Monday, 31 October 2011


It's a shame (3aib) when a college of design (and other majors including English) produces such booklet to showcase their portfolio, facilities, courses and programmes.

Lets go through it before I start talking in details. It took me almost 3 weeks to blog this specific booklet out of my chest. Every time I sit infront of my laptop trying to put my river of thoughts into words; my hands shiver, smoke comes out of ears and my face turns into a red balloon filled with anger and frustration ready to explode! Maybe because it isn't only about this booklet, but its the whole experience, from landing a foot on the college grounds to running back to my car. The experience also has to do with the college's dean who asked me - when I went to apply for a job as a Typography teacher - he asked "What do you mean by Typography?" (!!!)  I felt like a bucket of cold water got poured over my head. I instantly thought to my self "Is this really where I want to work?"

For those who think.. Oh common, not everyone knows what Typography is, I totally understand if you're anything but a design college dean!

Lets showcase the bilingual college representative AKA booklet.

Arabic font is 16 throughout. Talk about little copy big fonts to fill up pages. Not just that.. Look at the design, layout and font. Overall, heart breaking, really! 

The two splats used behind the Arabic titles (Mission and Vision) are brushes set by default on Photoshop & Illustrator. So, basically no effort put into this. The whole booklet is designed in no longer than 1.14 hrs. I would say that, because there is a chart somewhere inside. Otherwise, a total of 53mins is more than enough.

Paper choice? What other than the cliché Matte Art paper that everyone uses even Salsabeel water flyers. Its the standard paper in Oman and the cheapest. Why does a design college go for the "default settings"? Shouldn't they stand out? Show their skills? Blind us with their overwhelming creativity? oh! and not to forget the cliché glossy covers.

See, this all wouldn't bother me for a second if it was designed for any company out there, but what ticks me off here is that this is a "design" college. There must be at least one teacher assigned to supervise the whole project and outcome. 
You know, I wont even be surprised if this was executed by some guy at the printers. Pay 20 rials extra and voila! Done in a jiffy. No soul, no life, no warmth into the booklet thats supposed to welcome many potential designers out there.

Oh! Just before moving along.. Note that the english side of this booklet has different information than the Arabic side. Confusing? Yes. On the English side "the mission and vision" pages don't exist. You jump straight into the programmes or is it programs or wait! it also could be programe!! According to this fascinating booklet (yes! I'm being sarcastic) there are many ways to spell the word and to impress everyone, they couldn't make up their minds, so, they just left it for you -the reader- to decide! 

Did I also mention there is no dean's welcome message? not that its important, right?!

Just count with me; how many different ways of spellings the word "programme" are there?
American, British, French???
Talk about the English course they provide, huh?! useful much?
Students work at the back of the booklet.

Alright.. So, the far left ad created by some graphic design student says "The best juice you can TEST." Do you mean taste? Ok, so obviously the student made a mistake, fair enough. But the question is, with this mistake, is it the best piece of work to feature in the booklet? If the design teachers english isn't so good, where's the proof reader? Didn't they acknowledge the fact that this mistake could jeopardies their marketing strategy (if they had one) or reputation?

Lets not talk about the fonts chosen, because as we've already established, typography is not in the Graphic Design major curriculum because it's only the MOST important design element (sarcastic, again!)

Lets have a look at the bottom ad here. It's by a student created for ROP (Royal Oman Police). It says "Don't cut it unless it's green"Ok i get it. Don't GO unless the traffic light is green, but why apples? (I'm getting into concepts now) just because apples were created in 3 different colours that match traffic lights, it doesn't mean I can use them for this purpose. 
Why can't I can't cut the apple when it's red? why not when its yellow? why only green?! It tastes good when its red. It also tastes good when its yellow! 
See, its just not related. The only connection is colour. Effective? No. Creative? No. Convincing? No. Concept? Zero.

I can go on about this 8 pages booklet for hours. However, I'll end it here for my health sake to start with!
Secondly, I would like to advise parents out there to check what you're paying for. If you have no background in design, it is ok, ask around, get opinions, compare college booklets, but don't let these colleges rip you off, because honestly they are not giving your children back the proper international education standard/quality you're paying/hoping for. 

I, personally, have worked with many graduates from this college and another, it has been a struggle. They don't know the basics of design such as kerning, leading, image resolution, difference between RGB and CMYK... etc. I DO NOT BLAME THEM, but for whoever is responsible, I say "3aib".

With design, SF.


  1. Sorry but I have to go and check myself because what you have posted is unbelievable...

  2. And that's exactly why I posted up some pictures, because it does actually sound surreal!

  3. WOW! that was something! So this came in my work email today. I don't know if it'll be useful for you but take a look anyway...

  4. LOL! No comments! a Job well done tho :)

  5. Which college is this? Just few weeks ago my dad was trying to convince me to vist the art colleges in Oman. He thought I would be impressed and change my mind about studying abroad, glad I didn't LOL :)

  6. It's disgraceful, colleges pursue profits compromising quality, more disgraceful is to have dozens of colleges non of them have a faculty for humanities.

  7. Love it Sarah! keep sharing your passion - Jackie ( an old old friend from Melbourne);-)

  8. Lol love the way you criticise ! I've noticed that many places in Oman go wrong with spellings, and again like u said, there isn't proof reading! I've seen a huge spelling mistake on one of the huge signs in Carrefour ccq. Also, I was once looking at an online booklet showing work from students at the design college in oman, the work was amazing but the main heading, hugely written, on the cover page was spelled wrong! It was a shame as it ruined the whole design!
    Keep sharing ;)