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Go-to app: Notion is awesome. The way I can personalize my lists to map my thinking and needs is a game changer. It’s tough at first, but when you get into it, you realize that you are making a virtual map of your thinking process.

Wonderful reading: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho and Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie. The writing and imagery are unforgettable.

Eye-opener: Coming to Wieden+Kennedy. Being part of an organization, especially one like Wieden+Kennedy, means we can truly put the work first and not just meet a monthly spreadsheet. We have a saying: “Walk in stupid.” It means: Don’t fall back on old habits and ideas. Don’t rely on what’s worked in the past. The minute you think you have things figured out is when you start making derivative work that the public filters out. When you are part of a small shop or by yourself, these are luxurious ideas—and risks—that don’t always pay the bills. Our ultimate goal is to make the best work of our lives, and with a large team behind you, it’s possible.

Useful tool: I have been splitting my time between Toronto, Canada, and Rotterdam, the Netherlands, so we’ve started using Slack. It’s been a great way to organize projects, and it has enabled me to easily review my designers’ work and correspond with them through audio, video and screen sharing.

Visual influences: In addition to the usual blogs and Instagram accounts of the designers I admire, like Studio Dumbar, Hey Studio and SWISSPOSTERS, I often look to the past. I have many design annuals from the ’60s and ’70s, which always spark something in me. I appreciate the care and thought that went into a lot of the minimal, Swiss-inspired work of that time; I aspire to create that bold, memorable work.

Recharge: If I’m feeling overwhelmed, I will take my dog for a walk. It’s the best way for me to clear my mind. An added bonus is that I’m often inspired by what I see on the street. However, I’ve walked into several people—and poles—while quickly sketching an idea that has popped into my head.

Mood booster: My studio is based in the heart of Milan, which is an art- and design-driven city. During our lunch breaks, my assistant, Elisa Stagnoli, and I make daily pilgrimages to the nearby stores and galleries and just browse aimlessly. This is a great stress reliever, and a creativity and mood booster.

Inspiration: The Modern Magazine: Visual Journalism in the Digital Era by Jeremy Leslie; Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday; and Massive Attack’s Mezzanine concert tour, which I saw last February.

Trendspotting: Being part of design juries. I found the judging for ADC and Cannes Lions to be particularly useful.

Visionaries: I admire Gucci’s creative director, Alessandro Michele, a full-blown visionary with his take on Gucci and all things visual. I also look at the work of Maria Grazia Chiuri, creative director for Dior. I like Prada head designer Miuccia Prada’s unique way of revisiting the past and reinterpreting it. I also find the Moncler Genius project to be inspiring.

Crucial conference: I’m keen on attending major design conferences, workshops, exhibitions, competitions and events around the world. I love the conference OFFF Barcelona!

Challenges: Cairo is very male driven. As a creative team leader, I’ve had difficulty managing young males because they couldn’t accept a female leader. If you’re an Arab, you’re automatically put in the “terrorist/danger” zone. Being an Arab woman is even worse! An Arab woman is raised with a million battles that she has to resolve before she can start believing in herself. There are dusty layers of gender inequality, peer pressure, and religious and race dilemmas. If she manages to shake what has been built up for years, only then can she break free and start battling the next monster.

Self-motivation: I want to create a visual revolution in Egypt—to expand graphic design education and increase awareness of its necessity. I hope that one day, I will be responsible for implementing the role of graphic design in education, health, politics and any fields where design can contribute to promoting, maximizing and reviving our country.

Artistic muse: French Tunisian artist eL Seed.

Splurge-worthy investment: Lunch! We always buy our team lunch and have a moment to connect, talk about the news and maybe even watch TV. It’s a nice break in the middle of the day that we can all enjoy together.

Creative fuel: Music keeps me going! Most of the music I listen to is disco and house music. One of my favorite artists right now is Lizzo. I love her new album, Cuz I Love You.

Valuable platforms: Instagram is great for our business. It is such an easy and effective way to connect with new audiences and potential designers and collaborators. Surprisingly, Behance helps attract new clients more frequently than I thought was even possible.

Underappreciated tool: Everyone uses Google Drive, but to me, it is free and has so much endless potential. It is the easiest way I’ve found to create clearer collaborative processes.

Must-read book: I am reading Michelle Obama’s memoir, Becoming, and it is such a wonderful read. I miss the grace and love this family portrayed.


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