Headturning Irish Design
As this was year 3 of working on Showcase our aim was to continue with our central strategy while having some fun with the direction and making sure it continues to evolve. A focal point of this years event was a new initiative called textISLE - a collaboration between textile makers and fashion and product designers. The brief was to highlight this strand within the overall communications.
Reframing Irish design on an International stage
In recent times the Irish design sector has grown in confidence, showing it has much more to offer than the traditional crafts that are often associated with Ireland and the sector. Showcase is a creative expo and platform, presented by the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland, that has played a sizeable role in this growth, by championing the best of Irish craft, design, food and hospitality.
In 2015, we began working with Showcase on the long-term goal of establishing the expo as a must see event for international buyers — somewhere with the confidence to stand alongside design capitals such as Paris, Milan and London.
As with any future focussed project that has multiple touch-points and deliverables we began by establishing core pillars to ensure all work was cohesive year on year. This meant all stakeholders, team members, content development and design work stemmed from one informed place.
- Make Showcase a destination
- Reframe Irish design on world stage
- Authentic, but unexpected – Define authentic ‘best of Irish’
- Ensure experience is joined-up
Championing Dublin, championing Showcase
Dublin has a reputation for being a creative and friendly city. To build on our pillar of making Showcase a destination, we wanted to bring the rich heritage and culture of the city into our longer-term conversation. To do this we made a typographic system that made Dublin central to everything. We used this to bring the vibrancy of the city to life, creating informative content, surprising itineraries and helpful maps. We wanted to give international buyers even more reasons to visit Dublin for Showcase.
An authentic but unexpected identity
A big part of our strategy was reframing what Irish design meant on the world stage. To help address this, we created an identity that was true to Irish design in terms of materials, nature and craft, but also surprising and unexpected in how these elements were used. Our identity set out to showcase Irish design as being much more contemporary and diverse than people might expect.
Cohesive, striking and flexible content
We wanted to produce content for Showcase that could be used across all their owned digital and physical channels, and importantly, also as editorial content for international design publications and press. For this reason we moved away from using exhibitor supplied imagery and created a cohesive content package that highlighted a curated selection of designer’s work. Highlighting each of the main areas of Showcase, we took a brave, striking and modern approach to the art direction and photography — a surprising approach not usually associated with Irish craft and design. This content flexibly covered a diverse range of uses from promotional and editorial to product and category.
Curating the digital and physical worlds
To make things clear, easy to understand and navigate, we created a simple colour-based information architecture that joined-up all touch-points, from the website and brochures to the event graphics and way-finding system. Then to help create focus and clarity in such a busy and visually noisy environment, we translated our content concepts into curated product spaces, something to help differentiate exhibitors without drowning them out.