The Drop, a popular shape
The famous logo of “Al-Jazeera” is calligraphic design. In Arabic, “al-Jazeera” means “the island” as a reference to the peninsula shape of Qatar. The logo was selected by Hamad bin Khalifa, the emir of Qatar, as the winning entry in a design competition. The Al Jazeera logo was not designed by a professional graphic designer or marketing firm. It was designed by a calligrapher.
The logo represents the shape of a drop of water which is considered in the Islamic world as the most precious invention of God after humanity. In Persian dictionary, the first word is “ab” which mean water and “abadan” for “civilized”. Water is a vital element, the symbol of life.
For calligraphers, the drop shape is also a gift. In figurative calligraphy, it is important to find a natural match between the shape of letters and the lines of the figure. Most words in Arabic start with the particle “Al” (ال) which corresponds grammatically to the definite article. It literally translate as “the”. For example, kitaab (كتاب) means book and al kitaab (الكتاب) means “the book”.
As you can notice, these 2 letters are vertical and are on the right side as Arabic language writes from right to left. The right side of the shape of a water drop is delimited by a semi-vertical line which can easily be outlined by a Alif and a Lam.
The rest of the word can fill the drop’s shape with a certain freedom. In the Arabic calligraphy, the ending is relatively free which makes it easy to close the shape. The graphical options for the middle of the word which will fill the inner part of the drop are numerous.
Drop shape is very popular in Arabic or Islamic culture because of the high value of Water
drop shape is very popular among calligrapher because of its simple shape that matches geometrically a lot of words.