Monday July 1, 2019 By: Alexandra Kinias
City emblems can be traced to twelfth-century Europe. During this time, coats of arms were also sewed on flags and moulded on the shields of kings and nobles. That’s how they identified their territories and recognized their enemies in the battle fields. The designs of these emblems always reflected something unique and significant about the territory and its owner or ruler. And thousands of years prior to that, different regions in ancient Egypt had their own identification presented by the crowns of their kings.
Over time city emblems evolved and the traditional coats of arms were replaced with modern graphics. Graphic designer Malak Mehrez believes that the identification system of the Egyptian governorates, (their logos or symbols) needs a makeover. She translated her belief in her graduation project. She redesigned the identification system of 15 Egyptian governorates.
Mehrez, who was already working as a freelance graphic designer while still in college, wanted to create a graduation project relevant to the country. “When it came to my graduation project, I was sure I want to do something related to the country I wanted to make a change,” she explained to Women of Egypt.
In her graduation project Mehrez wrote, “Nation and city branding is one of the most crucial elements in identifying the country. It makes the place distinguishable, creates a positive image in people’s perception and encourages people to belong to the country. In the case of Egypt, the nation’s identification system has changed a lot with the changing politics and the different eras that passed by the country; since the pharaonic era till today. However, Egypt’s governorates identification system did not cope with the changing environment of the country. Most of the governorates logos did not change since they were first created in 1960, during the nationalist period. The governorates logos lack the most important design principles, and do not meet the features of city logo.”
When asked, what was wrong with the current identification system of Egypt’s governorates, Mehrez said they are “un-unified, un-representable and outdated.” With the help of her supervisor Professor Dr. Nagla Samir, she redesigned 15 logos out of the 27 governorates. “My aim was to create a unified representable system that reflects the identity of each governorate and would make everyone proud of their city.”
Through extensive research, Mehrez identified each governorate’s core elements and thus designed for each a unique logo that represented its discern identity. She presented her project in an attractive bilingual manual that grabbed the attention of the viewers. In the manual, she explained the design choices, the reason behind the project, the importance of creating governorates logos and the reason behind the shape and the colors she used. Besides the manual there were also double sided flyers with the old and new logos to depict the comparison and the huge difference between both of them. “These flyers had a very important role as it was a way to test the people’s reaction towards the designs,” Mehrez concluded.
Graphic Designer Malak Mehrez, 23, graduated from the American University in Cairo in June 2018 with high honors in double major of Graphic Design and Integrated Marketing Communication.
Photos via Malak Mehrez
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