Saudi Design week is set to begin next month in Riyadh, bringing together some of the most creative minds in the Kingdom. The now annual event has grown as the design industry in Saudi Arabia continues to expand. With over 11,000 attendees last year, this year looks to be equally as packed with cutting edge products, thoughts, ideas and designs.
One leading design professional in the Kingdom is Ahmad Alammary, one of the founders of 9SS Creative, a design branding company with edgy graphics whose wide array of clients include restauranteurs, environmentalists, and fitness professionals. Speaking to Arabia Now about how they distinguish themselves from the competition, Ahmad Alammary said, “Edgy design is something clients come to us for, we want our work to help our clients stand out rather than fit in. We see design as a problem solver in that aspect, and not all of our designs require such an edgy approach. We put a lot of weight on relevance and depth. We like to create work that is expressive, unique, and heavily informed and inspired. With today’s advancements in technology, we have the keys to help develop our local design and creative community, and we plan to be a leading contributor to its ultimate growth.”
That growth is certainly happening at a fast pace, particularly as ways to advertise are changing, given the the dominance of social media. Alammary, a graduate of the Pratt Institute in New York where he studied Design Management, combines East and West in his designs, telling Arabia Now, “Our designs are inspired by culture, relevance to both the product we are designing for and the product or service’s market. No two projects are the same, and we treat every task differently. We have a design process that we adhere to, and our thorough process always determines our outcomes. Depending on the requirements of our client or task, we work to get a full understanding of the product, competition, target audience, global benchmarks, and concepts inspired by the product or service itself.”
Being culturally sensitive is also an important part of the creative process, with Alammary explaining, “9SS Creative aims to to be contributors to our evolving local culture. Even when working with clients from other cultures, we find ways to relate to the local consumer, wherever that may be. This means that we spend less time attempting to be relevant, and more time breaking new creative grounds in local design.”
Design as a problem solver is growing in Saudi Arabia, and is also taking a more prominent role in the shaping of business. It was because of the onset of social media and the chance to advertise in new ways that 9SS Creative was formed. During the last days of huge marketing budgets, the team felt a change coming on with the early days of social media, and just as entrepreneurship was being embraced, the company was started. During his interview with Arabia Now, Ahmad said, “The Saudi entrepreneurs we have met throughout our 9SS Creative journey have been very different. There is tremendous growth happening for small and medium businesses in Saudi Arabia, and passionate people are driving these new up and coming brands. They’re fully invested in their concepts and we have been able to learn about these very different industries by helping them shape their brands from core to peel. Local, home grown businesses are slowly but surely replacing imported concepts and international franchises.”
As the design and branding business continues to go from strength to strength in Saudi Arabia, 9SS Creative is looking ahead to expand as a branding house and grow their business by creating their own brands, and sending them into the market too. They have launched a clothing and music line under the name of 9SickSick, which already has thousands of new clients and supporters. With Saudi Design week fast approaching, and the design and branding market rapidly expanding, it seems the consumer will have plenty of products to choose from.