Updates, Workshops

Beirut, A Case of Rejuvenation - Workshop


Still continuing with our Beirut Design Week events, we gathered on Thursday for a City Branding Workshop, in order to figure out solutions to make Beirut a more livable city.

Soon after Blue Hat’s offices started filling up in the morning, Blue Hat’s co-founders Judy Maàmari and Sami Hmaidan gave a small word and introduced our Partner from Istanbul, Elif Taş. The participants, along with Blue Hat’s team, were then asked to introduce themselves, state two or three of their lovemarks, then state a city they love.

WhatsApp Image 2018-06-29 at 12.57.25.jpeg

The participants were then asked to jot down some ideas while enjoying breakfast. Two blank posters titled “In my dream city there is…” and “What are my expectations from today’s workshop?” were stuck on the wall where participants were asked to add their ideas on sticky notes.

WhatsApp Image 2018-06-29 at 12.57.26 (1).jpeg

Soon after, all participants took a seat to listen to Taş explain the workshop’s aim and introduce warm-up exercises. Taş, Hmaidan, and Maàmari first handed out papers on which participants had to link cities with famous festivals or events, as well as their respective slogans.


When this exercise was done, the co-founders handed out papers with questions about Beirut based on the ‘round robin’ naming exercise. Each paper had one question, totalling in 15 questions. Participants were asked to write down a quick answer, taking no longer than 30 seconds, then pass the paper to the person to their left to write another answer.


After warming up, all participant joined forces to rank the city based on the international scales of The Saffron City Brand Barometer, divided into two categories: asset strength and buzz strength. These categories had subcategories in them like ‘cuisine & restaurants’, ‘good weather’, ‘ease of getting around on foot or by public transport’, and ‘media recognition’. Each was rated over 10, and their averages were rendered over 10 in order to place Beirut on two axes.


This exercise helped participants pinpoint the problems the city suffers from in order to decide on which one to focus on solving for the rest of the workshop.


Participants were then divided into three groups which made sure to incorporate as many of the various fields present as possible: a designer, a researcher, a copywriter…

Each group was handed a map of Greater Beirut in order to perform a zoning method called the ‘love/hate map’ and were asked to point out the streets or areas they love and/or hate using colored round stickers.


Some groups even decided to mention why they love or hate those areas by adding icons to the round stickers like a car for traffic and trees for green spaces.


Afterwards, they were introduced to the concept of personas and brand archetypes, in order to build their own persona with needs that require solutions. They were also introduced to Wally Olins’ Brand Tangibility Model, found in his book ‘The Brand Handbook’. They had to figure out a core idea behind the plan that solves the problem they chose to focus on.




Group 1 decided to focus on Beirut’s historical attractions, especially on the seaside. They aimed to create a reconciliation after the Civil War as well as reintroduce the tramway. They chose the "EGG-shaped building" as a town hall for Beirut city that hosts events, get-togethers, and is a space for citizens to discuss the city's issues. They also focused on providing public spaces such as the corniche, with separated zones for Shisha smokers, public gym, and sports / promenade areas.


Group 2 - BEIRUT: YOUR BRIDGE (بيروت جسرك)

Group 2 focused on zoning, adding attractive zones to the city’s intersections using installations shaped as bridges. bridges, as well as focusing on the ‘good shopping’ subcategory from the Saffron’s Barometer. Their concept revolved around empowering Beirut's neighborhoods through high-streets that include facilities and shopping destinations for convenience and specialty / artisanal stores. 



Group 3 focused on improving the ‘ease of getting around on foot or by public transport’ through revamping the already existing busses, introducing proper bus stops, and a carpooling app for those who don’t wish to ride in busses.

The workshop was concluded with an evaluation of the different outcomes based on 3 criteria: desirability, feasibility and creativity. 

WhatsApp Image 2018-06-29 at 12.57.32 (1).jpeg

For more updates


Designing Livable Cities - Talk

On Tuesday, June 26, Blue Hat hosted a Design Thinking talk as part of the sixth edition of Beirut Design Week. The talk, titled ‘Designing Livable Cities,’ brought together five speakers from four organizations and groups, working in different fields.

The talk's aim was to answer the question "What are we missing in Beirut?"


After an introduction by Blue Hat’s Co-founders, Judy Maàmari and Sami Hmaidan, the first speaker was introduced. Nadida Raad, of The Chain Effect, took the stage first.

The Chain Effect

83% of Greater Beirut trips are made by privately owned cars.
— Nadida Raad

In her presentation, Raad introduced us to examples of what her group has worked on and mirrored them with what other countries are doing. The Chain Effect have recently installed a bicycle parking rack on Abdelaziz street in Hamra, in collaboration with the AUB Neighborhood Initiative, for Beirut Design Week. The installation is car-shaped to show people how much valuable street space one car takes. One car can house up to 12 bicycles.

The Chain Effect are also famous for their murals and graffiti that promote using bicycles instead of cars, among other public art installations.



Up next came Lana Chukri and Jubran Elias, the co-founders of Dihzahyners.

In their presentation, Chukri and Elias spoke about how Dihzahyners came to life as well as the projects they’ve worked on all over the country. Their main work is integrating geometric shapes onto old, decaying big staircases of the city, to give them an uplift. Before painting, they study the area very well to see what design fits it best and tells its story.

Following Dihzahyners was Georges Bitar, president and co-founder of LiveLoveLebanon who was here to talk about the organization’s newest initiative: LiveLoveRecycle.



The recycling phone application was launched two months ago after the founders of LiveLoveLebanon received many tags in photos from the trash crisis filling our streets. The people using the hashtag on such photos aimed to show that it’s hard to love Lebanon in such state, using sarcasm. The application offers every household pick-ups of four small bags per month for free.



We were joined last by Omar Kabbani, one of the twin brothers behind the Ashekman initiative. Ashekman integrate their designs, representative of Beirut’s identity, in three different forms of art: their graffiti, their clothing line, as well as their rap. Kabbani stressed that in all these fields, their work is entirely in Arabic.

Kabbani stated that they were born in the 80s, and spent a big chunk of their childhood in shelters, so everything they knew of Beirut was the war-torn ghost of a city. He concluded his presentation with a video of the work they’ve done in Jabal Mehssen and Beb el Tebbeneh. They painted the Arabic word for ‘peace’ (salam) in green on 85 rooftops of the war-torn area, with the help of 80 locals.

The event was concluded with a short panel discussion where people from the audience had the chance to ask the speakers, as well as Blue Hat’s co-founders, some questions about the initiatives they had been working on in hopes to make the city a nicer place to live in.


Blue Hat will be hosting another event in line-up with Beirut Design Week on Thursday, at our head office in Downtown Beirut. The event will be an all-day workshop on ‘City Branding’ titled ‘Beirut, A Case of Rejuvenation.’


For more updates,

Coffee Shops: Standing Out In A Crowded City Through Customer Journeys

In today’s modern and fast lifestyle we often find ourselves needing to be in three places at once. When there’s traffic, coffee shops become our saviors in providing a place to meet up, when our internet goes out or when we need a place to chill on a Sunday afternoon, there’s always freshly brewed coffee to make us feel at home. So how come these coffee shops became so essential to our daily lives? Why does each individual have a different coffee brand they call their favorite? And what attracts these people to those stores?

A key piece of learning I will always remember from my final year studying marketing at university is that “a brand does three things: identifies, differentiates and commands a price premium, whilst also capturing the consumer’s head and heart”.  When we say this we ultimately mean that a brand has to attain a sustainable competitive advantage in order to survive today’s increasingly competitive marketplace.

What is a customer journey?

The customer journey or customer experience is the entire interaction between the customer and the brand; so every single touchpoint (store, service, packaging etc) the individual has with the brand. The customer experience should match the individual’s expectations and is important because it:

  1. Improves customer satisfaction

  2. Fosters repeat customers and customer loyalty

  3. Increases customer advocacy and referrals

  4. Reduces customer churn

  5. Creates a competitive advantage

  6. Increases revenue and sales

  7. Builds stronger customer relationships

(Beard, 2014)

Notice how these above 7 points fit in perfectly with the aforementioned university learning, we can see how the customer journey plays a pivotal role in a brand's success. 


The Starbucks Experience

So how can a brand stand out in a busy city, especially in a saturated market such as the coffee shop industry? Well this is where the customer journey fits in and most likely for many of the 7 billion people on this planet one word comes to mind: Starbucks. In every city whether it be London, Dubai or New York, Starbucks is a hub of creativity or is regarded as the ‘city’s living room’.

We’re going to take the customer on a journey

- Howard Schultz, Starbucks Exec Chairman

For example, my sister is a pretty well travelled person having lived between Europe, Russia, Jordan and now Bermuda, her advice to me when living in a foreign country has always been: if feeling homesick, stressed or generally a bit down… always find yourself a Starbucks and go sit in it for a while. Why? “Well Starbucks is awesome as they are the same everywhere but with a local twist, you feel comforted, it makes you feel at home”.  

Starbucks are the epitome of the brand customer journey. Obviously firstly known for their high quality speciality coffee, they have gone on to create a multi-dimensional intimacy with their customers. They capture a shared romance in their vision and bring it to life (Conlon, 2015). When a customer walks into a Starbucks they are immersed in other people in the cafe, the atmosphere (the aesthetics, plants, furniture, lighting, colors, textures, smells, sounds, and food) and of course the customer service which they receive. Therefore, Starbucks branding could be classed into the following:

Starbucks = Product + Service + Atmosphere

Here is a map to highlight the different Starbucks touchpoints and how a customer interacts with the brand:


The DRAFT Experience

So where does Blue Hat fit into Starbucks and the customer journey? Well firstly we’ll forget all about Starbucks and replace it with one of our beloved clients DRAFT. DRAFT is a local Saudi brand developed by Saudi designer Wadha Al Rashid, which focuses on Interior Design, a Concept Store, and the recently launched DRAFT Cafe. Wadha came to Blue Hat seeking support in connecting with the DRAFT audience and turning her brand into a lovemark.

Draft Logo - LR 2-1.jpg

How do we make a local coffee shop stand out from the crowd

and turn it into a creative hub in Riyadh?


Blue Hat developed a design led strategy to help connect with the DRAFT audience and establish an emotional customer journey whereby the DRAFT customer interacts with different touchpoints of the brand.

Our strategy covered the following:

  • Establishing the brand as the destination to find inspiration

  • Establishing the DRAFT tone of voice and themes

  • Identifying target audience and analyzing how to engage with different touch points

  • Identifying and harnessing trends (live video and short stories, relationship marketing, storytelling)

  • Creating unique online content

  • Designing online customer service and active community management

Screen Shot 2017-10-02 at 10.52.43.png

It must be noted that brand touchpoints are not just limited to a cafe. The consumer now interacts with a brand online through social media and so DRAFT needed to harness this tool in order to extend their customer service channel. Blue Hat therefore built a strong Instagram presence for DRAFT by:

  • Revolving its use of storytelling around “With DRAFT, you’ll always be inspired”

  • Sharing unique, inspiring, and lovable content - establishing the brand as quirky, friendly, urban and approachable

  • Making use of professional photography and quality images

  • Using the human aspect within all Instagram stories


View for example, previous DRAFT Instagram posts:

DRAFT’s strategy was positioned according to our research outcomes: high quality, a niche reputation, and tailored service, resulting in the establishment of an emotional customer connection. 


DRAFT Identifies: brand persona/concept can be easily identified by consumers
DRAFT Differentiates: Unique and emotional customer journey
DRAFT Commands Price Premium
DRAFT Captures the head and heart


Given that coffee is a vital world commodity meaning that there are thousands of different coffee brands and shops around the world, the brands that want to survive need to attain their sustainable competitive advantage. A sustainable competitive advantage is a brand’s asset, attribute or ability that is not easily duplicated or replicated by its competitors. As we can see in the above two examples a customer journey is the key to identify, differentiate, and command a price premium whilst capturing the head and heart. Therefore, by adopting a customer journey certain brands will be able to survive in the competitive coffee industry.


Check out DRAFT's Instagram https://www.instagram.com/draftthoughts/

Our DRAFT portfolio http://www.blue-hat.com/draft/ 

... And of course stay tuned for the DRAFT website launch!



Further Reading


How Urban Design Can Drive Social Change

Over the past 2 years, I have been lucky enough to live in 3 different countries: Spain, Scotland and now Lebanon.  One of the things that sparked my obsession with Beirut was the number of murals on many of the walls.  My phone space is now glad to be filled 90% with random painted walls (see below images), all of which I find so beautiful.  My home town Glasgow could well be Mars in comparison to Beirut, but they do share one thing in common: using the walls as canvasses in an innovative approach to urban design.  

A glimpse of Beirut through my (very old) phone camera lens. 

Once known as ‘graffiti’, ‘street art’ is now revolutionizing urban design.  The walls of any city - from Glasgow to Beirut - can be classed as blank canvasses for creative expression and are being used as mechanisms to harness societal change.  Municipalities, group initiatives and entrepreneurs have used street art to reinvent cities and inspire locals; the following examples demonstrate how they have done so.


Since 2008 Glasgow City Council has embraced street art in promoting its city center.  The current economic situation left many buildings vacant, and so the council employed local artists and volunteers to paint an eclectic range of murals to brighten up the city.  This reduced negative visual impact, showcased artistic talent and attracted more visitors to the city.  Not only do the paintings add joy to regular Glaswegians’ lives, but develop business and tourism within the city.  

This mural depicts St Mungo, Glasgow's historic patron saint, in modern day clothes. The story goes that as a young boy he saved a bird that was being attacked by stones from a gang of youths, and brought it back to life.   Source:  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/europe/united-kingdom/galleries/glasgow-s-new-street-art-trail-brightens-up-the-city/glasgow4/

This mural depicts St Mungo, Glasgow's historic patron saint, in modern day clothes. The story goes that as a young boy he saved a bird that was being attacked by stones from a gang of youths, and brought it back to life. 

Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/europe/united-kingdom/galleries/glasgow-s-new-street-art-trail-brightens-up-the-city/glasgow4/


Small initiatives can also contribute to local happiness and well-being within a city via the use of a paint brush or spray can.  Created by 3 friends in 2014, The Chain Effect aims to promote cycling in Beirut and “transform urban landscapes and social frameworks with a bicycle”.  Through street art and community projects, the organisation tries to change the perception of mobility within the city.  Beirut is not considered cycle friendly and riding a bike is solely viewed as a sport or leisure activity (and not as a means of transport).  

Members of The Chain Effect next to one of their 2016 murals in Beirut which reads "Traffic.. parking.. expenses.. ride a bicycle instead please!". Each painting is eye catching and encouraging with words that rhyme in Lebanese Arabic.   Source:  https://www.theguardian.com/cities/gallery/2017/jun/15/beirut-bike-street-art-chain-effect-in-pictures

Members of The Chain Effect next to one of their 2016 murals in Beirut which reads "Traffic.. parking.. expenses.. ride a bicycle instead please!". Each painting is eye catching and encouraging with words that rhyme in Lebanese Arabic. 

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/gallery/2017/jun/15/beirut-bike-street-art-chain-effect-in-pictures

The group involves everyone, works with local communities and invites the young and old to join in the painting. Their aim is to promote sustainability, increase well-being and transform societal norms through a cheap, fast and practical means of transport. Designing bright, quirky and eye catching murals exposes the population to the cause and so increases social and environmental consciousness within the area.

The group involves everyone throughout local communities. They usually paint the murals in areas with built up congestion in order to promote this different way of life within the city.   Source:  https://www.theguardian.com/cities/gallery/2017/jun/15/beirut-bike-street-art-chain-effect-in-pictures   

The group involves everyone throughout local communities. They usually paint the murals in areas with built up congestion in order to promote this different way of life within the city. 

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/gallery/2017/jun/15/beirut-bike-street-art-chain-effect-in-pictures  

Design can further contribute to changing the reputation of certain areas within cities and elevate the level of happiness within those areas by doing so.  One of Beirut’s poorest neighborhoods Ouzai is being transformed with the help of former resident Ayad Nasser through ‘Project Ouzville’.  The businessman has so far donated over $100,000 transforming the ‘seaside slum’ with color and murals conveying messages of ‘peace, unity and hope’.  The town became highly known for crime, badly neglected and in need of revitalization and so Nasser decided to give back to his former community.  The project became contagious with locals, and international artists even flew in to take part in the drawing and painting.  Locals not only started dreaming of a better future but believing it, and so the project is now aiming to expand beyond the walls to further unite Lebanese communities.   

Through the citizen driven initiative Ouzai has been transformed into a 'colorful landmark' exemplifying how Lebanon should truly be. Everyone is encouraged to join in and give back to their country, helping bring back life to neglected areas.   Source:  https://ayadnasser.wordpress.com/

Through the citizen driven initiative Ouzai has been transformed into a 'colorful landmark' exemplifying how Lebanon should truly be. Everyone is encouraged to join in and give back to their country, helping bring back life to neglected areas. 

Source: https://ayadnasser.wordpress.com/

Famous Lebanese graphic designer duo Ashekman painted this Grendizer mural in May 2017 - one of the many examples of the beautiful pieces of art work now throughout Ouzai.   Source:  https://ginosblog.com/ouzville-ashekmans-new-mural-in-the-heart-of-ouzai-253019641967   

Famous Lebanese graphic designer duo Ashekman painted this Grendizer mural in May 2017 - one of the many examples of the beautiful pieces of art work now throughout Ouzai. 

Source: https://ginosblog.com/ouzville-ashekmans-new-mural-in-the-heart-of-ouzai-253019641967  

If we think outside the box or even onto the box’s walls, we can see how powerful a ‘non-status-quo’ approach to design is. Urban street art helps foster innovation in cities. It is constantly pushing the boundaries by portraying art in public, outside of museums and galleries. In many cities around the world, urban street art is being recognized for its rich history in both the culture and economics of cities, as well as its benefits to the urban environment in terms of its contribution to innovation.

For more must see places, inspiration and design around Beirut, check out our previous blog post: 




Glasgow City Council: https://www.glasgow.gov.uk/citycentremurals

The Chain Effect: https://www.facebook.com/TheChainEffect/

Al Jazeera: http://www.aljazeera.com/video/news/2017/07/lebanon-street-art-beirut-slum-transformed-murals-170707101757994.html

Further Reading

4 Trends Shaping the Beauty Salons Industry in 2017!


Do you have a beauty salon and you are facing some difficulties in making women happy?

There is no black and white in the beauty industry because there are many changing variables from one area to another and staying where you are is not really recommended. The beauty industry is not an easy one to manage because it is an evolving industry that changes everyday. The only thing that you can control in this industry is to ALWAYS stay updated and follow the latest trends shaping the future of your industry.

1- In-store Beauty Events

Invite customers to come and meet an expert from the salon who will help them find their beauty needs to have a nice and attractive new look. This trend will help women understand their needs and the process better. Tutorials are very trendy this year since every woman wants to follow the steps to look flawless. If you don’t like to do makeup tutorials, you can provide aftercare sessions for your skin, lashes, hair after dying. Always direct customers for after service (maintaining the service)  as  it should be a part of their routine. You can also host events, workshops to teach small tips for daily usage- beauty brunches,etc…

Source: https://onqmakeup.files.wordpress.com

Source: https://onqmakeup.files.wordpress.com

2- Spa-Salon Fusion (Salon):

Nowadays, salons are not simply dealing with just with hair and nails. Instead, they are becoming spa-salon hybrids, known as the Salon. Their services range from skincare to hair root treatments and scalp massages. Instead of traveling from store to store, clients can get all of their beauty needs completed in one establishment. Specializing on an overall health and wellness, salons offer many unique treatments not found in typical salons or spa's.

Source: http://www.thefashionglobe.com/

Source: http://www.thefashionglobe.com/

3- Personalization & Customization of the beauty experience:

Customized beauty products and services are reshaping the beauty industry this year. Every Woman loves to feel unique and special. That is why women are always interested in customized products and services. Customized Packages offering specific services and products that are tailor-made for each of you customer’s needs  are highly recommended.



4- Rise in blow out bars:

The Blowout Bar craze isn't just related to big bustling cities like New York and London. Also smaller cities have seen a rise in these stations or salons with the most blowouts averaging $15-20. Women now feel that they can finally pay an affordable price to have a beautiful a fast boost of confidence and beautiful hair on the go.

Source: http://www.thedailybeast.com/

Source: http://www.thedailybeast.com/