Graphic designers in modern Iran
Just as in centuries past, Iran (Persia) operates as a relatively independent cultural centre within the Arab world. The Iranian culture flourished at the end of the last century during international isolation. After the 1979 revolution, many Iranian artists emigrated. Then Iran fought a war with Iraq that lasted almost ten years. During that period and thereafter there three generations of graphic designers have grown up.
Nowadays about 800 graphic designers graduate each year in Iran. They create work with an international dimension, but with an Iranian soul. The Internet has made the latest generation quite aware of alternative western graphic design with coarse-grained collages and ‘eroded' typography. To the extent that an Iranian designer can keep himself at arm’s length from politics and religion, he can follow an independent course, not only within the cultural sector but also in advertising.
Around the year 1960, designer Morteza Momayez put Iranian modern graphic design on the map. After his death, at the end of 2005, the 39 year old Reza Abedini took up where he left off. This professor at the University of Teheran is also an independent art director and the driving force behind the Iranian Biennial for graphic design.
Abedini's encounter with Hans Wolbers, Dutch magazine designer and creative director of bureau Lava, led to the New Visual Culture of Modern Iran. This substantial tome contains an overview of contemporary posters, book covers and free-style graphic work of varying quality.