It started in 1993 as a small venture with a big purpose: to set up the first specialized design and communication practice in a region where anything close to that seemed to be absent. At the time, design was primarily practiced by advertising agencies, a few established commercial artists, an emerging generation of freelance designers, and even printing presses. The cultural and geographic significance of Beirut, along with the rapidly changing post-war context – which was both excitingly unpredictable and persistently hopeful – provided a promising place for such a venture to take hold. And so it did.

Mind the gap – a name that makes reference to the London Underground for its remarkable design legacy – was a bit of an oddity in its early context. Like many start-ups introducing something new, the kind of specialized services it offered took time to resonate and gain foothold; its team growth was slow and organic and moving offices was more like a handful of people moving flats. 

As erratic as they might have been, these formative years played a crucial role in solidifying the studio culture that we still live by today, one that is fueled by a keen curiosity about the design and communication practice and a common drive to develop and grow. 

Years (and four offices) later our team is more substantial, our methods more in place, our name more recognizable, and our reach more international. Meanwhile the local design culture itself has significantly flourished. We'd like to think that we contributed to its development, all the while retaining our collective desire to learn and play.

  • 1989 - Classmates Karl Bassil, Michel Dimmer and Pierre Huyghebaert meet at École de Recherche Graphique in Brussels and quickly become close friends and work buddies, collaborating on everything from freelance jobs to school projects, including a joint graduation research project: type foundry Hammerfonts.
  • 1992 - After graduation, Karl and Pierre start informally operating under the name Mind the gap. They work between Brussels and Beirut before settling in the latter, working from the offices of their first client, Naggiar. They are soon joined by partners Karen Chekerdjian, coming from the advertising industry, and Karine Bassil, a design student at the time.
  • 1994 - Pierre moves back to Brussels to found Speculoos design studio. Mind the gap is incorporated with the remaining three partners and moves to an apartment-turned-office in Furn el-Hayek, a residential neighborhood in Beirut, to accommodate the five-person outfit it had grown into.
  • 1996 - Karen moves to Milan to pursue a masters degree in product design and design direction, before returning to Beirut to set up Karen Chekerdjian Studio and later Store
  • 2000 - The agency, along with a couple of other businesses, take on the renovation of a rundown 1960s modernist building designed by Polish architect Karl Schayer, located in Nasra along the historic Green Line separating civil war Beirut. The now eight people at Mind the gap occupy the wide and open spaces of the ground floor.
  • 2002 - Nadim Zablit, coming from an interior architecture background, naturally becomes partner after having been increasingly involved in the agency for the past seven years.
  • 2004 - Karine ventures into the development of a product brand for kids, TipToy, and later her eponymous pâtisserie business.
  • 2011 - The agency, now a team of sixteen, moves to its current location in the old district of Saifi, central Beirut, renovating the unoccupied-since-civil-war three top floors of another 1960's modernist building, designed by architect Jacques Liger-Belair.
  • 2012 - Nadim sets up -scope Ateliers, a branding services and print management company, and, an online photo-book service.
  • 2015 - Mind the gap's long-overdue website is launched after two years of digging into the agency's archive and beginning an ongoing documentation process of work spanning more than twenty years.


Throughout the years, the agency has enjoyed many inclusions to its team, at different times and for varying periods. But no matter when they popped in or how long they stayed, every single one had their own way of contributing to what the agency is today. Here's to them:

Mohamad Abdouni – Merwad Abdullah – Fouad Abi Aad – Rania Abi Aad – Elsa Abi Aad – Carine Abi Habib – Marguerita Abi Hanna – Tara Abillama – Sami Abou Khalil – Ghofran Akil – Lynn Amhaz – Tania Arwachan – Chadia Attieh – Samiya Azar – Sylva Azar – Mireille Baaklini – Rewa Baassiri – Emmanuel Barrault – Nadine Bekdache – Kiki Bokassa – Alik Boubouchian – Karen Chekerdjian – Alain Choucair – Hania Daher – Rami Dalle – Rania Daouk – Nassab Dbaysi – Samar Deek – Marie-Ange Dib – Nathalie Dimas – Nabil Eddé – Bassem El Ahmar – Lynn El Hout – Omar El Mismar – Jamie Elias – Hicham Faraj – Ronaldo Fares – Ziad Fatté – Renée Freiha – Alain Gabriel – Nicole Ghorayeb – Nicole Ghosn – Hisham Ghuzlan – Christophe Gueur – Joanne Harik – Talah Hassounah – Rana Hatem – May Hilal – Chantal Husseini – Pierre Huyghebaert – Chami Indika – Dima Jarkas – Mayssa Jaroudi – Marwan Kaabour – Mira Kaddoura – Zeina Kammoun – Shirine Kazan – Raya Khalaf – Dina Khalifé – Josette Khalil – Mona Khaouli – Mariam Krisht – Dima Kronfol – Samer Ladkani – Zina Moufarrej – Samar Maakaron – Zeina Maasri – Reem Maghribi – Adeline Marteil – Fadi Merhe – Gisèle Mitri – Maya Moumne – Natashia Naaman – Tessa Naggiar – Liliane Nakad – Anna Ogden-Smith – Hiba Onsi – Yara Razzouk – Marianne Reboisson – Pierre Saad – Stéphanie Saad – Leen Sadder – Dana Salloum – Hamed Sinno – Christina Skaf – SwinJune Turk – Roubina Tutunjian – Samar Yanni – Nayla Yehya – Nadim Zablit – Karine Zablit - Philippe Hachem

We tried to be as exhaustive as possible in putting this list together. In case your name is not included, we assure you it's an oversight, not an omission. Please let us know.

MTG research room

A good think
The internal research room at our current Saifi offices

MTG work space

The workspace at our current Saifi offices

MTG kitchen 2

Ins and outs
A humble magnet collection from our travels, and a neat view, at our current Saifi offices

MTG kitchen

The lunchroom (and sometimes dinner room) at our current Saifi offices
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