What is Laqam?

Laqam is a typographical project by visual artist Jean Claude Vancell.

A Laqam is a family nickname that runs in Maltese tradition — these names were used to identify individuals when a registry system was not as reliable as it is today, so a name and surname would not be enough to specify a particular person.

Many types of Laqam exist. They vary form individual ones, such as those that describe what a person does (Il-Perit, Il-Prinċipal) or others which describe a physical defect (L-Imnieħru, Il-Maħmuġ), and family nicknames which describe the provenance of one’s relations (such as Tal-Flieles or Tal-Qaddis).

The best way to know what your laqam is, is to ask the oldest person in your family!

About the artist

Jean Claude Vancell is a visual artist from Malta. A graphic designer by profession, he has a passion for typography, photography, editorial design and branding.

Born and raised in Żebbuġ, he grew up overhearing his parents and grandparents refer to people using their Maltese nicknames, laqam.. A lover of all things Maltese, he integrated his love for art with a dying piece of culture in an effort to save it.

When not holding a brush or clicking away on Indesign and Illustrator, Jean Claude is a singer-songwriter, photographer and videographer.

Jean Claude holds a Masters in Graphic Design from the University of Hertfordshire (UK) and a BA in Communication Studies and Theatre Studies from the University of Malta.

Don’t call them prints…

We don’t call them prints, because they are not.

Every laqam is hand-painted on 350gsm woven art paper, finished in a shimmer of your choice, then varnished. Every laqam is individually stamped and numbered, then framed. The painting processes require drying and curing time between coats — that is why it takes 15 days to deliver your order.

It’s a very messy, yet beautiful, process… so believe us… they are not prints…