working to fluidly integrate worlds, cultures and languages across naming, brand strategy, brand systems and identities. The team’s language-hopping, culture-crossing approach manifested elegantly 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, leading ambitious projects with major studios – including coining the first integrated destination brand for Dubai with M&C Saatchi in 2015 and collaborating with Apple to launch their brand in Arabic across digital, retail and print in 2017. Samar previously collaborated with Pentagram, leading various expansive projects, notably rebranding the Abu Dhabi Media portfolio with Angus Hyland, and later bringing the Diriyah City brand to life with Domenic Lippa.
Between 2003 and 2018, Samar collaborated with writer and director Rabih Mroué, giving a visual form to his stories by designing the sets, motion and imagery for six of his performances. These include So Little Time (2017), 33 RPM Per Second (2012), Photo-Romance (2009), How Nancy Wished that Everything Was An April Fool’s Joke (2007), Who’s Afraid of Representation (2004), and Looking for a Missing Employee (2003).
Showing across Norway, Finland, Slovakia, Germany, Holland, Switzerland, Austria, France, UK, Estonia, Egypt, Tunis, Korea, the US and Japan, these critically acclaimed performances shaped her thinking on storytelling through imagery, and the multitude of interpretations of any one story.
Samar actively supports the next generation of creative talent as a board member of the inclusion campaign Design Can and through mentorship schemes organised by a variety of institutions, including the Ardagh Young Creatives mentorships with the Design Museum. She has judged numerous creative awards, including D&AD and The Drum, and is frequently invited to deliver talks and participate in conferences such as TypoCircle; V&A (with Design Can); Google Creative Labs; SuperCondensed; Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art; Apple, London; and LDF 2021’s Global Design Forum.
Pentagram partner Marina Willer says: ‘I am so delighted to have Samar as our new partner in London. I have worked with her on several projects; she is a wonderful designer who will bring a breath of fresh air to Pentagram. She thinks and works differently to all of us because of her unique cultural mix, approaching design simultaneously in Latin and Arabic alphabets. It's very exciting to add her perspective to Pentagram.’
Samar adds: ‘I thought that running your own studio would be the ultimate place to be for a designer, then Marina called with an opportunity for me to deliver my vision with the support of an established community of exceptional designers, which has operated for half a century and is still going strong. So here I am at the start of this journey, excited for all the things that I will achieve, experience and share with the group. I can’t wait to get started.’
Pentagram is welcoming two new partners this month: In addition to Samar joining in London, the New York office has named Andrea Trabucco-Campos as a partner. With these new appointments, the firm now has 24 partners across four offices globally.