From Chemical Engineer to Freelance Designer

Alaa & Danah at Work - Co-founders of The Yard

Alaa & Danah at Work - Co-founders of The Yard

People with Passion


Who I Interviewed: Danah S Behbehani

PASSION: Design (graphics, fashion, interior)

CITY: Kuwait City


I am inspired by people who want to make a difference in the world! I also get my inspiration from beauty in general. Whether it’s a beautiful view or a piece of work – a film, a building, a song...
Even when I watch a TV show, I feel like I’m constantly learning something new. There’s always an inspiring color combination, an interesting camera angle, or a beautiful soundtrack I’ve not heard before.
— Danah


I absolutely love the EF Live the Language Videos. The typography, music & editing is just beautiful! I’ve watched them all and I still do repeatedly!

The biggest and scariest change in my life was my move from being a chemical engineer with a stable and promised career to becoming a freelance graphic designer! It still scares me every once in while, but I know it’s the best move I’ve ever made.
— Danah


Danah's WORK environment

The Yard is a design house co-founded by my cousin, Alaa, and I in early 2010.

First started as a shop with a select number of eclectic, vintage, and up-cycled products (mainly jewelry and home-ware accessories) rooted with a recycling ethic with our unique recycled paper packaging. The product mix has grown since then to include customized home-ware designed by The Yard as well as handpicked local designer products. In 2013, we worked with a local Café (Q Café) and launched a collaborative space named “Q at The Yard” which features a Café within a shop - the first of its kind in the region.

Run by designers, The Yard also provides graphic design services, namely branding (concept, logo design, stationery and packaging) and customized stationery design.

The Yard Mini Film

We produced a mini video as a teaser for our salted caramel giveaway (which was our 1 year anniversary gift to our clients). We collaborated with a local chef to produce the salted caramel (with a chocolate layer) and designed the packaging ourselves.





I don’t think there’s a specific person who inspires me or at least it keeps changing. There is so much talent out there and inspiring individuals that I simply cannot name them all. Sometimes a random person’s fashion sense inspires me for a graphics project. Currently I am finding cinematography very inspiring (even though I’m not a cinematographer or work in film) and so I’d have to say that the past few months have been all about Woody Allen and Wes Anderson movies. Tomorrow it will be someone else.
— Danah
From the Set - 'Blue Jasmine' - via

From the Set - 'Blue Jasmine' - via

  • Woody Allen - an American actor, director, screenwriter, comedian, musician and playwright

  • Wes Anderson - is an American film director and screenwriter





  • “Q at The Yard” Cafe/Shop (Kuwait). Dedicated to simple food, made well. In 2013, we started working with a local Café (Q Café) and launched a collaborative space named “Q at The Yard” which features a Café within the shop - the first of its kind in the region.

  • Central Saint Martins (London). Every once in a while I get myself into an intensive short course in design. CSM offers a lot of these. It feels very nostalgic to walk into a college campus again. Its also very refreshing and inspiring to meet other designers from different backgrounds. I think it’s important to keep an open eye and never stop learning.
  • The Archive (Dubai) is a specialized library dedicated to Middle Eastern and North African Art Literature situated in a park and features a contemporary Café. Situated within Safa Park, The Archive is a hub for a wide range of events that promote an active cultural community with both educational and physical activities all in one place. Events include book launches, artists talks, outdoor film screenings, musical performances, workshops and physical activities.




  • AlAthar Cultural Center (Kuwait) They range from music to films, plays etc. It’s a great place to mingle with like-minded people, bump into old friends and enjoy whatever is playing/ on display.
  • Secret Cinema (London) is a monthly gathering of all that love challenging and groundbreaking cinema, screening mystery films in extraordinary locations. Its such an amazing experience! I tried the Grand Budapest Hotel (Im a huge fan of Wes Anderson movies) preview at Secret Cinema and it was one of the most memorable days! Everyone who worked there was in character the entire night. We were instructed to meet in an alley dressed in 1930s evening attire with a filled out guest card and pink flowers in hand – which added a frisson of anticipation, and anxiety. A “lobby boy” would then escort us from the alley to the “Hotel” (a fully decked out 1930s Eastern European interior with staff resembling characters in the film) where the Grand Budapest Hotel was screened. It was truly a magical experience!

  • Create your own TED Evening! I still find this link very inspiring & some of the topics make fantastic conversation starters! It makes you realize how little you may know about certain subjects and how much there is to learn! I find that very inspiring! Everyone should schedule a TED night!