From law school to designing posters for raves: Mohamed Moustafa Farid on pursuing his passion
Recently forming his one-person studio, Studio Haramat, the designer discusses leaving his hometown, making a name for himself and being welcomed by a community of fellow music lovers.
- Olivia Hingley
- 20 May 2022
Promotional visuals have the potential to make or break a club night. If they’re eye-catching and unique, making people take that second look, then you’re guaranteed more guests. Luckily, if there’s one thing designer Mohamed Moustafa Farid knows how to do, it’s make a poster that stands out from the crowd. A big lover of electronic music, Mohamed sees his work with the live music industry as the “perfect” combination of his personal and workplace interests. “‘I’m always on the dance floor,” he explains, “and it feels even more special when I’m the one designing the flyer.”
Born and raised in Mansoura, Egypt, Mohamed was originally pursuing a career in law. It was when he was in law school in 2012, however, that he became “obsessed” with double exposure layer techniques both in Photoshop and photography. Experimenting with them both, he began to upload projects to his Behance, and before long started getting advertising with small startups . “It was the perfect start to get experience and teach myself everything,” Mohamed adds, “from food photography, to menu designing and what not.” In 2017 Mohamed made the move from Mansoura to Denver, Colorado. Moving without knowing anyone or having any real plan, Mohamed later met DJ Padideh at an open deck night. Since becoming his roommate and close collaborator, Mohamed places a lot on that chance encounter: “I’m lucky and incredibly grateful to have randomly met this great community who constantly lift me, always.”
Being so heavily involved in the community he designs for has been beneficial for Mohamed, not least in the fact that it's created some brilliant working relationships. Ensuring his clients are as involved in the process as possible, Mohamed details that, when designing posters, “I start with text on black and white” adding “different backgrounds and moods” if the promoter doesn’t have a specific approach in mind. Creating at least three final posters or flyers for the client to choose from is a method that Mohamed identifies as a “hobby” – a fact we’re unsure many designers will relate to. But equally, it’s a process that Mohamed cares about getting right.
Throughout his years living and partying in Denver, Mohamed has forged a close collaboration with the anonymous DJ collective Peer Review. Designing his first flyer for the collective in 2019, he hasn't stopped since. Working so persistently with a group he respects has resulted in some pretty awe-inspiring projects, and one Mohamed states as a recent favourite is his collection for the four-year anniversary. Using photography taken at previous raves by PR photographer Dani Lopez, Mohamed was tasked with creating 10 posters that emulate the essence of the collective’s on-running nights. Mohamed utilised a simple san serif typeface, a variation of “clashing” colours and a focus on enhancing the photography. The brilliant series of diverse yet unified posters obviously had an effect. Not only did the team sell a whole series of corresponding t-shirts, the night ended up being completely sold out.
Another recent project that Mohamed signposts as a favourite is his poster for the Mexico City-based DJ duo INVT and their upcoming day party in Denver. Wanting the theme to be “tropical” – with catchy colours with some floral elements – the duo also sought an interesting, decorative typeface for their name. Trying and testing numerous routes to make the type as he envisioned, while ensuring it's still legible, the designer utilised two different fonts. Typography is one element that Mohamed enjoys having “no boundaries” with, an approach he believes is rooted in him having no formal design school training. “I think of all letters as shapes and I try my best to make them look cool either by distorting them, manipulating them, duplicating them and flipping them,” the Mohamed details.
Mohamed has a few clear goals for the upcoming few months. Soon to be moving into his new work space, the designer wants to update his 12 year old laptop and start afresh. “I will have a nice printer, a nice set up and my work will just get better and better," and he finishes with a laugh, “a faster computer will certainly help me reach my best potential.”
Studio Haramat: Darwin (Copyright © Studio Haramat, 2022)
About the Author
Olivia (she/her) joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in November 2021 and soon became staff writer. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh with a degree in English literature and history, she’s particularly interested in photography, publications and type design.