The Arabic Design Archive is a project by Design Repository

Arabic Design Archive (ADA):

ADA is a non-profit initiative that seeks to enable knowledge production about Arabic design and its history through a framework of collecting, digitizing, and exhibiting. ADA aims to provide an open and accessible platform for the public to counter the parallel, inaccessible, and non-existent physical archive of the second half of the 20th century.

Our Story

The Arabic Design Archive and Design Repository are founded by the Egyptian Designer, practitioner historian, and researcher Moe Elhossieny. ADA was conceived in an attempt to address the limited historical resources around Arab design and accessible archives concerned with its history. Elhossieny embarked on this project in early 2020, focusing on collecting Arabic book cover designs. Since then, the archive team has grown to include Arab designers and researchers from around the region, brought together through a shared sense of responsibility to make this archive possible. The archive team is located between Cairo, Beirut, Jerusalem, Casablanca, and Vancouver.

Since 2021, the team's efforts and focus have expanded and slowly grown to encompass all graphic design-related material.

Philosophical conception:

Our project adapts a rhizomatic conception of knowledge production, which describes theory and methodology that allows for multiple, non-hierarchical entry and exit points in data representation and interpretation as opposed to a hierarchical conception of knowledge production. A stance to push for a decentralized knowledge production process.

Methodological framework:

Our methodology is derived from our philosophical conception, and utilizes what is known in histography as ''A history from below.'' This methodology invites the community to engage with and be part of the project. This method pointed our team to more materials that weren't highlighted. So far, the contributions by the community have been invaluable.

Our Team:

Moe Elhossieny - Lead researcher, founder - Cairo ★ Omaima Dajani - Assistant researcher - Jerusalem ★ Yaman To'meh - Assistant researcher - Beirut ★ Sophia Alami - Assistant researcher - Casablanca ★ Karim Fouad - Assistant researcher - Cairo ★ Fatma Fahmy - Metadata specialist - Cairo ★ Zeina Ahmed - Digitization specialist - Cairo ★ Rima Ghanem - Metadata specialist - Vancouver


★ Yasmine Mowafy - Digitization specialist - Beirut ★ Nourhan Elbanna - Assistant researcher - Cairo 


Dr. Hana Sleiman - Archival Consultant - UK ★ Majd Al-Shihabi - Archival Consultant - Canada

Notes on information, presentation, and rights


In most instances, the information provided for each item is extracted from the object itself. When information is missing, it will be indicated on each item.


Some items may be digitally restored (retouched) to provide the best possible visual outcome for viewers. However, if the material is requested in its original state, the archive makes those available through the “Request items” button within each item. By using this feature, scans of the material in its original state can be shared for research and non-commercial use only.


We are a non-profit organization, and our material is only available for viewing and use for non-commercial purposes. We don’t own the rights to any material and are not responsible for any misuse.

Terms of Use

If you decide to use the material on our website, please make sure you request the items through the "Request items" form from the item's page so we can send you the high-resolution images and the citation.

Notes on transliteration

Translation is a complex endeavor, and transliteration often falls short in emulating the intricacies of the Arabic language. However, in rendering originally Arabic metadata into the widely interoperable Latin alphabet, we have adopted transliteration to avoid complications of accurate translation.

One of our main objectives is contextualizing ADA’s resources into a broader network of information, adopting the most commonly used transliteration scheme, the ALA-LC Arabic Romanization scheme. Our bibliographic titles cross-reference with popular linked data platforms such as the Virtual International Authority File (VIAF) and the Library of Congress Linked Data Service. While we have conformed to most of the ALA-LC Romanization rules, we have made the unique revisions below:

→ On harakat, tashkeel, Arabic diacritics:

  • Only phonetically significant diacritics are represented when transliterating (i.e., Mobtada’ marfouʻ is not reflected).

→ On names:

  • Originally Latin names are not romanized according to the rules as stipulated in Rule 22 of the LC documentation—popular spellings of names are adapted instead.
  • Names of institutions: If the English equivalent of an organization's name is not found, then the LC-ALA Arabic Romanization rules are applied.
  • Individuals of note: Popular spellings of celebrities, political figures, popular authors, and artists’ names are used.

→ On representing shaddah:

  • Rule 11(c) of the Romanization scheme is not applied; we do not repeat letters to reflect the presence of a shaddah.

✹ We are grateful for the support we have received from the institutions below.