Here’s How Andalusi Redefines Graphic Design for the Arabic Audience

When one thinks of graphic design apps, popular apps such as Canva, Adobe Express, and Visme come to mind. These apps may differ in the features they provide to users, but they all share the same problem: lack of representation and attention to the Arabic language and its culture.

It’s easy to find cards and templates for Christmas or Halloween, but for Ramadan or Eid, we’re tired of seeing lanterns and mosque silhouettes. Other challenges include Latin-only fonts that don’t work well with Arabic text, a lack of templates with Arabic aesthetics, and even featuring stereotypical images that do not accurately represent Arabic culture.

Thus, the need for design apps that cater to the Arabic aesthetic became dire. That’s where the founders of Andalusi, Faisal Ahmed and Hussam Aamer, came into the fold.

The common notion was that if any app is of high quality then it must be foreign, while Arabic apps are almost always poor in terms of quality which encouraged us to create Arabic apps of international standards.

Hussam Aamer, Co-founder of Andalusi

The team started off by developing simple, non-profitable apps to test the market. After thorough research, they learned that photo editing and design apps were one of the most sought-after categories, offering considerable demand without requiring extensive investment or effort compared to gaming or social media apps, for example.

Positioning themselves as “the first Arabic Canva,” Andalusi was launched in 2018 but fully matured in 2021. It stands out by specifically catering to an Arabic audience. Hussam emphasises their dedication to prioritising the Arabic language, calligraphy, and user experience in every update and template.

The app showcases this commitment through tailored features celebrating national days of Arab countries, Islamic holidays, Ramadan, and other significant events relevant to Arab users. Andalusi is currently only available on the App Store with no web app and an Android app in the works.

Andalusi offers a wide array of Arabic fonts and features designed to accommodate Arabic calligraphy, a distinctive advantage over non-Arabic design apps. Users can easily design CVs, menus, cards, and social media posts, catering to a diverse audience from small business owners to everyday individuals seeking efficient design solutions.

In recognition of its excellence, Apple selected Andalusi as the top design app during Ramadan in 2023. The app’s success is evident with over ten million designs created last year and two million downloads over the past three years. To allow their users to keep up with the renewing features and templates, which are custom to unique occasions such as Ramadan, Andalusi changed their premium plan from a lifetime purchase to monthly and annual subscriptions. Premium users enjoy features that include custom fonts, templates, filters, and layers, with exclusive tools such as a background remover.

The team actively solicits and responds to user feedback through platforms like Instagram, email, and App Store reviews, ensuring continuous improvement and user satisfaction. Moreover, they leverage their social media platform to enhance user experience by posting colour templates inspired by famous landmarks and architectural monuments in the Arab region and short video tutorials on graphic design.

Looking ahead, Andalusi’s future plans include expanding into video editing, integrating features such as video layers, layer movement, and adding stickers and texts. Additionally, they aim to leverage AI technology further and meet the high demand by developing an Android version of the app.

Andalusi’s journey exemplifies a commitment to innovation, cultural relevance, and user-centric design, setting a new standard for Arabic design apps and leaving an indelible mark on the industry.

Ali Raed

Ali Raed, a 25-year-old dentist, writer, teacher and radio show presenter from Babel, Iraq, is dedicated to exploring and sharing stories of innovation, creativity, and technology. He eagerly explores how creativity intertwines with business and entrepreneurship, aiming to infuse fresh, original thinking into these realms.

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