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The 2017 thoughts archive

Rebranding the National Gallery of Ireland

This month sees the unveiling of our rebrand of the National Gallery of Ireland, the home of the national collection of European and Irish fine art. 

A major refurbishment of the gallery’s historic wings and a new presentation of its permanent collections will reopen on 15th June 2017, and the gallery took this opportunity to refresh the brand strategy and identity to engage new audiences. 

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Through an insight phase with key stakeholders, staff and gallery visitors, we discovered how all audiences felt an affection for the collection and developed the identity based on the brand idea “Where Ireland embraces art”, reflecting the gallery's ongoing commitment to enriching the lives of its visitors through art.

The new visual identity features a bold, distinctive graphic symbol inspired by the gallery’s initial letterform ‘N’ and incorporates a stencil typeface inspired by engravings from its iconic building.

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The simple but iconic marque is a useful brand device to communicate the breadth and diversity of National Gallery of Ireland, allowing the juxtaposition of words and images to really communicate the gallery’s offer, now and in the future.

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Senior Designer Victoria Pinnington says “It was really important to us that the new brand identity reflects the values of the gallery, as well as feeling like it belongs with the space and the artworks. The new branding hopes to enhance visitor experiences onsite and online, to both inspire existing audiences and attract new audiences.”

The National Gallery of Ireland's new brand will begin rolling out across all communication touch points onsite at the gallery, and online following a redesign of the gallery’s website by True North and Reading Room.

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Royal Mail Ancient Britain stamps released

Working with illustrator Rebecca Strickson we have created the latest Royal Mail Special Stamp issue. 

The eight stamps feature some of the most inspiring objects and atmospheric sites of British prehistory.

The stamps explore how people lived in prehistoric times and depict famous iconic sites as well as some of the most exceptional artefacts from around the UK.

The images present a timeline of prehistory, from a glimpse of ancient ritual of 11,000 years ago, to the Iron Age of around 300 BC. They indicate a huge degree of organisation in ambitious building projects, and sophistication in exquisite metal working.

Each stamp shows the contrast between how the site or artefact looks today and how it might have originally been used, through the addition of Rebecca’s linework illustrations layered over photography to tell individual stories. 

We worked with historians and experts at the British Museum, English Heritage, Historic Scotland, the National Trust and Ulster Museum, carrying out in-depth research into each artefact and site, to discover how they might have been originally used. 

Senior designer Sarah Dutton explains ‘Some of the subject matter was from way back in history so it wasn’t always clear how the sites and artefacts were originally used. Researching this with experts was a really interesting process and invaluable to helping us convey their use as accurately as possible. The challenge was in finding a creative solution that would apply to both sites and artefacts, showing the level of detail needed to tell their stories on two completely different scales’.

Illustrator Rebecca Strickson says ‘I really enjoyed the creation of the illustrations, particularly for Drumbest Horns, Star Carr Headdress, the Battersea shield, and the magnificent Mold Cape. The latter two, I went to see at The British Museum in the flesh to really get a feel of how they were used and worn. The workmanship on them both is truly staggering. These incredible artefacts, earthworks and places we treasure today deserve to be appreciated as the amazing feats they are.'

The Ancient Britain Special issue is released on 17 January and is available from post offices and the Royal Mail website.

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