The Identity of the Falcon in Kuwait Emblem

My friend Mohammed Sharaf did a mini study on his own about the identity of the falcon (الصقر في شعار الكويت). I first saw this picture he posted on Facebook

He explained that the falcon in the official Kuwait emblem on the Kuwaiti passport has spiked feather at the back of its head (the only document he came across with the falcon looking like this)… unlike other official documentations and identifications… which raised a question for what is the real and official emblem to be used – the one that should be unified on all documentations! Right?

 

Sharaf attended “Tasmeem Conference” in Doha, Qatar back in 2002, during which he participated in several workshops including one for Danish Graphic Designer called Bo Linnemann who designed many governmental logos in Denmark. Sharaf was fascinated since then, and while Kuwait celebrated its 50th Independence Day anniversary he was annoyed by the “visual” pollution! He started picking on things! Searching different books, magazines, Internet, and pictures for the “Identity of the Falcon”.

 Many flags were used through time to represent Kuwait. It took AlSabah Family 14 years to get the approval from Britain to have their own flag. As you can see, flags were mainly red. Many symbols were used too including; crescent, star, AlSabah Family Logo, the word Kuwait (كويت) in Arabic and English letters, and Islamic phrases (لا إله إلا الله محمد رسول الله). Emblem was made first with the use of crossing flags, developing to include a shield, a crown, a dhow, a falcon, and sea waves. In 1962 both the flag and emblem of Kuwait were designed to be easy as they are now. You can see that clearly the falcon is the main element in there. Mohammed Sharaf explained that it was hard for him to find official resources explaining the emblem…. even more interesting? Someone explained to him that this isn’t a falcon to begin with! It is a seagull!!! Shocking huh? But is it true???

 

What did Sharaf do when he was really out of resources to search? He contacted people from older generations! He later found out that the designer of the emblem, Mohammed Hosny Zaki – an engineer, passed away few years ago. Zaki came to Kuwait in the 1950s, and he was the first Art Director of AlArabi and AlKuwait Magazines. Sharaf took the step forward and contacted his colleague Salah Bessar, who tried to explain the emblem to him. The circle in the emblem design is used to describe continuity, the falcon is used to represent the power surrounding Kuwait, and the dhow represent part of the Kuwaiti tradition. While collecting data and pictures, Sharaf came across an interesting find

There are differences spotted in those emblems used differently on money notes, governmental websites, passports, and many more!!! Afterwards, Sharaf decided to create one unified emblem that is balanced based on geometrical shapes. He created it in a way that wont make it differ from the current one. He tried different typefaces and decided to go with “Nasekh” (نسخ) font for that it is used on many historical documents. For English, he used “Optima” to accompany the Arabic font

The elements of the emblem are the dhow, shield, flag, falcon, sea waves, and the sky! Using these same elements, Sharaf wanted to manipulated the emblem to represent different design logos for different governmental organizations. The shape must be kept but elements within can be changed. He explained that it did not go well because the logo went far from the original design and did not feel related to one another. With more work on that, he decided to keep the shape, keep the shield with the flag inside, and the falcon but change its features to go along with each ministry and include different elements to represent them as well, starting with the Ministry of Defense.

Creating the logo above, after studying many logos for different Ministries of Defense around the world – check the crown (power) and olive branch (goodwill). He added a riffle and anchor to represent army and navy. He worked on two more logos for other ministries in Kuwait in the same manner.

 

Sharaf created a system to create stationary for each ministry in addition to branding materials (websites, brochures, …etc). I really hope he can get somewhere with all of this work and research put together.

 

I loved the effort Mohammed Sharaf have put into this report and allowing me to share it on my blog with my readers! I hope you enjoyed this post 😉

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