Abu Dhabi’s journey of development and excellence is visualized in a comprehensive brand identity, complete with a uniquely devised pattern and a collection of enhanced photographs that bring our vision to life.
Abu Dhabi enjoys a vibrant identity that offers a seamless blend of modern and traditional elements, reflected clearly in the Abu Dhabi Brand.
Zayed the First font was designed with the objective of creating a modern font that reflects the deep values and unique identity of Abu Dhabi.
The font was inspired by letters and documents persevered from the era of Sheikh Zayed Bin Khalifa, over 160 years ago, where writing was done professionally through “Al Karani” or “The Writer”. This inspiration was important to reflect the historic roots of Abu Dhabi, and support the Abu Dhabi brand with its cultural depth and authentic originality.
The Abu Dhabi Plan’s primary brand was inspired by the Abu Dhabi Brand’s iconic red sail. The usage of the classic calligraphy emphasizes Abu Dhabi’s pride in its culture and heritage, whilst the dhow, our historic fishing boat, reflects our passage through space and time as we recall the first development plan set forth in 1968. The dhow also takes us towards a remarkable future we strive to achieve through implementing the plan’s goals and programs.
Abu Dhabi’s brand identity includes a secondary pattern, for use across our print literature and environmental branding. This pattern was inspired by Al Sadu, the traditional form of weaving practiced by generations of Bedouin women.
Comprising a series of contemporary shapes and icons, each representing an element of the Abu Dhabi Plan, the secondary pattern is a modern variation of Al Sadu, which not only acknowledges Abu Dhabi’s proud history but looks to the Emirate’s bright future.
Our campaign celebrates the vision and ambition of the UAE’s Founding Father, the Late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan; blending historic and modern photographs to illustrate the remarkable progress made in Abu Dhabi during the last 50 years.
Working closely with representatives from the National Archives, we searched through thousands of historic photographs of Abu Dhabi to identify images that could help to illustrate aspects of the Abu Dhabi Plan. The shortlisted images were then carefully enhanced to ensure they could be reproduced at scale.
We then took a series of modern-day photographs - each taken from the exact perspective of the National Archive images – and blended them together to create a series of powerful visuals that underline the tremendous growth and development that has been overseen by the Government of Abu Dhabi.
Within 45 years, Al Ain Football Club’s pitch has been transformed from a simple, sandy plot of land, to a sophisticated 45,000sqm stadium seating more than 22,000 people.
Al Ain FC was founded in 1968 by a group of amateur players from Al Ain, Bahrain and Sudan, who learned the rules of the game by watching a group of British soldiers play football. Today, the club is recognized as the most successful football team in the UAE, playing their home matches at the magnificent Hazza bin Zayed Stadium, one of the most sophisticated sports venues in the Middle East.
In this visual, we blended a photo of Al Ain’s first football team – taken in 1970 – with an image of the stunning Hazza bin Zayed Stadium, to reflect the remarkable progress that has been overseen by the Government of Abu Dhabi over the last 50 years.
During the last 59 years, Abu Dhabi Police has grown from a small group of 80 police officers to a world-class police force comprising over 12,500 frontline staff.
Founded in 1957, Abu Dhabi Police was initially tasked with guarding the royal palaces and local markets and banks, while monitoring the activities of boats in Abu Dhabi’s waters. Today, Abu Dhabi Police is recognized as a modern, efficient and effective force, which protects the Emirate’s safety and stability.
In this visual, we blended a photo of one of Abu Dhabi’s very first police cars – taken in the 1970s - with an image of one of the numerous modern police stations that have been opened across the Emirate.
Abu Dhabi’s progress has been remarkable with a modern world-class city rising from humble beginnings with amazing speed. Abu Dhabi had always been a center for pearl diving and the small community was based on what is now the corniche. A thriving traditional souk where goods where brought and sold was at the heart of the community.
This image contrasts a traditional souk with a modern skyline that features the World-Trade center and the Central market, two modern day equivalents of those early souks.
In 1963 the 112 km pipeline was completed that connected the oil fields in the Al Dhafra Region with Jebel Dhanna. The first oil tanker was loaded on the 14th December and since then the UAE has become one of the world’s major oil exporters.
Despite being rich in hydrocarbon resources the leadership of Abu Dhabi decided it was important to diversify the energy mix to include renewables and nuclear so that the emirate would not be totally reliant on oil and gas.
This image blends a traditional oil pipeline being inspected by the late Sheikh Zayed and a view of Shams 1, the world’s largest concentrated solar power plant, which began generating enough renewable energy to power 20,000 UAE homes on January 17th, 2013.
Inaugurated in 1972, Mina Zayed Port was the gateway to Abu Dhabi’s economy and at its peak handled five million tons of cargo and 800,000 containers a year. Despite major investments and upgrades in cargo handling equipment over the years, eventually it became clear that Abu Dhabi needed a totally new state-of-the-art port.
Khalifa Ports advanced container terminal has been fully operational since September 2012 and Emirates Aluminium’s dedicated on-site berth since November 2010.
Khalifa Port is impressive by any definition. It is the only semi-automated container terminal in the region and features six of the world’s largest STS (ship-to-shore) cranes. Three more have already been ordered. The port currently handles 2.5 million containers and 12 million tons of cargo but has the capacity to expand over four more phases to handle 15 million containers and 35 million tons of cargo by 2030.
This visual blends an historic image of Mina Zayed Port from its early days when traditional dhows were unloaded by hand with a view of Khalifa Port’s impressive and modern facilities.
In the past harvesting fish was the traditional lifeblood of the community. As a result, Emiratis were intimately connected to the sea, only taking from it what they needed. The practice of splitting and drying small fish such as anchovies or sardines and of salting the larger specimens meant that these resources were available to the population inland. Some fishmeal was also used as camel fodder or as fertilizer.
There were many methods of fishing but in this image we see the fishermen hauling a gill net which would have been previously set by rowing out on the simple boat shown in the foreground. In the background we see the stunning skyline of the modern city showing how life has dramatically changed in the emirate since those early days.
The Bedouin of the Bani Yas tribe settled on the island of Abu Dhabi in 1761. At this time it was a haven for wildlife (Abu Dhabi literally means ‘Father of the Gazelle’), the town expanded rapidly, beside what is now the corniche and became home to about 1,000 families. Fishing and pearl diving were the main sources of income until in 1958 oil was discovered, and from this date the development of modern Abu Dhabi commenced and over the next few decades grew into the modern world-city we know today.
This visual shows the corniche from the 1960’s contrasted with a view of the stunning Emirates Palace and the Etihad Towers which have become established as iconic buildings in Abu Dhabi’s skyline.
Abu Dhabi Island is separated from the mainland by a shallow channel of water, which in the troublesome past was a strategic advantage, but as the emirate modernized became an obstruction to trade and transport. Only a few decades ago, the only way to go in and out of the city was to wait for hours for the low tide and simply walk or ride the camel across the wet sand. In 1967 the Maqta Bridge was completed and served as the main link to the mainland for many years.
On the 28th November 2010, the Sheikh Zayed bridge, designed by the late Zaha Hadid was opened. The bridge is said to be the most intricate bridge ever constructed. Its curved design arches evoking the undulating sand dunes of the desert. An innovative choice of engineering techniques and materials were applied during construction to ensure the long-term durability and sustainability of the structure providing protection against the extremely harsh conditions encountered in Abu Dhabi.
In this visual we have contrasted a camel train crossing at low tide in front of the Maqta Tower with the award winning Sheikh Zayed bridge. The bridge demonstrates the emirates commitment to using bold designs and new construction techniques ensuring Abu Dhabi status as a world city.
The discovery of fresh water on Abu Dhabi Island enabled early settlers to colonize Abu Dhabi Island. It was a harsh existence with few of the comforts we enjoy today. People lived in simple shelters with limited access to education and healthcare and life expectancy was short with most people only living into their late 50’s or early sixties.
This visual shows men drawing water from an well near the corniche while in the background we see a view of Al Maryah Island, home to the Abu Dhabi Global Market a new international finance center and the Cleveland Clinic one of the many superb hospitals that provide world-class healthcare to Abu Dhabi’s residents and visitors alike.