The Oxide team recently had the pleasure of working with Cultures East on the identity for their new endeavor. Based out of New York City, Cultures East provides progressive travel experiences to Southeast Asia with professional insight into the the art, architecture, and history of the region. These aren’t just run-of-the-mill package tours, they’re adventures led by an art historian and registered landscape architect.

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Artistic textures from southeast Asia. Photos by Cultures East

On the surface, building them a logo seemed like a very simple design problem, with so many brilliant references to draw from. But as we explored more deeply it became clear finding a great solution would not be easy. In short, there’s simply too many visual resources and too much aesthetic inspiration. Every detail of the art and architecture of Southeast Asia evokes new ideas and illuminates a new potential design path.

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Elephant riding in southeast Asia. Photo by Cultures East

Then, during a group collaboration, we found a metaphor that was perfect: a person riding on the back of an elephant. Not only is it literally an activity in which you can participate on these tours, but it also speaks towards an exotic and exciting journey, and a mode of travel unique to this area of the world. We determined we’d capture the essence of an elephant and a rider, and make the mark more appropriate by utilizing the artistic styles and colors of the Southeast Asian culture.

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Various script styles from southeast Asia

As Adam and I were exploring how to render an elephant in the various patterns and textures of Southeast Asian art, Joe found the perfect answer. He built an elephant and rider using elements from the various script languages of the region. With dozens of languages and variants in the area, there was plenty of source material to work with. The trickiest part of solving the problem became making sure the end product was an amalgam of all the scripts, rather than a specifically identifiable language, so it represented the entire region.

View the project page for Cultures East.