Top 10 Old Shop Signs in Amman

10 December 2015

By: Hussein Alazaat - Thank you for this awesome contribution to BeAmman!

Unfortunately, many of Amman’s good old shop signs have been removed and lost.
I would like to share with you my selection for the best existing signs, based on my personal taste. 
These signs are listed in random order.

Hope you enjoy them:
 

10. Chinese Shoe Gallery, Downtown, Quraish St.

 

By unknown sign painter, most probably he was Elia Kayyal. What I liked here is the piccadilly shoes logo on the right side!
 

9. George Studio, Jabal Amman, Mutran St.

 

A great example of contemporary typography for Arabic and English names. The studio owner is a very nice guy as well.
The sign it was made by Tarkhan, an Iranian origin sign painter who lived and worked in Amman.


8. Ashoury Shoes, Downtown, Basman St.

 

A very old sign in Basman street, the maker is unknown, but he used a nice design to lay the sign items out.
The wood material is very aged, with nice extruded shoes on both sides.
 

7. Sami Barbershop, Jabal Lwaibdeh, Paris Sq.

 

An amazing sign done by Niocla Sabanekh, a famous Ammani sign painter. He was born in Jaffa and learned a lot of sign making techniques during his work with British mandate offices in Jordan and Palestine.
In this sign Sabanekh used a very advanced design touch, which was the matchmaking between Arabic and English names, the strange shape of letter A is something we don’t see a lot, and geometric slanted Arabic letters gives the sign a very modern identity, this fits the cultural spirit of Lwaibdeh.


6. Bahlawan Company, Downtown, Souq El Sukkar

 

This sign is a beautiful, hand painted oil colors on wooden surface, it was made by the Syrian origin sign painter Yassin Jookhi, Jookhi used a very rare Kufic style to write the shop name, he call this style: Qudsi Kufi.
 

5. National Exhibition, Downtown, Reda St.

 

One of the oldest shop signs in Amman. Which is evident from the 3 digit phone number!
What is great about it is the weird slanted English name to the left, while it should be slanted to the right as it’s acknowledged in the Latin typography basics.
 

4. Rafidain Bank, Downtown, King Faisal St.

 

Lovely old sign for this Iraqi bank in Amman, you can see the beautiful finish on the letters production, also the very clever integration of letter R in steel works on the windows.
 

3. Salon Vert, Downtown, Prince Mohamamd St.

 

This one also not signed as well, but it was a brave decision to use this in-lighted letters directly on the building facade.
 

2. Ali Abu Kalam, Downtown, Souq Mango

 

I've been in love with this sign since I was a young kid. It reminds me with the old shop signs in Damascus and Cairo, because of the wooden chiseled letters that we don’t see very often in Amman.
 

1. Debbas, Downtown, Prince Mohamamd St.

 

I love this sign a lot, it has been a prominent landmark of Amman to me. I’ve taken many friends and guests just to see it in person. 
The colors, the layout, the effects, the bilinguality.. All of these points make this sign one of the best in Amman.

Of course it was made by Elia Kayyal, the famous sign painter from Nablus.. You can see his two signatures in the bottom corners.
Kayyal left many great signs over Amman shops, but unfortunately all of them have been removed and lost except this one and other 3 or 4 signs.

 

What is required from us as an Ammani citizens:

- Do what is possible to save those beautiful signs, they are part of the city character and a survived witness for Amman’s history.

- We should convince the shop owners to take care of their signs, by telling them how important they are.

- A retouching process should take place to maintain the signs.

- There should be an efforts from the Amman municipality to protect those art pieces.
 

Hussein is also one of the founders of this brilliant initiative - Wajha: http://www.beamman.com/on-the-street/people-/1021-wajha-design-jordan

Follow Hussein on Instagram: @Hussein_alazaat

Follow Hussein's blog: http://alazaat.wordpress.com