Interview with Nabhan AbdullatifAugust 6th, 2006
Nabhan Abdullatif is an Omani graphic design student in the Applied Science University in Jordan with a passion for arts, comics and graphic design. He has been an Administrator at EnglishSabla (a general Omani forum in English) for a number of years where one of his duties covers the design aspect of the website. We have interviewed Nabhan to tell us about his experience as a graphic design student and to learn more about the nature of his course. We hope that individuals who are considering the study of graphic design find this interview helpful. You can view Nabhan's portfolio at deviantART and you can learn more about his daily life by visiting his blog.
O3D: Why did you choose to study graphic design?
Nabhan: I always had a passion for arts since I was young, especially cartooning. Graphic design seemed like an excellent career choice for me since I already had the basic skills which are required for this major and I believed that it would be a great chance for me to take those skills to the next level.
O3D: Why did you choose to study graphic design abroad?
Nabhan: There were no graphic design colleges in Oman at the time I decided to study this major seriously, this led me to search for one abroad and because I was on a budget I had to choose something close that was not too expensive and yet was approved by the Ministry of Higher Education here in Oman. I heard so much about the graphic design course over here in Jordan from some relatives, and after looking into it some more I signed up immediately. The Applied Science University is very well known in Jordan for its superb graphic design program which is considered one of the top programs within the Arab world, I would recommend this university for any Omani student with a limited budget who wishes to study graphic design abroad.
O3D: What subjects do you study in a graphic design degree?
Nabhan: A Bachelor degree in graphic design in my university requires taking 136 credit hours to be spread over four years. The student is taught subjects such as the history of art which covers classic, modern and Islamic arts, painting, sketching, carving, photography, basics of architecture such as blue prints and perspective drawing, and of course digital designing using the latest design programs such as Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, Flash, etc. We have been taught various graphic design skills during our course such as ones involving the creation of logos and how to approach an idea and convey it in the clearest, simplest and most elegant way. We have also been taught skills related to the design of posters, newspaper and magazine advertisements, magazine design, brochures, product packaging, web design, and office stationery as well.
O3D: Do you have to do any written tests during your degree?
Nabhan: Yes, mostly for the history subjects as well as a few other subjects such as graphic design psychology and human anatomy.
O3D: Are you required to complete a high scale design project in your course such as a final year project?
Nabhan: Yes, in our final year we are required to create a graphic styled painting on a 3mx1m canvas. Another project that we need to complete is one that requires us to create the logo, posters, advertisements, brochures, full stationery and an Internet site for a company of our choice.
O3D: Are you required to take any training during your degree to work, for example, at a company as a trainee?
Nabhan: Yes, we are required to have four credit hours dedicated to summer training. I have worked in a company for around a month and a half.
O3D: What is the most challenging experience that you have been through until now?
Nabhan: I think that the most challenging experience for me was painting and sketching portraits and real life objects. I was so used to transferring everything into cartoons, but in these two subjects I had to draw people and objects in their original real form so that was quite difficult for me at the beginning, but I got better at it with time.
O3D: How did studying graphic design change you as a person?
Nabhan: It changed the way I look at things, I now pay more attention to all the little details and notice the work done behind the scenes. When I read a magazine now, I no longer only read its contents, but I also analyse the work that gets done into it, the graphics, the text arrangements, the logos, the advertisements, the print work, and everything else that gets done in order to get that magazine in the hands of the consumer.
O3D: Are there any other programs that your university offers in addition to graphic design?
Nabhan: The Arts Department at our university is divided into two sub-departments: Graphic Design and Interior Design. Although both are in essence involve the arrangement of elements within a certain area, they differ in terms of the medium at which those elements are arranged. In graphic design, you arrange digital elements on a canvas using a computer, or by painting them on a canvas. Interior design on the other hand involves the arrangement and the creation of furniture, figures, and the application of paint and lighting to a real room. Both of those majors share some basic subjects, I would recommend this major to anyone interested in graphic design but is looking for something a little bit more challenging.
O3D: What are the career opportunities for graphic designers in Oman?
Nabhan: I would say that currently there are many career opportunities for graphic designers in Oman, whether it is as an in-house designer within major and well known companies or within dedicated graphic design firms and publishing offices. I remember when I first wanted to study graphic design around six years ago and my parents rejected the idea saying that there was no future for it. All that changed two years afterwards when I insisted again as my father was the first one to support my choice as he noticed the opportunities for graphic designers even within the company he worked in.
O3D: What is your plan after graduation?
Work in a company at first and then hopefully in time start my own business by opening up a graphic designing office.
O3D: Any final message to those interested in studying graphic design at university?
Nabhan: Graphic design is a challenging course that requires so much hard work and creativity, it is not as easy as many people think it is. A graphic design student has to be on the look for everything that is new and fresh and must know how to convey his ideas in a unique and original way in order to excel in this major. I believe that one also has to be a good artist to start with as no computer can compensate for true creativity. I wish any person who decides to study graphic design the best of luck.
O3D: Thank you Nabhan for having this interview with us, we wish you the best of luck with your studies and hope that you succeed as a graphic designer in the future.
Nabhan: Thank you Oman3D for this opportunity.