Salem Al-Qassimi completed his undergraduate work at the American University of Sharjah where he received a degree in Multimedia Design. After graduation, Salem sought careers in the art and design world. He participated in various art exhibitions while simultaneously freelancing as a designer for several companies in the UAE and internationally. During that time, Salem further explored the fields of art and design by meticulously investigating and producing works in the mediums of print, motion, and interaction design.
In 2006, Salem founded Fikra, a design studio that provides services in print and time-based mediums, which specializes in bilingual typography—Arabic and English—and identity creation. Within a short period of time, Fikra gained its reputation as one of the leading Emirati graphic design studios.
In 2011, Salem graduated with an MFA in Graphic Design from the Rhode Island School of Design, during which he also served as a teaching assistant and instructor. His thesis was an investigation of the Arabish (Arabic and English) culture in the United Arab Emirates. “As a designer, I address this emerging Arabish culture from a personal & global perspective. Graphic design is a powerful method of research and communication. I use it as a means to comment on hybrid cultural elements—dress, language, and urban landscape. It is my vehicle, helping me and others better understand the UAE identity and its emerging Arabish culture.”
As well as being a designer, Salem is also a prominent artist in the UAE. His works are presented in the form of experimental films, animations, and photography and have been showcased in the UAE, Australia, South Korea, and the USA.
Salem is often invited as an external critic at both the American University of Sharjah and the American University in Dubai. He also teaches "The Design Profession"—a class offered in the spring semester at the American University of Sharjah.