Morteza Momayez – Iranian graphic designer

Morteza Momayez

Mortezawas a renowned pioneer of graphic design in Iran, he received the Art & Culture Award of Excellency from the president of Iran in 2004. Momayez introduced the Iranian graphic design to the world. Throughout his career, Momayez initiated many cultural institutes, exhibitions and graphic design publications.

He was born in August 26th 1935, Tehran, Mommayez was the eldest son of Mo?ammad-?Ali and ??nom Ku?ak. His paternal grand uncle, Mus?, was a noted painter of the late Qajar era (1794-1925). Momayyez worked in a variety of professions from an early age to draw a living, starting out as a storefront sign writer while still in high school.

mortezaIn 1960 he was appointed art director of Ir?n-e ?b?d magazine. He also worked for a while at Zib? Advertising Agency. In 1961 he was employed at Keyh?n Printing and Publishing Corporation, where A?mad Š?mlu (1925-2000), renowned poet and the then editor-in-chief of Ket?b-e hafta, a new publication from Keyh?n, invited Momayyez to be its illustrator. Years later in an interview with Firuza ??beri, he remembered these years as his introduction to graphic design: “I put many things to the test and learnt many things.”

He was educated at the Faculty of Fine Art, University of Tehran (1964),  After graduation from the Faculty of Fine Arts in 1965, Momayyez gave up painting altogether and focused on graphic design; an art form which attracted interest in Iran with the expansion of lithography and modern typography in the second half of the Qajar period. Although visible in graphic motifs and patterns on ancient clay and metal vessels, seals, brickwork, glazed tiles, carpets, miniature paintings, calligraphy, manuscript illuminations, etc.; it was considered by many in Momayyez’s time, including his peers at the Faculty, merely commercial, or rather, a betrayal of artistic aspirations, and a deviation from the artistic course.

Momayyez traveled to France in the same year to continue his education in interior design at École Supérieur des Arts Décoratifs. In Paris he met his future wife, Firuza ??beri. Upon his return to Iran in 1968, he founded the Department of Graphic Design in the Faculty of Fine Arts. While teaching in the Department, he created posters for cultural events and designed book covers, emblems and logos. Momayyez rose to prominence for his magazine layouts, typography, and film posters, among others. He was particularly recognized for designing new signs. He had an eye for identifying non-essential lines and points and could sense minor differences, distinctions and details. In his challenge to refine a concept, he simplified a shape to the point beyond which it lost proportion and the concept was rendered meaningless.

His professional activities included teaching at the Visual Communication department of the Faculty of Fine Art at the University of Tehran, 1969; the Art Director of Tehran International Film Festival, 1974 – 1978; the Art Director of Pars Studio;  Ketab Hafteh weekly;  Roudaki magazine;  Farhang-o Zendeghi magazine;  Kelk and Goft-o Gou quarterly, and Payam-e Emrouz and Zaman magazines, 1952 – 1958;  President of Iranian Graphic Designers Society (IGDS), 1997 – 2003; the Vice-President of Iranian Artists Forum, 2003 and the President of Tehran International Poster Biennial, 2004

His memberships included -1975, Alliance Graphique Internationale (AGI) 1997, the Iranian Graphic Designers Society (IGDS) 2000, the Iranian Academy of Art

momayezHe achieved the following Honours: 2001, The Award for Toady Design Exhibition; 2004, Icograda Lifetime Achievement Award;  2004, the Academy of Art Award.

Momayyez died on November 25, 2005, having battled prostate cancer for ten years, and was buried in Dehkord?n Cemetery, in a village near Karaj. Many of his friends, students and admirers participated in his memorial ceremony. He was remembered as an artist who played a major role in the development of graphic design in Iran.

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