Qatar revives and revisits iconic identity by Tarek Atrissi Design

The Qatar National Tourism Council commissioned Tarek Atrissi Design to revive and revisit the iconic design of the country’s national identity, designed more than 15 years ago. In 2004, Tarek Atrissi Design studio developed a logo for the nation of Qatar that won various international awards and that stood out at the time for being an elegant Arabic typographic approach that brought to the Arabian gulf region a new sense of graphic minimalism in visual identities, particularly in nation branding.


The initial typographic logo was replaced with a totally different identity around 2010, and yet another one in 2014. Today, in 2021, the government of Qatar decided to revive the iconic original logo, and commissioned Tarek Atrissi Design to lift the design of the original brand: updating the typographic wordmark accordingly and building new brand identity guidelines to carry the brand identity usage moving forward in promotion of the country of Qatar as a destination.

The revival of the logo maintained the core concept of the initial typographic wordmark, yet the design was completely recreated: making the logo bolder and more present; updating and customizing its overall typography and lettering; enhancing the quality of the curves; refining its colors and addressing other issues that proved to be problematic during its usage in its first life.



The logo lifting was a result of a long design process that explored various design directions, including developing new possible calligraphic icons, ranging from traditional calligraphy to contemporary lettering; as well as exploring old sketches and new sketches done for this project in two different periods of time.



The logo is carefully crafted in two versions, one for use on a white background, and another version designed for use inverted on a colored background: having the lettering and typography slightly lighter in stroke to appear visually equal in weight both in positive / negatives versions. The Latin typography was custom designed to have the same contrast as the Arabic but lighter so that the Arabic stands out more. The sharp details in both scripts was matched to unify all letterforms.



The new Qatar logo is a revival of the classic wordmark of the country: an elegant innovative Arabic lettering style of the word Qatar, carefully blending traditional elements with a contemporary interpretation, and becoming the graphic signature of the country. The beauty of the logo is in its simplicity: it does not literally illustrate any particular element. The logo’s abstract forms open many possibilities for the viewer to see, while retaining the essential Arabic flavor that is modernly and elegantly expressed. The Arabic lettering becomes an abstract form that people see it in endless angles and explanations. Some see in it three giant leaps, while others see in the horizontal free form waves of the sea or even dunes of the desert. The middle part of the calligraphy echoes the free-flowing shapes of a sailing dhow. The main deep blue color used in the identity is inspired by the colors of the sea in Qatar. The other two colors used are the national color used in the flag, as well as a vivid orange color inspired by Qatari nature, particularly the sunrise in the desert.



The graphic language of the visual identity is simple, minimalist and elegant. The preliminary graphic material used during the first period of the identity language focuses on the destination full bleed photography, stamped with the logo as a signature over one of the identity colors used as an overlay with 60% opacity over the photos. The majority of the photography focused on the natural beauty of Qatar, its architectural heritage, and various faces of the people of the country. A library of graphic patterns, inspired by the typographic details of the logo, was defined to be part of the graphic kit used in the visual identity.



The new defined brand architecture defines a main logo for the country used to promote it as a destination. In addition, a corporate logo is defined to be used by the National Tourism Council managing the promotion of Qatar as a destination. Initially, the new brand and identity were supposed to be launched in March 2020 in Germany at the ITB Berlin, the world’s leading travel trade show. After the cancelation of the event  due to the pandemic, the introduction of the new brand elements started to be introduced gradually as of the summer of 2021.


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