Now it’s all grown up, at 39 years of age, the UAE has decided to adopt a brand. Next month you could leave your permanent mark on the nation by taking part in a design contest that will pick one logo to represent the emirates worldwide. UAE nationals and residents are invited to submit a design and, with the backing of the government and their marketing team, the winning logo could become one of the most recognised emblems in the world. Think Canada’s maple leaf, Ireland’s clover or even the ‘I♥NY’ emblem, all of which are instantly identifiable.
The UAE’s brand will create a visual identity that sums up the nation, to be used in ad campaigns and events. While there is already a national crest, the plan is for this new logo to be more fun and less like a political symbol.
‘The new ‘nation brand’ is completely different from the UAE emblem,’ explains Saeed Al Eter from the Government Communication Office. ‘The falcon and UAE flag are the emblems for official use by the government, whereas the nation brand can be used in all promotional efforts of the UAE internally and externally, whether in commercial goods, tourism or events.’
The best part about the competition is that you don’t have to be Banksy, Esher or William Morris to enter. No matter what your design experience, you can give it a stab. The judges will accept entries from everyone, regardless of race, age, gender or ability, and are urging people to express what the UAE means to them by sketching it and submitting it. ‘It’s a way to showcase creative skills, coupled with passion and love for the country,’ says Al Eter. ‘The nation brand will depict the country’s spirit, values and characteristics, as well as the culture of its people.’
One of the hardest things about creating this logo will be pinning down what the UAE represents. As a young country it’s still defining itself, and entrants may play a part in that definition. While there is an obvious fascination with shopping, architecture, fast cars and gold, it’s also a deeply multicultural landscape, with more foreigners than nationals. The UAE is progressive, and has become a modern gateway to the rest of the world. As a holiday destination, our constant sunshine and sandy beaches are a big pull, as are the natural, awe-inspiring desert vistas. Perhaps falcons and camels could even play a part in the nation’s logo. And if all that has fuelled your creative juices, put pen to paper and get drawing.
Read the entry criteria and submit your logo at www.uaepm.ae/nationbrand/en/NationBrandContest.aspx. The closing date is December 30.
Successful logos throughout history
Need inspiration? Think about these world-famous emblems…
This simple tick, possibly the most recognisable sporting logo ever, was designed in the ’70s by a student at Portland University in the US. Carolyn Davidson received US$35 (Dhs128) for her work, which she billed at $2 an hour. Later, former chairman Phillip Knight gave her a ‘swoosh’-engraved diamond ring and shares in the company.
The famous golden arches date back to the early ’60s and were designed by Jim Schindler. The logo was adopted 10 years after the chain opened, inspired by the curved arches on the side of the McDonald’s building.
Designed by CEO Steve Jobs, the logo is based on Sir Isaac Newton, who came up with the theory of gravity when he observed a falling apple. The bite mark was added in the mid-’70s by graphic designer Rob Janoff, who supposedly based his idea on computer bod Alan Turing, who committed suicide by biting an apple laced with cyanide.
Baron Pierre de Coubertin created the rings in 1914 to symbolise the five populated continents of the world. The six colours (including the white background) represent all the colours of the national flags at that time. They are linked to signify a nice bit of healthy competition.
It’s the one the western world sees every day, and is now so strong that the company manipulates it to celebrate big events. The current logo was developed by Ruth Kedar, but the original was created in
the ’90s using a free graphics programme called GIMP, by Google co-founder Sergey Brin.
The peace symbol was concocted in 1958 by designer Gerald Holtom. Later, white clay badges were made by Eric Austin with the symbol painted on the front; the accompanying note explained that they would survive a nuclear blast. They are now collectors’ pieces.