A phone call from an unexpected source set into action an extraordinary, life-changing experience for a group of NYU Abu Dhabi students.
The students are the primary force behind the new logo and creative rebrand of Emirates Nature-WWF — the UAE branch of the World Wide Fund for Nature, which unveiled its new look last month. The story of the award-winning logo, however, begins more than two years earlier at a campus tour for the UAE’s Minister of State.
How it Came to Life
“His Excellency Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh visited NYU Abu Dhabi in spring 2016,” recalls NYU Abu Dhabi Assistant Professor of Practice of Visual Arts Goffredo Puccetti. “During his visit, he came across a student’s art capstone project, Ramadan Recipes, in the Project Space, and was so impressed that he enquired about the student’s mentor, as well as the University’s design program.” The capstone was by Mariko Kuroda, who’s now graduated, and Puccetti was her mentor.
Days later, Puccetti received a call from Emirates Nature-WWF, formerly Emirates Wildlife Society, seeking his expertise in leading the organization’s creative rebrand, a recommendation that came from HE Al Sayegh following his campus tour.
“I told them that I would be honored to assist. However, instead of designing the organization’s logo myself, I suggested to turn this project into a semester-long exercise for my class on branding under the name Yes, Logo.”
The Rebrand Journey
The class was set up like a design agency, with 11 students working collaboratively on the new logo design, which had to capture a unique mark comprised of elements that reflect the UAE’s natural heritage: the fragile roots of the mangroves, the depth of the rocky wadis, and the country’s azure waters.
The group delivered four creative proposals to Emirates Nature-WWF, one of which was chosen and unveiled to the public in September: The Wadi Imprint by NYU Abu Dhabi students.
Moment of Pride
Emirates Nature-WWF’s new visual identity features a distinctive thumbprint brand mark that encapsulates the heritage of the UAE and the organization’s connection to the nation, its people, the environment, and prominent sustainability issues.