Project Pen web platform adopts ‘new look’, reaches out to int’l audience

[26-06-2013 04:13 PM]

Ammon News - by Ghalia S. Bouran/ Jordan Times

AMMAN — Out of a belief that writing is a personal battle, local writing platform Project Pen has embarked on a journey to reinvent itself and reach out to an international audience of readers and writers.

The first step was adopting a new logo.

Instead of the friendly “Pen” sitting dreamily at a typewriter, the user-generated content website has adopted a stenciled image of a young girl holding a pen as a weapon as its new logo.

Designed by Ahmad Sabbagh, the image can be seen on the streets of Amman’s “creative hotspots” such as Rainbow Street and Jabal Luweibdeh.

“Writing is a war with yourself, something you need to fight for,” English content developer at Project Pen Aysha Shamayleh told The Jordan Times.

“We wanted a logo that portrayed that.”

Based in Amman, Project Pen allows aspiring authors to share their writing material, illustrations and creative ideas in Arabic and English.

Founder John Lillywhite told The Jordan Times that Project Pen plans to expand its outreach to an international digital audience, summing up the goals for 2013 as “publishing one Arabic and one English author, establishing a new website that can reach a global audience and exploring what storytelling means in a digital world”.

“John sent me a piece of poetry that inspired me,” Sabbagh, a graphic designer at Syntax, said.

“I felt Project Pen was like a mission, you get the sense that the girl in the logo is a warrior,” he noted.

Project Pen’s re-branding campaign was organised by local graffiti artists 37-year-old Wesam Shadid and 18-year-old Sin.

“We depended on volunteers, but it’s difficult to draw graffiti,” Shadid said. “We organised the stencil locations, I covered Abdoun and Ras Al Ain while Sin covered Luweibdeh and we both covered Jabal Amman.”

The idea of logo rebranding is meant to sustain Project Pen as a “literary digital movement”, Lillywhite said.

Project Pen filmed various local artists and musicians for a video project featured on the Kickstarter website this summer. The website features new projects that receive pledges for funding and support.

“The power of Internet to connect regions will allow Kickstarter to Project Pen’s work to a foreign audience that will hopefully support it,” Lillywhite added.

Project Pen organises frequent “storylabs” that draw together a team of writers and illustrators who collaborate on specific themes to generate e-Books in Arabic and English.

“Stories From Amman”, the first storylab e-Book by Project Pen, was published last year.

“There are a lot of people with potential to write that don’t know how to go on about it,” Shamayleh said.

“We feel that literature documents history; the actual documentation of events is important to empower artists, especially at this critical political period in our region,” she added.

“The Internet created many opportunities for writers that lead to new content,” Lillywhite noted.

“We don’t want to be just another project, we want to actually help writers in Amman.”

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