By Henry Kyaw Zin Oo
Doh Eain is an initiative that focuses on heritage conservation and urban renewal in Myanmar. Its aim is very clear which is to revivify Yangon's rich historical and multi-cultural city center in a locally-owned, forward-looking and financially sustainable way. It also aims to create a Home Owner Fund through which a percentage of revenues from the renovated buildings is channeled into repair and preservation of common areas and other social projects for instance, roofs and facades and back alleys, and homes of people who cannot afford renovation. As a first project under this Fund, Doh Eain launched its Alley Garden project which plans to turn dirty and trashy back alleys of Yangon's buildings and houses into beautiful garden alleys with children's playgrounds, recycling units, and art drawn on the walls by children, artists and other volunteers. By running this project, it improves the unsightly looks of the back alleys as well as it showcases the talent of different members of neighborhoods. Doh Eain believes in improving not only the looks of the building facades and back alleys but also the lifestyle of the people of Myanmar.
A Yangon City upgraded in terms of attractiveness, safety, cleanliness and sustainability, and owned and enjoyed by the original residents who actively take part in developing the city's rich and diverse legacy.
Help Yangon's home owners, residents and local authorities see the socio-economic significance of historical, cultural and natural assets present in Yangon, and help them capitalize on these assets, thereby creating incentives for their future preservation.
To upgrade a minimum of 100 properties or spaces in a financially viable way within 5 years, thereby generating at least USD 1,000,000 for other urban renewal projects.
Working with NEX
Doh Eain was initially called Yangon Heritage Homes (YHH). They wanted to work together with NEX for rebranding and renaming of their project, so without any hesitation, we gladly accepted. There is no honor bigger than working with an initiative that wholeheartedly preserves the beauty and elements of Yangon’s heritage to let them shine through the entire city. Bringing these colonial beauties back to life takes a gargantuan effort and we all know that naming is super important because we need to make sure the name captures the hearts of the Burmese people as well as blossom deeper and greater love for the country and for its betterment.
The Thought Process
The thought process of naming for Doh Eain was rather a fun one for everyone involved at NEX. “How fun?” you may ask. For young, creative and energetic people, brainstorming session is always the times we look forward to because all sorts of ideas are splurted out and we get more creative coming up with ideas after ideas and with each moment passed. What’s more interesting is, we even searched for the names in ‘Pali’ – the language of Dhamma. Now that is really something, right?
While researching the names both in simple Burmese language and Pali, it made us learn many things that would be very useful and necessary for branding and brand identity. For instance, creating a rhythmic tagline for a product or a project and the meaning of that name. So, working on brand identity and name is like killing two birds with one stone. We learn where brands’ directions are and we gain more experience in coming up with recipes to cook interesting and original dishes of brand names and identity.
Well of course when it comes to brainstorming, there sure are some ideas that are left thrown in the bin. We cooked up too many ideas that the wok overflowed. Some of them, we feel, are best kept secret because they are just too creatively hilarious.
Some of you may wonder why some ideas were not used, so we will share them with you here and the ‘WHYs’ of them being discarded. Here we go:
Gehathit – it essentially means ‘A New Home’ or ‘A New Haven’ for the people. Homes are used to be called ‘Geha’ in the past, during the colonial era. ‘Geha’ represents an act of providing a safe haven for families and relatives.
So why was it discarded?
Well, while the sound of it in Burmese was pleasing to the ears, it did not really convey a good feeling for the home owners. It was actually more focused on the rental of the homes rather than showing the meaning of the purpose of the project therefore, this was not very ideal to use.
And other names? Well, there are a few more.
EainThit – it basically means the same thing as ‘Gehathit’ except it is in pure Burmese language and ‘Geha” is Pali language. As the name is very general, this does not bring much of a value to the colonial buildings as well as to Doh Eain’s purpose. So this was discarded as well.
YangonDecors – this is simply a name given with a simple meaning behind it. Yangon – a sense of belonging or rather, commitment to Yangon and with a sense of scalability at the same time. Decors – ornamentation of the interior with a sense of what the business will be doing. A classy yet illustrative name indeed.
Thaha Eain was a name that was also suggested. Thaha, by definition of Pali, means ‘Just/Fair’ while ‘Eain’ means ‘Home’. Sounds interesting, isn’t it? These are the names you could not even begin to imagine in your daily lives because it takes a real deep knowledge of what the word truly means. A thorough research has to be done.
So this is discarded too? Yes.
Whilst this name may sound interesting to everyone, it ripples more aura of Dhamma than to portray the elements of colonial buildings. We don’t want it to sound like we’re visiting a monastery or a temple now, do we?
Anymore? Sure there are!
YwatThit – it means ‘New Leaf’. The colonial buildings are, as we know, old and timeworn infrastructures. Therefore, it is time they are refurbished to keep up with time and very obviously, to show off what they are – the essence of a colonial building.
“So why was this discarded too?”, you may ask.
We are talking about buildings here. Not just an average building. We are talking about colonial buildings. These buildings were build 100 years back and they don’t just collapse easily till this day. So to compare them with a ‘Leaf’, it would not be very soothing to hear the sound of it, would it?
BawaThit – this essentially means ‘New Life’. Why? They were built in the 1800s which is almost like a past life to most of us – the 21st century hippies. So it would only make sense for them to be revamped and revived to stand out in this century because after all, ‘Old Is Gold’, isn’t it?
Reason for this being discarded?
Truth is, we wanted the names to be only associated with a sense of belonging and architecture. Also, we had to keep in mind the purpose of Doh Eain’s which is to recondition the buildings and to preserve the rich historical values and legacy of the colonial buildings.
The discarded names are not to be mocked at though because they were very meaningful and essence-filled in their own ways. However, we concluded on the one name which would incorporate the values Doh Eain wanted.
Now comes the best part and why we settled with the name Doh Eain.
After having a series of meetings amongst ourselves, cracking our brains and coming up with loads of names, we settled with ‘Doh Eain’. Why ‘Doh Eain’? In Burmese, ‘Doh’ means ‘Our’ while ‘Eain’ means ‘Home/House’. In this case, we chose ‘Home’ because home is where the heart is. Hence, the name ‘Doh Eain’ which is ‘Our Home’. This actually gives people of Myanmar a sense of belonging and makes them appreciate what is given or provide for them.
The logo ‘Doh Eain’ is simply crafted with a text using the font ‘Akzidenz-Grotesk BQ Condensed’ accompanied by a colonial building engirdled with the letter ‘O’ – Iconography. The slogan comes with the secondary font and different color which creatively supports the primary font.
Brand clarity is important thus it’s imperative that the right name is picked to go in line with ‘Doh Eain’ project. The icon shows a colonial building encircled with a ring around it which indicates that the colonial buildings are protected and preserved well. Even the slightest of details such as, the windows in the icon are carefully crafted to show the elements of colonial buildings.
Logos in Myanmar Version
‘Turquoise’ and ‘Peach’ are the primary colors used. ‘Turquoise’ ripples out the aura of colonial buildings while ‘Peach’ flashes the strength of the old colonial bricks. These two colors collectively forge emotional aspects of colonial buildings while giving an impressionistic form.
In conclusion, we are very proud to be working together with Doh Eain. To have such many kind people involved in this project, it is really heartwarming and it spreads happiness in everyone. Don’t you agree? We believe you do. We also believe Myanmar and her people will see the values Doh Eain is bringing to them so, let us all appreciate the work Doh Eain is doing and let’s keep our city clean and green!
Beautiful Myanmar, where immense polite culture and hospitality blossom.
Please visit Doh Eain on their website and Facebook page to find out more.