LONDON — Some of us at Able and How have been spending a lot of the last few months in the desert.
Words, geometry, functional items made incredibly beautiful… Islamic art had been an area of sizable ignorance to me.
And it made me rethink my views on ‘western’ concepts like branding. We like to take credit for branding. For wordmarks and beautifully crafted geometric patterns. But they’re not ours. The Basra Bowl is amazing and dates from the 9th century! (See image above.) Its beauty is based around a simple wordmark.
Geometric patterns like we see in many logos can probably all be traced back to the structure and simplicity of Islamic art.
I find that amazing.
It’s probably fair to say that Islamic artistic tradition is not particularly well understood in other places where Able and How typically works — the UK, North America, Europe, Australia, sub-Sahara Africa. But it has a lot to tell us.
It teaches us something about change. It shows how everything new can still have its origin in the old. It shows how things change and ideas can come full circle.