Zileej in Thailand

I was recently invited to speak as part of the Thailand Halal Assembly 2017, held at BITEC, Bangkok between Nov 30 and Dec 3. This year’s expo theme was “Halal Wisdom: Convergence of Science, Technology and Islamic Arts”. Thailand is on the way to be among the forefront of the Halal Industry, and it was an exciting event to be a part of, along with scientists, academics, SMEs and startups.

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As part of the conference, my talk’s topic was on “The Evolution of Islamic Art, and patterns.”

Over the years of designing for Islamic brands and audiences, my understanding and appreciation for Islamic arts has grown immensely. Along with it, a deeper understanding and appreciation for Islam’s many ongoing global contributions towards visual culture, architecture, science and technology among others.

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In my talk, I explored a brief introduction and history into Islamic art, in particular, patterns in art. I spoke of its origins, how they were created;

From the beginning of the Islamic era, where craftsmen and artists mixed creativity and mathematics to create abstract decorative forms in architecture, books, carvings, textiles and other objects.

To today's brilliant modern and contemporary artists such as Inkman, El-Seed, Sherin Guirguis, Shireen Taweel, Eric Broug and Elvira Wersche.

To the future; from games such as Engare, to augmented reality in Salam Sisters, or questions like "What will a Mosque in space look like?" in Islam Imagined.

I’m fascinated by what happens when you creativity, art, design, technology and culture is combined - and how these modes of making can be used to continue and extend on traditions; giving modern audiences an insight into Islam’s creative lineage and enduring heritage. 

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Art and design serve two very different purposes, but in design, we utilise many of these visual signifiers throughout.

There is a huge importance of the global Islamic economy and its different halal sectors, from food to travel to fashion. By 2030, there will be 2.2 billion Muslims making up 27% of the population. That’s a huge amount of people around the world, with diverse cultures and tastes, that are all seemingly connected. This growth will come with more new brands, startups and products than ever, that are all driven by faith; Along with it, a higher demand for quality in these brands.

Not all Muslim products or brands need to utilise patterning – but what’s of key importance is the continued use of creativity and innovation. Islam has a rich visual language that we can gain inspiration from; we can use it as a frame of reference, to portray heritage, or we can play and experiment to delight audiences. We can continue to use it to unify, connect and encourage positivity.

Daryl P
Creative Director


Zileej in Istanbul

Two of our Zileej brands, 5Pillars and Salam Sisters, were invited to be showcased at Kids Turkey – a toy fair in Istanbul by Spielwarenmesse.

Our Zileej team were excited about sharing our Salam Sisters dolls for the first time. The dolls were received with overwhelming positivity, interest, and support. The question of “when and where can I buy them?” was often repeated – to which we can say they will be available soon!

If you’d like to be part of the Salam Sisters community and receive exclusive updates, sign up here.

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We also shared the expanded range of 5Pillars games, which now includes Seerah, Fun Box, and Trivia Burst editions in Turkish, Arabic, French, Malay, and English (with more in development). 

One of the highlights was bringing out the 5Pillars boardgame and seeing how much fun everyone had playing it for the first time. The reactions of grown men and women having fun, laughing, and getting competitive over their Islamic knowledge was rewarding to be part of.

It was an honour to share the results of our ideas with those at the fair, and it motivated us to continue working on realising our vision of creating products that inspire connection to faith through play. 

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Indonesia, we've got great news!

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Kita punya info seru untuk teman-teman kita di Indonesia! Alhamdulillah, kita mendapatkan dukungan dari Republika untuk membuat dan menjual produk yang sudah lama ditunggu - 5Pillars ! Buat yang belum pernah dengar, 5Pillars adalah papan permainan yang terinspirasi dari 5 Pilar Islam. Tujuannya untuk menguji pengetahuan pemainnya tentang islam dan juga untuk mendapatkan pelajaran baru di dalam suasana menyenangkan bersama teman dan keluarga. Insyaallah, produk ini dapat memberikan pandangan bagi umat Muslim untuk lebih memperdalam keyakinan mereka akan Islam.

Exciting news for our friends in Indonesia! We're happy to announce that our 5Pillars games have been endorsed by Republika - an Indonesian publishing company. We have seen the boardgame in action in Jakarta with a small group of friends, and it was lots of fun! And now, with the help of Republika, we look forward to sharing our new boardgames, fun box, and trivia burst series with everyone else in Indonesia. 

Our vision with 5Pillars is to help inspire Muslims reconnect with Islamic knowledge through fun — and friendly competition — with family and friends.
 


A Brighter Future By Design

Zileej acquires internationally recognised design firm, Gould.Sydney

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Zileej, a Dubai-based inspired innovation company, announced the acquisition of Australian award-winning design studio, Gould.Sydney. This expansion allows Zileej to help build and launch innovation-led brands, products, and experiences for clients that share the vision of enabling a bright shared future for everyone, including Muslims.

Uniquely guided by Islamic Design Thinking, Zileej identifies innovative ideas and brings them to life by creative design, a strong product development team, and capability to create and launch original brands and experiences. Zileej is able to help clients stay ahead in a changing economic landscape that continues to experience disruptions through new technologies and trends.

The founder and director of Gould.Sydney, Peter Gould, is a co-founder of Zileej, “bringing our two companies together in a formal capacity was a natural transition.” For the past 15 years Gould.Sydney has a developed a strong international reputation for strategic branding and creative design. Working with companies from Etihad Airlines and Thomson Reuters, to successful startups in the Islamic Economy such as Hijup, and many government programs including the Sultanate of Oman.  

“We are excited to welcome Peter’s pioneering design team as an integral part of our company,” shared Ansarullah Ridwan Mohammed, CEO of Zileej, “so we can continue working together to create brands and experiences that enrich our global communities.” The expanded Zileej team now consists of 15 staff with diverse professional and cultural backgrounds, across 5 regions including MENA, ASEAN and Europe.

To learn more about the acquisition, Zileej's services, or for interview enquiries, please contact Subhi Bora at subhi@zileej.com 

Click here to read Salaam Gateway / Thomson Reuters' coverage on the acquisition.


Inspiring Creative Muslim Entrepreneurs

In her insightful book, Generation M: Young Muslims Changing The World, Shelina Janmohamed quotes me in the closing pages:

“We need to dream big, be bold, and spark the imagination of millions of young Muslims around the world. We must shift our mindset from reactionary projects and pessimism to raise a generation of creative thinkers and innovators solving the many, many problems we have. It’s ambitious, but I believe we have the technology, energy and drive to make it happen, inshaAllah.”

I’ve spent time with many of the founders driving this wave of entrepreneurship, innovation & creativity and feel like we’re about to hit another positive inflection point. And yet, it’s just the start of a much bigger journey. We have to think positively and optimistically about our shared future.

My hope for Zileej is to help set new standards in imaginative, fun, creative products and brands for Muslims, that will inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs. It’s a truly exciting space to be a part of.

by Peter Gould, Chief Creative Officer, Zileej


Faith-Inspired Creativity & Innovation

An important part of my personal journey towards Islam was discovering how spirituality inspires creativity.

Muslims have an incredibly beautiful artistic heritage and creative legacy. At the heart of Islamic creative expression there is a deep sense of sincerity, humility and authenticity.

If we are to honour this tradition, modern Muslim-centric creative brands must be developed with ihsaan (spiritual excellence) and intentions much deeper than ‘market opportunity’.

As individuals, families and communities, we are ready for a new wave of brands, products and creative experiences that directly reflect our aspirations and hopes for a more inclusive world.  

Zileej serves this global community with balance and purpose. Zileej lives at the intersection of design, innovation, creativity and Islam. I am deeply honoured to be a part of this ongoing journey.  

by Peter Gould, Chief Creative Officer, Zileej


Zileej team at Spielwarenmesse, Nuremberg

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Attending the Spielwarenmesse fair in Nuremberg was a great opportunity to check out the current toy trends and technologies.

Among the brilliant products, we noticed one large gap — toys & games designed with young Muslim children in mind. This confirmed to us that our dedication to developing fun experiences for the Muslim community is a unique offering. 

We hope our approach will add to the growing diversity of the toy industry and inspire generations of young Muslims through positivity & play. 

We look forward to attending again in 2018!


The Zileej Journey

When holding a great product in my hand, I have a deep sense of appreciation for the amount of thought, planning and detail that went into taking it from an idea to the shelf.

I admire the teams who build great products, and observe the loyal followers who help companies become much-loved brands.

Growing up, I wondered why most Islamic products were not as appealing, exciting and innovative as all of the other products competing for our attention.

I always had a dream of making a positive impact on the Muslim world. I wanted to find a way through which I can influence Muslims across the globe and inspire them, both the young and old, to strengthen their understanding and love for Islam starting first with myself.

Zileej is my opportunity to make this happen. I dream that it will become the global lifestyle brand that Muslims have been waiting for, inshAllah.

by Ansarullah Ridwan Mohammed, CEO, Zileej