Al-Bayt, (Arabic for “the house” or “home”), is a logo I designed for an Arab Cultural Center that was slated to open in Washington DC as an educational and cross-cultural hub between the Arab world and the US. Arabic letters connect from left to right when forming words and, to me, this made Arabic script some of the more versatile and fun to play around with when creating brands and logos. At first, I took a literal approach to the word, designing a logo that was shaped like a domed home with the Arabic “AL” letters forming a minaret. However, we found that was too close in semblance to a mosque; while that is a common image and token from the region, it did not quite accurately represent the wider pan-Arab voice and message the center wished to convey.
Changing directions, I looked at the bigger picture of what Al-Bayt as a cultural center would represent and provide attendees. Discerning that the center looked largely to take the audience on a metaphorical journey into the Arab world; ‘crossing oceans” and divides between the East and West; I looked at the traditional sailing vessels from the region and referenced the shape and journey of a traditional Dhow sailboat. Without being too literal, I elongated and stretched the cursive form, making the body more fluid referencing ocean waves and slightly mimicking the shape of a bellowing mast with the first two Arabic “AL” letters of the logo.