Interview with Shadi Al Hroub from United Arab Emirates

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Shadi Al Hroub

An award-winning creative director and leader with 16 years’ worth of experience, Shadi Al Hroub experience includes creative direction, packaging design, branding and multimedia and had the priviledge to work alongside Leo Burnett, Hilton Worldwide and many more!

Interview With The 2023 London Design Awards Winner – Shadi Al Hroub

1Please give us a brief bio of yourself and your design background.

I am an award-winning creative director and leader with over 16 years of experience and 9 years of research in branding. I have received 38 international awards at the prestige level from around the world, cementing my status as a true expert in my field.

With an extensive background in creative direction, packaging design, and branding, as well as multimedia, I have had the privilege to work with some of the most innovative brands and organisations worldwide. These include Leo Burnett, Hilton Worldwide, Jordan Aviation, Royal Falcon, Jordan Duty-Free, Hublot Watches, The One by Young Couture, and various NGOs such as UNRWA, the International Trade Center (UN), Global Health Development, and USAID.

In addition to my successful career, I have made significant contributions to the industry as a judge for numerous prestigious awards programs. As a judge, I have assessed campaigns from companies like Porsche, McCann Stockholm, FOX Networks Group Spain, BBC, Jaguar and eBay. Additionally, I have facilitated the World Design Challenge on Sustainable Packaging, which focuses on UN Sustainable Development Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production. Furthermore, I have served as a peer reviewer for the Journal for Artistic Research.

As a professor at various esteemed American universities, I have shared my wealth of knowledge and experience with the next generation of professionals. My contributions to the industry and extensive background in branding and creative direction have earned me a reputation as a true master in my field, highly respected and accomplished professional worldwide.

2What made you become/why did you choose to become a designer/artist?
I have increasingly specialised in the design medium at international levels because of my strong interest in advertising and creative design from a young age which was sparked by everything around me having been designed.
3Tell us more about your agency/company, job profile, and what you do.
I determine the creative vision of a brand or project and manifest that vision by creating digital and print installations, as well as establishing budgets and timelines and managing client relationships.
4What does “design” mean to you?
Design can strike you at any time—a bright idea may hit you during a late-night walk, while taking a shower, or any other moment when your mind is free from distraction.
5What’s your favorite kind of design and why?
Visual design is a problem-solving process. It involves identifying flaws or issues in an object or situation, analysing them and working towards their resolution. This problem-solving approach applies to all types of designs, whether they are artistic or practical in nature.
6To you, what makes a “good” design?
A "good" design effectively communicates its message, is functional and user-friendly, visually appealing, tailored to the target audience, simple yet innovative, adaptable across platforms, and considers accessibility. It achieves its intended goals and leaves a positive impact.
7How did you come up with the idea for your award-winning design?
To generate ideas for an award-winning design, understand the project requirements, conduct research for inspiration, brainstorm ideas and develop concepts through sketching and prototyping. Seek feedback to refine the design, iterate on it, and document the process. Embrace creativity, remain open to new ideas, and be persistent in the iterative design process.
8What was your main source of inspiration for this design?
My passion lies in enhancing lives through purposeful design, and our primary objective is to generate value through our products, processes, and performance. Our designs have the potential to garner recognition, differentiating us from competitors. Furthermore, this recognition uplifts team morale by acknowledging individual accomplishments and contributes to building credibility for our firm.
9Do you think your country and its cultural heritage has an impact on your design process?

Yes, a country's cultural heritage can significantly influence the design process. Cultural values, traditions, history, and aesthetics shape the way people perceive and interact with design. Cultural heritage provides a rich source of inspiration, influences design choices, and impacts the overall design language.

It can be reflected in the use of colours, patterns, symbols, and motifs, as well as the materials and techniques employed. Designers often draw upon their country's cultural heritage to create designs that resonate with the local audience and evoke a sense of identity and familiarity.

10Congratulations! As the winner of the London Design Awards, what does it mean to you and your company and team to receive this award distinction?
Our unwavering dedication lies in crafting a better life through purposeful design. With a steadfast mission to cultivate value through ingenious products, seamless processes, and exceptional performance, we embark on a journey of distinction. The illustrious London Design Awards await, a platform that embraces and magnifies our work, propelling us beyond ordinary bounds. By acknowledging individual triumphs, it ignites the flame of team spirit, while concurrently bolstering the credibility of our esteemed firm.
11Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2023 London Design Awards, and why you chose to enter this project?
At MENAMONSTERS, we believe that great design has the power to shape the world. By nurturing the talent and creativity of the MENA region, we propel our clients towards unprecedented success. Join us on this extraordinary journey, as we transform dreams into realities and redefine the creative landscape of the MENA region.
12What were the main challenges you faced during the design process, and how did you overcome them?
What really matters is not how good you are today but how fast you progress and what steps you take every day to improve your designing skills.
13How do you think winning this award will impact your future as a designer?
Winning this award can have a significant impact on my future as a designer. It enhances my credibility, establishes recognition within the industry and opens doors to new opportunities. The award serves as a testament to my skills and expertise, allowing me to attract prestigious clients, collaborate on exciting projects and further advance my career in the design field.
14What are your top three (3) favorite things about our industry?
The design industry offers limitless creative opportunities, the ability to create impactful solutions that improve lives and a dynamic environment that fosters continuous learning and growth.
15What sets your design apart from others in the same category?
Consumer behaviour and expectations, particularly among younger generations, have been the driving force behind the transformation of the entertainment industry. These demographics have a strong desire for instant access to content, demanding the ability to enjoy it anytime and anywhere.
16Where do you see the evolution of design industry going over the next 5-10 years?
In our pursuit of progress, it is crucial to foster innovation and encourage development in new realms. Studies indicate that culture and creativity play a growing role in promoting sustainability and fostering resilient growth. By embracing these factors, we can pave the way for a brighter and more sustainable future.
17What advice do you have for aspiring designers who want to create award-winning designs?
The concept is the bedrock of a successful design, akin to its DNA. Prior to engaging with the computer or starting any sketches, it is essential to establish the conceptual message. The concept serves as the guiding force for the entire project, providing direction and purpose. A robust concept is crucial for creating a timeless design that transcends trends and maintains its freshness over time.
18What resources would you recommend to someone who wants to improve their skills in the design industry?
Music, Adobe Collection software and pencil.
19Tell us something you have never told anyone else.
We may never know what the future of design looks like but we can try to imagine it.
20Who has inspired you in your life and why?
I am inspired by a variety of people, places and things.
21What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?
I embark on a quest to unravel the conceptual narrative. This concept acts as a guiding compass, steering the entire project towards its destination. Devoid of a sturdy concept, the creation of a design that endures the test of time, defying passing trends while exuding perpetual freshness, becomes an arduous endeavour.

Winning Entry

The Middle East Creative Monsters | 2023

The Middle East Creative Monsters | Shadi Al Hroub

MENAMONSTERS: Empowering Designers and Fueling Business Growth in the MENA Region. MENAMONSTERS is a groundbreaking talent agency revolutionizing the …
(Read more at London Design Awards)

Shadi Al Hroub

An award-winning creative director and leader with 16 years’ worth of experience, Shadi Al Hroub experience includes creative direction, packaging design, branding and multimedia and had the priviledge to work alongside Leo Burnett, Hilton Worldwide and many more!

Read more about this interview with Zeid Maoulawi from United Arab Emirates, the Platinum Winner of the 2023 London Design Awards.