Local artists and a big brand: how Doha’s artists’ are closing the gap
January 25 2022 08:56 PM
The new special-edition Nespresso sleeves for Qatar National Day, designed by sisters Yasmeen al-Idr
The new special-edition Nespresso sleeves for Qatar National Day, designed by sisters Yasmeen al-Idrissi and Layla al-Idrissi


The new special-edition Nespresso sleeves for Qatar National Day may have caught one's eye at the store but what’s even more noteworthy about them is that they were designed by two of Qatar’s very own artists. Sisters Yasmeen al-Idrissi and Layla al-Idrissi were both born and brought up in Qatar and share their love for art in quite a unique way.
Since their childhood, they have been surrounded by art. Layla said their family has always been involved with art, "they collect art and they sell art", with their mother being their biggest influence.

The passion instilled in them at such a young age flourished and they saw themselves pursue it further at university. Yasmeen is now a graphic designer, a graduate from Northeastern University in Boston and works at AlBahie Auction House at Katara - the Cultural Village, while Layla is pursuing a degree in Illustration and Visual Media at the University of Arts in London.
It is safe to say they were well-equipped when it came to working with an international subsidiary like Nespresso.

After getting in touch with Nespresso, they were asked to design a sleeve for Nespresso’s coffee capsules for Qatar National Day and therefore had to conceptualise a final product that did justice to what Qatar represents.
“Qatar is usually represented by the skyline. We wanted to do something different with a different layout. We wanted to use the architecture that makes Qatar different - the museum, the Torch, the masjid in Katara, landmarks found around the country combined with more traditional types of architecture.”
The final product includes a simplistic and stunning design of the landmarks in the colours of the nation’s flag.
When asked about how it felt to work with a global brand, Layla expressed how “having something this big while still studying is an incredible opportunity”.
Yasmeen has worked on several projects in Qatar but still described this opportunity as easier in certain aspects. “It seems very intimidating but it’s so much easier to focus on the actual work than worry about the other things, which you would worry about when you have clients."
Although both artists have different styles, they seem to balance each other out. Layla said, “What I lack, she completes. It’s crazy how that worked out as well.”
Their particular styles are distinct with Yasmeen staying away from organic shapes and enjoying symmetry in the world around her while Layla embracing the former, “I look at the way things flow and try and replicate that in my work.”
With such diverse tones, they are always bound to clash with both agreeing that they’ve disagreed on several works. “We are able to kind of work through it because we are sisters - there's not that layer of being polite."
This was also prevalent when working on the Nespresso sleeve with there being several different versions before getting to the final product. However, the one thing they both fervently agreed on was the satisfaction they got from seeing their work in stores. “Seeing it there, seeing it in stores and seeing people walk around it or buy it. It is surreal.”
The process proved quite difficult with Yasmeen expressing how there was a lot of back and forth “We had a lot of funky colours in the beginning with a different composition - they wanted something simpler.”
Three months later, their finished product ended up being simplistic and close to Nespresso’s branding and both had learned a lot about working with a large corporation.
“I would rather change my work to please them than myself. Mine was the most dominant opinion and that’s changed now,” Yasmeen explained.
Layla added, “I'm quite a stubborn artist. I like to do what I like to do and it’s hard for me to get out of my mind and try and cater to someone else. Working on new projects and developing that skill is really going to help me in my future.”
Although both had some anxieties over whether the final product would look like what they had initially designed, they were impressed by the outcome. “It turned out better than I ever expected,” enthused Layla, who had illustrated the landmarks on the sleeve.
They expressed how the younger generation is "pushing the boundaries with M7 and all of these new creative people in Doha; there’s a change that’s happening". They are undoubtedly a part of that shift because their passion is frankly infectious and their love for art perseveres.

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