NESHAN, The Iranian Graphic Design Magazine

Member of International Council of Design ico-D

English | فارسی

Neshan 45

Editorial Column

To Be Or Not To Be

Majid Abbasi

About ten centuries ago, Khajah Abdullah Ansari1 said: “Life is an expedition, not relaxation.” His statement has certainly awakened many individuals so far. Contrary to usual trends, these individuals no longer fear problems. They have been told that problems are not stop signs for humans, but motifs for trying harder. Problems make us flexible, and cause individuals to become familiar with thinking, curiosity, problem solving and discovering new approaches. Solving problems can be interesting and enjoyable, and give us a taste of the pleasant feeling of victory.”2

Hard Work And Pure Pleasure 
Morteza Momayez (1936-2005), editorial board director and co-founder of Neshan Magazine, wrote six editorial columns for the early issues of Neshan, from the publication of the first issue in 2003 until his death in 2005. He has been gone since the seventh issue was published, but the enthusiasm he created with his first editorial has made Neshan’s publication possible thus far. Despite his absence, he taught us to continue on our way, learn and experience, and make Neshan (which would always be a ‘sign’ of him3) internationally recognized and acknowledged4. None of the problems on our end could stop us; they encouraged us to try more, resulting in the publication of forty-five issues over sixteen years. 

The implicit meaning in his note was not only related to graphic design. It also addressed all individuals who persist despite difficulty, regard work and life as a place of experience and experiment, and constantly search for creative solutions. 
Those who are familiar with the current situation of publication in Iran know well that the publishing a quarterly in both Persian and English — while maintaining quality and continuity — can be enjoyable and lovely but also very complex and arduous. Today’s difficult and chaotic economic conditions, global sanctions against Iranians, sky-high costs of raw material, the increase of production salaries, economic instability, and reduced purchasing power have added to this complexity. This is the forty-fifth issue of Neshan, which is published exceptionally with two distinct features. The first is delayed publication; therefore this issue has become a semi-annual issue for autumn and winter. The second is its inevitable change from color printing to black and white. We had to make such decisions in light of the increase in the price of paper and lithography resulting from rampant inflation under the current situation. 
In addition to the aforementioned problems, continuing to publish hardcopies is faced with serious challenges. Easy access to the Internet, the low price of digital copies (and their unconditional accessibility), and the gradual reduction in hardcopy use has seriously affected sales. For this reason, many publications have stopped working or are closing. Neshan is no exception. 

Neshan And Readers 
We dare to introduce Neshan as the only professional graphic design publication in Iran and the Middle East. It can be referred to for hot debates in graphic design within Iran as well as in the world. It is worth noting that some articles of Neshan are related to the history of graphic design. In this regard, Neshan plays a determining role in the reflection of unique subjects from the surrounding world to Iranian readers, while remaining the best medium for introducing Iranian graphic design to international readers all over the world. 
The English version of each issue is published completely on Neshan’s website. For this reason, the international readers of Neshan regards it as an Internet-based English copy rather than a hardcopy. Unreasonable mailing costs and limitations with international subscriptions led us to digital publishing for readers and enthusiasts by developing the concurrent publication of the hardcopy, and we will complete its archive soon.

This issue was written under the title of “Design and Education” by inviting Pouya Ahmadi, member of the international editorial board, as the guest editor-in-chief. His familiarity with the current issues of education in the world caused this issue to be a unique and outstanding one. The diversity of articles and viewpoints helped us to address the issue from different perspectives.
In the end, I would like to extend my appreciation to the ever-accompanying editorial board, my colleagues for the page layouts, and sponsors — without whom the publication of this issue would have been next to impossible. The incurring problems caused black and white printing of this issue, but we preferred to publish it anyway instead of surrendering and giving up the publication. We really cannot predict whether we will publish hard copies for the next issue but we will be doing our best to keep contact between the magazine, our friends and readers, and enthusiasts — at least through our website and social media.
The heritage of Morteza Momayez for Neshan magazine readers is hopefulness and effort to overcome the problems that won’t leave us alone during these difficult days, and always encourages us to continue “being”.

 1 “Khajah Abdullah Ansari (1006–1088), one of the outstanding figures in Khorasan in the 11th century: commentator of the Koran, traditionist, polemicist, and spiritual master, known for his oratory and poetic talents in Arabic and Persian”, Encyclopaedia Iranica
 2 Morteza Momayez, ‘Implicit Meaning of Problems’, editorial column, Neshan No. 1, winter 2003
 3 Neshan in Farsi means ‘sign’. Concept and design of Neshan logo (2003) were undertaken by Morteza Momayez and was calligraphed by Sedaghat Jabari.
 4 In the book 100 Classic Graphic Design Journals which is a unique collection of the most influential magazines devoted to graphic design by Steven Heller and Jason Godfrey, Neshan has been introduced as one of the hundred graphic design journals from early century 20 to 2015. A’Design Award 2018 was also awarded to Neshan magazine for its best design of media and global publications among hundreds of the distinctive works of designers. 

Majid Abbasi

is design director of Studio Abbasi active in the international community, based in Tehran and Toronto. He leads a variety of design projects for start-ups, non-profits and educational organizations worldwide. Majid actively contributes to the international design scene as an instructor, jury member, curator and writer. He has been editor-in-chief of Neshan, the leading Iranian graphic design magazine since 2010. Majid has been members of Iranian Graphic Designers Society (IGDS) since 1998 and Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGI) since 2009.

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