Animation created by Jovan Cormac for Wikimedia Commons
Al Jazeera has one of the most recognizable logos in the world. The plucky network began broadcasting in 1996 and has survived US bombings of their bureaus in both Kabul and Baghdad. President George W. Bush even considered bombing Al Jazeera’s headquarters in Qatar, yet Al Jazeera has become a trusted provider of broadcast news worldwide.
The distinctive logo consists of a teardrop-shaped glyph with the words Al Jazeera below in Arabic or English. What non-Arabic speakers might not realize is that the glyph itself also spells out “the Island,” al Jazeera, in Arabic script. It was quickly designed by a Qatari man who entered it in a design contest he heard about on the radio, and it was selected by the Emir of Qatar.
By the way, the al in Al Jazeera is a definite article, which is the source of so many “al” words in Spanish (e.g., alcalde, albóndiga, almohada). Some of these Iberian Arabic words are now common in English and other European languages — almirante (admiral), albacora (albacore), alfalfa, alcohól, albaricoque (apricot), alcachofa (artichoke) algoritmo (algorithm).