The Old City of Jerusalem

‭‬In a utopian vision‭, ‬the old city of Jerusalem is not divided‭; ‬it exists equally for all of its inhabitants‭. ‬To visualize this‭, ‬I created a single calligraphic mark‭, ‬which can be read as the initial of the city in English‭, ‬Arabic‭, ‬and Hebrew‭, ‬depending on orientation‭. ‬In the same‭ ‬spirit‭, ‬the booklet for the UNESCO site is trilingual and reads both left-to-right and right-to-left‭, ‬based on the appropriate language‭.

Dear Jerusalem‭,‬

What would you be like in a state of unity‭? ‬This is the question I had in mind as I designed the identity for your eternally beating heart‭, ‬the Old City‭. ‬Most people think you’re forever doomed and apocalyptic‭. ‬But in my vision‭, ‬I saw you undivided‭. ‬You exist equally‭, ‬for all of your inhabitants‭.‬
But my vision is far from reality‭, ‬and you are still a war zone — ever charged‭, ‬and ever tense‭. ‬My design is a utopia‭, ‬while you are near dystopia‭. ‬I’m sure not if beautiful visuals could fix you‭, ‬no matter how thoughtful‭. ‬I merely offer hope‭, ‬wishes‭, ‬and design‭. ‬And I know it‭'‬s not enough‭. ‬I only ask that you know my intentions‭, ‬and that maybe someone‭, ‬somewhere would make use of them‭.‬

Until we meet some day‭,‬

In this land, even letterheads can be real estate problems. Can the city have one letterhead that serves all its linguistic needs? Perhaps, with some reorientation, everyone could fit.

But the bigger question is: Who goes where? Because both Hebrew and Arabic are both written right-to-left, only one can be alongside the English, while the other has to go on the opposite side. In our reality today, it is the Arabic-speaking side that is excluded. This small gesture and the chosen text displayed (the Balfour Declaration) serve as subtle reminders of the current unjust reality of displacement and misrepresentation in the city today.