When the COVID pandemic hit Ireland in March 2020 we were commissioned by the Department of the Taoiseach to design public communications to address the wider social and business impact of COVID. Little did we appreciate at that time that we would end up creating communications that would document the ebb and flow of the pandemic over the following 22 months.
Our design approach built on the government identity system that we had developed in 2017. The identity quickly established itself as identifying a source of trusted information from government at a time of real uncertainty. We augmented the identity system with a suite of custom icons that addressed the specific themes of COVID. This combination of design elements assisted in streamlining and simplifying the communications while offering the reassurance of the government as a trusted source of evidence-based information.
A key intention for the work was to convey a sense of progress and momentum within what was an evolving and unpredictable situation. We used simplified plain-language content combined with specific sequences of colour to convey an underlying sense of structure and intent. These sequences of colour evolved throughout the pandemic as the emphasis moved from framing progress in terms of stages, through to levels of infection, and finally to progression of the vaccination programme.
The communications was recognised at several pivotal points within the pandemic as offering clarity and reassurance for the public, and playing a modest role in maintaining social cohesion in the face of real challenges. With nearly 50 separate press and online communication points designed over the course of the pandemic, this body of work tracks the pandemic’s evolution and our collective and evolving response to this unprecedented national and international event.