Lead Designers: David Torpey, Robin Fuller, Rachel Broaders
Account Director: Amy Herron
Project Manager: Eimear Boushel-Payne
Web Developer: Fusio
Typeface: Bobby Tannam & David Torpey
Our National Parks are places of wonder, beauty and heritage but for many years the Parks had been operating as disparate entities. In 2019 the development of a cohesive National Parks brand was recognised by the Irish Government as a necessary and strategic move. We embarked on the project, collaborating with the National Parks & Wildlife Services over the last few years, in order to position the brand as a recognisable entity across the island of Ireland – and even globally.
It was clear from the outset that the design solution needed to be grounded in a strategic proposition that would unify each of the Parks, taking into account the various nuances around tourism and ecological concerns, and equally align with each of the Park’s distinct landscapes and offers. It was not just about positioning the Parks as go-to destinations but rather empowering the Parks to own their important status as places of heritage, conservation and education. The proposition ‘Where Nature Speaks’ was devised and was accompanied by a set of brand values that communicate the openness and accessibility of the parks, while being underpinned by respect and care.
We then went on to create a design system for all Parks to operate collectively or individually – from custom typography to bespoke emblems and illustrations, to website design and signage, all the while conveying the unique heritage and Irishness of the Parks.
The logo-mark is derived from Ireland’s oldest form of writing – Ogham – influenced by the character for ‘Yew Tree’ or ‘Most Ancient Tree’ but its iconic shape also references local Irish flora and fauna. The shape-shifting nature of this identity mimics the layered ecosystem found in our historic parks.
The mark is complemented by a set of park-specific illustrations (The Burren: mountain avens wildflower; Connemara: the raven; Glenveagh: the red-throated diver; Killarney: red deer, Wicklow: peregrine falcon and Wild Nephin: Golden Plover) that evoke a distant time, with photography that invites the viewer to imagine themselves returning to that state of nature.
We also collaborated on a bespoke typeface ‘Náisiúnta’ that provides a familiar and trusted voice that helps visitors on their journey, whether print or online, through to the signage that guides the visitor through the park. Our typeface takes cues from the calligraphy of the Insular Manuscript tradition, the founder of which, Colm Cille, resided in what is now Glenveagh National Park and so typography, history and landscape are deeply connected.
The design system is supported by a comprehensive and user-friendly set of brand guidelines outlining tone of voice, colour palettes, illustration and photography, sub-brand hierarchy and various other touchpoints.
A brochure site has brought a new lease of life to the brand digitally and prospective Park visitors have everything they need to know at their fingertips in a user-friendly and visually appealing National Parks interface.
A contemporary wayfinding system and guidelines have also been devised for the brand. It is multi-functional and modular, and prioritises a sustainable approach to design and manufacturing. It is in keeping with the Parks’ natural environments and adheres to best practices in national and international wayfinding. The designs will appeal to locals and tourists alike – conveying a sense of Irish heritage through typeface, icon style and palette, with a look and feel that is evocative of contemporary Ireland.