Abu Dhabi’s Branding Strategy

Logo & Brand review

You have no idea how badly I’d like to go to Abu Dhabi. With its rich history, its honored traditions and its enchanting people, Abu Dhabi has always been one of my most favored future travel destinations. It just seems like such an extraordinary and magical place. Every picture that I have ever seen of Abu Dhabi has blown my mind. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to see its extravagant beauty with my own eyes. I can’t even imagine what it would feel like to step out of a plane and embark on an incredible journey through its majestic landscape.

Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates and its massive oil fortune, has a devised plan. They are well aware that the very oil that they sit atop of will not last forever and that with issues such as climate change and sustainability now taking center stage, they need to figure out how to maintain their riches in a post-oil economy. They have been working with Re (the internal brand consultancy agency of the Sydney branch of M&C Saatchi) to create a new brand strategy for Abu Dhabi that will hopefully stimulate its tourism industry and bring 'Cultural Seekers' in search of new experiences to their remarkable land.

As part of their new brand strategy, Abu Dhabi has released the new logo design pictured below. The logo design is based on the shape of a sail from one of their celebrated Dhow sailing vessels. It combines a traditional Arabic script with a custom roman typeface designed in that same vein.

Their promise reads “Traveler’s welcome”. New York-based photographer William Hüber’s photos beautifully compliment the logo design and Abu Dhabi’s entire branding strategy. Aimed at worldly luxury travelers seeking unique, authentic and off the beaten track experiences, this entire branding campaign was designed with Abu Dhabi’s unique cultural identity in mind.

A soft colour palette was chosen for their branding campaign that was “derived from [Abu Dhabi’s] unique environment and Bedouin heritage.”


I love Abu Dhabi’s new brand identity. I think that their logo design is simple, representative and refreshing. I love William Hüber’s photographs and I think that they help to bring together the entire branding campaign. I also like the custom roman typeface that the designers created to match the traditional Arabic typeface. Some people might argue that it would have been better if they had used a contrasting Western typeface; if they had, for example, contrasted the beautiful Arabic typeface with let's say, a classic modern typeface like Helvetica. I think that this would have been wrong. Personally, I find that a lot of design these days, in its attempt to be clean and modern, is actually quite repetitive, boring and unimaginative. I like that the agency tried something different here, perhaps unconventional, and executed it beautifully. If they had simply used another western typeface, I think that the campaign would have looked plain and not something different, exciting or exotic. Abu Dhabi is selling an experience and I think that this is a fantastic branding campaign. Great job!

Click here for more information and for a link to all the photos included in this post.

Let me know what you think.

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