Colors Speak is a Graphic Design research exploration that seeks to both decode and give a name to the colors of the Abaya. It is an open conversation on color. What do the Abaya colors mean? A woman’s choice of color when wearing an Abaya communicates a wide range of oftentimes emotional meanings: from playful freedom to traditional respect.
The Abaya is an ancient garment that goes back thousands of years. The main purpose of the Abaya today is for a woman to protect herself from both unwanted attention and also for religious and cultural respect. While the black Abaya has been worn in Muslim countries for many generations, recently more and more colors have been introduced which some people are still not familiar with or even comfortable with.
Using data collected from surveys and questionnaires from people in both the university and the general public, Colors Speak culminates in a regionally specific collection of newly named color swatches for the Abaya. This project rebrands color while highlighting and celebrating the growing range of the available Abaya. The goal of this research is to decode and identify the emotional meaning of the Abaya wearer in public. The Abaya Color Swatches give meaning and serve as a guide to understanding Qatari women and the daily choices we face in public.