Mind Over Matter

Did you know that creatives are 25% more likely to suffer from a mental health issue in their lifetime, or that now, 1 in 10 people in Ireland are affected by depression?

Creating a stronger design community means facing these issues, putting a spotlight on mental health and how we deal with it as colleagues and agency principals.

It is our responsibility as a community to support each other which is why we are proud to give our time for Mind Over Matter on November 2nd, a national day of design in aid of mental health. The day is dependent on the design community giving their time, and businesses engaging and paying a fee that is donated directly to Aware.

How it works
For a fee of €60 anyone from an established business to a start-up or an entrepreneur can book a consultation hour with a designer. The fee goes straight to Aware, while during the hour you will find innovative solutions and discover new opportunities, while raising money for a great cause in your region.

We are delighted that three of our team are volunteering their services on the day

Why talk to a designer?
Designers are natural problem solvers who make it their business to be on the pulse of international design practices and thinking. It’s their dedication to innovation and creativity that translates into added value for your business, whether that’s through branding, production, user experience or manufacturing.

By embracing design it has been proven time and time again to add value to your business in ways that can end up creating competitive advantage and improving your bottom line.

Two locations in Dublin and locations in Belfast, Cork, Limerick, Galway, Waterford, Tullamore, Dundalk and Kilkenny. Check out the Mind Over Matter website to find a venue close to you

51st&Green – A Fusion of Ireland and America

It’s been over a year in the making, but our role in the creation of the new executive lounge at Dublin Airport is complete. Not only is this lounge the only US Preclearance lounge in Europe, it is the first lounge on “US soil,” outside of America.  Working across concept, creative direction, naming, brand identity and passenger experience, this week marks the launch of the lounge, where all of these elements can be experienced together for the first time.

From an initial brief to delivery, the challenge was to convey and position a new lounge experience that captured the crossing of time zones and countries. With a clear understanding of the audience, we considered spaces for play, work, relaxation and to explore the fusion of Irish and American produce. A key focal point was the idea of a barista, to reinforce the quality of experience and to create a talking point for the lounge. MCA Architects led the delivery of the built environment, bringing to life the concept through references to time and the brand colour palette.

Menu covers and delph.

The name 51st&Green was inspired by the idea of an intersection; the fusion of the best of Ireland with the best of America. The 51st represents the creation of a new time zone – the 51st state of America and the Green is a proud reference towards Ireland and the new Dublin Airport brand. In addition, the construction of the name reflects a traditional American address, and this street sign concept is brought through in the style of the brand mark. This theme is continued across all key touch points to build the 51st&Green story.

This new lounge represents a place where Ireland and America connect; a place where people, time and cultures blend to create a truly unique lounge experience, and we are delighted to have played a leading role in bringing the vision to life.




Brand Neiuwe Conference 2016 | Amsterdam

A small team of us attended the Brand Neiuwe Conference in Amsterdam – a symposium on the latest thinking and direction of brand and brand identity. The two day event gathered together over 300 global leaders of branding to hear from the creators of case studies that have generated interest such as The Premier League, Spotify, Mozilla and Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra.

From seasoned professionals, who presented with confidence and gusto, to smaller agencies sharing projects for the first time. The subjects covered were varied and included topics such as, new processes for large and small-scale branding programmes and insights into managing the fallout when a brand is launched and subsequently blasted on social media.

Particular attention was given to the branding process. The importance of digging deeper to discover distinctive brand pillars and focusing on who you are doing this for – the audience. Consideration was also given to leading clients through creative work. Every case study was exemplary in standard, and the passion and insight from seasoned practitioners confirmed the reasons why we got into the industry in the first place – to be creative, to challenge, to have a point of view and to have fun.


Highlights included:

– “The Simplification of the Process” by Michael Johnson and his insight into connecting strategy with creativity

– Sagi Haviv and his sharing of a number of case studies and the pitfalls of these projects in a humorous and down to earth manner

– Brian Collins and his passion for design, his team and their projects

– DixonBaxi on being restless and always pushing forward

– Essen International for being the nicest guy presenting

– DesignStudio for the insight of the process and the championing of what we do

Thanks must be given to Armit and Bryony, of UnderConsideration, for putting the energy and time into the event and for creating a compelling conference that focuses on the process, projects and people.

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Why a strong brand matters in B2B markets

The idea of a company’s brand being a key motivator for customers and employees is much talked about in the B2C space, but this has often been overlooked or even dismissed in B2B circles in the past.  However, the landscape is changing, with more and more CEOs from B2B businesses of all sizes seeing the value in investing in their company’s brand and reaping the rewards as a result.

A recent study by Google revealed that most business buyers do not perceive enough meaningful difference between competing brands to be willing to pay a premium for one over the other1. How then, can B2B brands stand out among a sea of similar offerings, and what prompts today’s buyer to make a choice of one partner or provider over another? Your brand is the answer.

Your brand is your company’s face, reputation and identity. It is how you are recognised by your current customers and what creates that all important first impression for new and potential customers too. Crucially in the B2B channel, the way your audience perceives your brand plays a central role in purchasing decisions, so managing consistency across all outlets and channels is essential if you want to stand out and accelerate brand growth. After all, decision makers think long-term, with purchases acting more as partnerships. They want to make decisions that will still hold true as the right choice 10 years from now. To that end, your logo, corporate website, social campaigns, sales communications, media coverage, and even the office culture all contribute to creating your brand. The story you tell is just as important as the way you tell it.


For Print & Display, Ireland’s largest and longest established printers, their brand expression was at odds with the visually impactful world they create for their clients on a daily basis. Some of the world’s most iconic brands rely on Print & Display to ensure that their customers sit up and take notice of them, yet their own identity had been neglected and didn’t represent either the company they had become or the vision they had for themselves. So, we were tasked with repositioning the business and creating an identity that reflects the colourful and vibrant business today and would enable them to capitalise on growth opportunities in the future. To read the full case study click here

Your brand also sets up customer expectations: so it is of paramount importance that you set the right expectations from the outset. For rising e-commerce player Luzern, their identity made them blend in rather than stand out and didn’t communicate either their point of difference or their advanced technical abilities. Our brief was to provide clarity of purpose so they could clearly communciate their USP and compete with the larger, more established players. Our propositon ‘accelerating eCommerce for ambitious brands’ was a statement of intent and mirrored their ambition as a company and the clients they wanted to acquire. This provided the lens through which their refreshed identity was crafted. Aligning their identity and critically, their online experience to the new positioning enabled them to present the company as both an authority and the ones to watch in this space. To see how we helped them bring their propostion to life click here


Having set those expectations, you then need to deliver on them consistently across every channel at every opportunity. In the absence of significant advertising budgets, your employees are often the face of your brand, so as a company, you need to ensure that they understand what is expected of them and have the tools at their disposal to deliver the optimal brand experience at all times. When we refreshed the 4site brand, employee engagement was a key part of the process from the outset and we used the rebrand as an opportunity to celebrate their world class team; the innovative thinking they brought to their clients’ challenges and the trust and dependability to deliver effective and timely solutions. 4site’s new identity and creative expression has allowed them to broaden the conversations they can have with their target audience and is providing the perfect platform for growth at home and abroad. To find out more click here


But don’t just take our word for it, research from McKinsey & Company confirms that companies with strong and consistent branding are 20 percent more successful than those that are weak or inconsistent2. So, how does your B2B brand stack up?

At RichardsDee, we have successfully executed brand refresh programmes for many B2B businesses across diverse sectors from IT and Professional Services to Semi-State organisations and we can do the same for you. Get in touch today and see how we can help maximise your brand’s potential.

1 https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/articles/the-changing-face-b2b-marketing.html
2 http://www.forbes.com/sites/mckinsey/2013/06/24/why-b-to-b-branding-matters-more-than-you-think/#1e2b29c49165

Great companies think internally as well as externally – Why your employees are your most important audience in any re-brand

Every year, brands spend billions on communicating their brand message and values to customers. The value of selling this brand promise to consumers has long been understood. But the idea of ‘internal marketing’ – communicating a company’s purpose and brand values to employees can sometimes be overlooked.

Employees, like customers are drawn to what that brand stands for. And whilst a company may have ambitious plans to be no. 1 in their chosen field, people don’t bounce out of bed in the mornings, fired up by the thought of making profits for their company. Feeling that they can contribute to something meaningful is much more motivating. Innocent’s ‘Tastes good, does good’ means a lot more to employees than ‘having the most market share’ for example.

But purpose and commercials are not mutually exclusive. According to Havas Media’s 2015 Meaningful Brands Survey, the brands that have the strongest sense of purpose are also the most profitable. One argument is that if you have a strong sense of purpose it actually makes it much easier for companies to make the right decisions as an organisation.

Given the importance of people to any business, getting the employee engagement right is a significant win: a genuine brand ambassador who continues to be so outside of the work place is a powerful advocate for any organisation. But that only works when the company’s purpose is clear and is something that people are able to engage with at an emotional level – employees need to understand what your purpose means and how it translates into actions.

In the case of the rebrand of Bord na Móna, the employee engagement was an integral part of the whole rebrand process and it started at the very beginning – when we set about defining what the brand stands for. Getting your purpose right is crucial as it is the foundations upon which the brand and organisation is built. It has to be authentic too – what we call a ‘brand truth’ because when you agree your purpose everything the organisation does has to deliver on that.

To get to the core of what drives Bord na Móna we sought out input from a wide variety of stakeholders involving the company as a whole through a series of interviews and workshops, knowing that their employees would engage far better with something they feel they have had some involvement in creating.

Through this process, we defined Bord na Móna’s purpose as ‘Naturally Driven’.


Naturally Driven is rooted in the DNA of the company. It speaks not only to the expertise and the innate ability of Bord na Móna employees to take something ordinary and make it better and more useful, but to their drive to unlock the true potential of our natural resources and use them to provide a sustainable future for us all.

In order for a brand’s purpose and values to be lived in an organisation, they have to be owned by the leadership team, so through a series of stakeholder presentations, we gained buy-in from the top down. Employees from each of the key sites were the stars of the brand photo-shoot too; celebrating the role they play across the organisation and involving them in the creative part of the process.


So having defined the core brand truth that was relevant and compelling for the group as a whole, and the diverse business sectors that Bord na Móna operate in, we needed to make it real and relevant for every single person in the organisation and everything that they do.

For Bord na Móna this meant getting all 1200 employees together at 9 different events at 3 locations over 3 days. This exclusive pre-launch enabled the leadership team to share their vision for the company, introduce the new brand and showcase what that would mean for each of the business units. It was also an opportunity to tell the Bord na Móna story and highlight the importance of the employees in bringing the new vision to life.


A new employee recognition programme was launched – the Naturally Driven awards to reward employees who live the company’s values in their day-to-day. New ways to share projects and achievements between divisions were also unveiled.


Feedback from the sessions was extremely positive with everyone knowing where the company is going and the role they have to play in making this vision a reality.

The Bord na Móna Journey

Bord Na Móna has ambitious plans to become number one in each of their chosen segments, employ 3,000 people, turnover in excess of €1billion by 2030 and reposition the business as global leaders of the future.

We were invigorated by Bord Na Mona’s ambition. But we knew their current brand experience was not up to their new vision. We worked with the team over the past year in a three step process to realise their vision.


We created a programme of work that included a comprehensive brand audit, benchmark and competitive studies, consultative interviews, cross functional team workshops, consumer research and designed a creative process that would successfully reposition the business and bring all stakeholders along the journey.



Through the discovery and insight stages, we unearthed a “brand truth’’, that Bord na Móna is Naturally Driven. Naturally Driven not only speaks to the expertise and the innate ability of Bord na Móna employees to take something ordinary and make it useful, but to their drive to make the most of our natural resources to provide sustainable solutions to the diverse challenges being faced.

With the new brand truth established and a robust master brand strategy in place, we set about developing the brand identity system.



We identified much of the brand fragmentation had arisen from acquisitions that were diluting the master brand and encouraging the divisions to operate autonomously. Our initial objective was to design a fluid system where all existing and future companies would align behind one brand, and embrace one culture to deliver one vision.

By working in an agile and collaborative way, the outcome is a confident and energetic brand system that both reflects and galvanises the ongoing evolution of the business and their ambitious commitment to making a difference to people’s lives, the economy and the planet we live on.

To ensure the successful integration of the visual identity system, we have developed brand guidelines, toolkits, and continue to host workshops both for internal stakeholders and partner agencies.



Find out more about the journey or see the full case study here


Branding For The Better

The power in your pocket to change the world.

In 1996, in partnership with the newly established Fairtrade Mark Ireland, Bewley’s were the first company to bring Fairtrade Certified coffee to Ireland. Now in 2016, Bewley’s are celebrating 20 Years of Fairtrade in Ireland and over 175 Years of great coffee and tea.

Inspired by Bewley’s 20 year relationship with Fairtrade we looked to the country that these first coffee beans originated from… Costa Rica.
Taking inspiration from Costa Rican and Central American traditional art and patterns we created a brand identity and look and feel that reflects this first pioneering move. The colour palette is rich yet natural and the system is flexible enough to work cross platform.

The campaign has been primarily activated across Bewley’s cafes, their HQ and social media channels.

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Are You Our New Creative?

RichardsDee is Ireland’s leading brand and design agency and we are looking for senior and mid-weight creative and conceptual brand designers to join our growing team. The ideal candidates will be self-starters, ambitious, articulate, upbeat and have a strong understanding of brand and corporate identity. The candidates will work in teams that are fun, hardworking and love what they do. You will work alongside the Creative Director and Client teams in developing and building brands that are changing categories and evolving industries.

Senior Designer- Brand Identity
Experience- 6 years +

•Create impactful and memorable visual experiences for a range of ambitious clients
•Generate and produce great ideas and design executions that are underpinned by brand and business strategy
•Execute and produce design communications for diverse media
•Collaborate and coordinate with all internal agency disciplines from strategy, creative, project management and implementation
•Work passionately with our external partners, from photographers to illustrators and typographers, ensuring we deliver world class responses to briefs
•Continuously develop and participate in external activities on an ongoing basis for personal development and as a source of inspiration

Skills and Experience:
•Exceptional creative talent
•Strong written and verbal communication skills
•Strong organisational and time management skills
•Strong presentation skills and leadership qualities
•Experienced in all current design software
•BA degree in graphic design plus 6+ years of related experience
•Experience with motion graphics and a working knowledge of digital design

Mid-weight Designer- Brand & Packaging
Experience- 3 years +

•Be confident in brand and packaging and in presenting your work, both internally and to clients
•Be able to excite and inspire people around you – both colleagues and clients – while earning their respect and confidence
•Be able to make bold, clever design decisions and bring others with you
•Be great at organising and prioritising your workload
•Bring a strong creative point of view to the agency

Skills and Experience:
•A brilliant creative thinker, with the ability to challenge and push comfort
•Obsessed with both craft and detail
•Comfortable engaging with the strategic dimension of our work, able to get under the skin of clients’ issues
•Articulate, confident and assertive in presenting work
•Highly collaborative, able to build strong relationships within design and across the business
•Excellent typography and brief taking skills
•A good awareness and keen interest of packaging in the market today.
•Print and new media exposure and good knowledge of print and various print processes.
•Experienced in all current design software

Please submit CV and a low-res PDF of work to simon@richardsdee.com before March 10th.

A Nod to Bewley’s Unique History

As part of a wider programme focusing on tea, we were tasked with producing a set of ‘Special Edition’ teas to elevate Bewley’s tea credentials and to capitalise on the growth being experienced in loose-leaf tea. It was important that the pack design not only motivated consumers to buy the product but also helped share the Bewley’s story and deliver on their mission ‘To Delight the Senses’. Focusing on three of the best-selling variants, Darjeeling, Assam and Irish Breakfast Tea, the special edition teas needed to work both individually and as a set. The design also needed to take into account that the chests would be displayed in multiple locations – in cafes and restaurants to add theatre and interest as well as being able to hold their own and compete for attention on a retail shelf.

We recognised the opportunity to create a unique format for Bewley’s Special Edition teas that would build on the brand’s compelling history as the original independent tea importer to Ireland. In 1835, Samuel Bewley imported 2,099 chests of tea directly from China on the Hellas ship and in doing so, broke the East India Company’s monopoly. This story became the inspiration for the packaging. We used small wooden chests as a nod to the original format that the tea would have arrived in. The ship became the symbol of the Bewley’s spirit, taking pride of place at the top of the packs. The panel design uses elements such as the mosaic tiles from the Grafton Street cafe, creating a unique and ownable frame that is both attractive and functional. Colour was intentionally kept to a minimum in order to mimic the look and feel of the original stencilled chests; black being the predominant colour with a pop of brighter colour to differentiate between the variants.

Straight Talking Identity

Following a pitch process, we were delighted to be appointed to work on the naming, brand strategy and creative development of Intuity, a newly formed entity in Galway.

Intuity is home to tec support, an IT support and maintenance business and ice cube, a company that has been providing software solutions to Credit Unions and marts for decades. It was important to develop an overarching creative strategy that aligned the brands and built on the new group positioning – Straight Talking Experts.

With plans for a 100-strong expansion to its workforce, Intuity is ambitious and we are delighted to have played a part in their inception.






Our team continues to grow..

We are delighted to welcome Mariana to the design team, where she was recently was spotted on the recent ICAD Upstarts initiative. Mariana, originally from Brazil, recently graduated from BCFE. The one thing you need to know about Mariana is she thinks that Blade Runner is the best film ever made and chips were made to be eaten with vanilla ice cream or not to be eaten at all.

Design Thinkers 2015

Last week I attended The Design Thinkers conference in Toronto;  a unique conference bringing together designers, strategists and creative thinkers from across the globe. After spending a few days in the company of the RGD (Association of Registered Graphic Designers), I noticed a number of consistent themes emerging, notably the importance of:


– Creating the magic for our clients; as creative designers, we have an obligation to our clients to help them to see and realise the potential in ideas and what they can achieve – to take the every day and make it wonderful

– Embracing technology and using it to our advantage; by simplifying the working day and creating clarity in the way information is shared, providing inspiration to customers


– Being more in-sync with our clients ‘everyday’;  from coffee-break research and working with clients in their space, to commercially partnering with clients on flagship projects


– Revisiting what we do and why we do it; addressing the purpose of an agency, creating a defined company culture and a better work-life balance


– Being innovative and embracing new working methods; working quicker and wider, focusing on what is important on a project before developing the detail


– Adapting to the rise of the in-house design teams and helping them become the champions of design within their organisations


– Understanding the extent to which the design world is changing; we should not be afraid of crowdsourcing but of algorithms




The overriding impression is one of a conference that celebrates the future of the industry and not just design as a craft. These are important lessons, which I believe can be learnt by other conferences: to be more open to the commercial needs of the business and the needs of the clients, both today and with an eye on where the industry may be heading in the future.  All in all, a great few days (and nights) were had in Toronto – I was extremely impressed by the work of the RGD in Canada, the community they have created and the conference as a whole.

Revisiting the past for gifting inspiration

Bewley’s has a long and proud association supporting Irish artists and recently appointed Irish illustrator and pattern designer, Paula McGloin to develop illustrations that could be used across a brand new Bewley’s limited edition coffee mug and gift set. The illustration draws inspiration from the exquisite Harry Clarke stained glass windows in the Grafton Street Cafe which features lavish details of oriental birds and decorative flowers. Paula used these references as the basis for her illustration to create an intricate pattern of teapots, cups, cup cakes, oriental fans, birds and butterflies.

As Bewley’s brand partners, we worked from the outset with Paula to develop the packaging and activations materials for launch and are looking forward to seeing it in store very soon.

Paula McGloin Limited Edition Mugs
Paula McGloin Limited Edition Mugs
Paula McGloin
Paula McGloin


Paula McGloin Instore Activation

Rebranding an international professional coaching consultancy

The Coaching Equation is an international professional coaching and mentoring consultancy that works with people at all levels to improve and transform their leadership and management skills. We were appointed develop an identity for The Coaching Equation that was approachable and modern, yet structured enough to support the proven methodologies employed to deliver results. It was important that the new identity reflected both the founder’s personality (positive and results driven) and style (classic with an edge), whilst positioning the company as a credible alternative to the primary competitive set who have advocated for very corporate identities.

The Coaching Equation is about discovering each individual’s happiness / success formula. As every individual is different, The Coaching Equation takes a holistic approach to uncovering the right combination and balance for that individual. To that end, the central idea around the logo is the ‘Power of Balance’. A script font is used to add a personal touch, reinforcing the approachability of the consultants. The lettering in the main word mark has been manipulated to play on symbols derived from mathematical equations and primary shapes, and elevates the results-driven nature of the advice on offer. The divider line reinforces the idea of the ultimate success formula and plays to the holistic approach taken by the company when working with the individual (professional and personal, happiness and success). The result is an identity that is precise and to the point, but with a very distinct and differentiated personality.

RD_Blog TCE_3

The Coaching Equation
The Coaching Equation


RichardsDee hosts ICAD Upstarts


Last night we hosted the designers participating in the 2015 ICAD Upstarts course. ICAD is a great initiative where up and coming designers work with a mentor and design studios to develop their work, challenge their thinking and improve their portfolio. We set a brief last week and their work was presented last night. Considering the short time scale, the work presented was excellent and an enjoyable evening was had discussing the work. Once again we were delighted be involved with this great initiative.

Digital heritage and Saint Patrick’s Cathedral

Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, one of Ireland’s leading visitor experiences welcomes almost half a million tourists and schoolchildren annually. We have been working with Saint Patrick’s on it’s identity and communications and were delighted to have played a role in its first real move into technology.

This week the Cathedral launched it’s new ‘Discovery Space’ in the south transept which is designed to bring a more interactive and immersive experience to the 800 year old building and its history. We worked closely with the internal team to translate core elements from the new identity system across a large touchscreen table and other digital devices which offer photography, audio and information on the cathedral’s layout, history and heritage.

We developed communications for the wonderful new Discovery Boxes that launched on the day which are specifically designed to engage young visitors. The Discovery Boxes are built using recycled wood from the cathedral’s disused pews and contain games encouraging children to Build A Cathedral and Try Brass Rubbings.

Few can claim to work with an 800 year old cathedral and we’re looking forward to sharing the new brand identity and communications in coming weeks.

Photography credit: The Irish Times

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Launching a new website for a global diagnostic brand

Trinity Biotech is a NASDEQ quoted diagnostics company, specialising in the development, manufacture and marketing of clinical diagnostic products.

The organisation is highly acquisitive frequently adding new companies and products to their vast portfolio. Their increase in product lines and business units meant they needed a new digital platform with increased capabilities to accomodate the growing areas within their business.

The new site needed to elevate Trinity Biotech’s leadership status within global diagnostics, maintain a prominent investor relations section, ensure ease of naviagation, and deliver expanded functionality for the integration of future brands and products.

The launch of the new Trinity Biotech Website sees us developing another successful digital platform with our digital partners PointBlank.

From team building to battling it out: our day with the Bewley’s coffee experts

Coffee is a daily ritual at RichardsDee, and when Bewley’s invited us to spend an afternoon at their roastery in Malahide, we were there like a shot (pun intended!).  The afternoon started with an insight into the coffee production process followed by an introduction to coffee cupping, which reveals the different taste cues depending on region, roasting techniques and the beans used –  all very enlightening, but as soon as we stepped into the test kitchen, the atmosphere changed. We knew we were about to see how baristas create amazing designs out of steamed milk, but what we didn’t know, was that our skills were about to be tested, and of course we were all dying to have a go!

Our mentor, world champion latte artist, Elvis took us through a step-by-step demonstration of how to create the perfect latte art. Then, one by one we battled each other to compete for the RichardsDee Latte Champion of the Year. After some very dodgy pouring and purposeful banging of steamed milk jugs, the contest was down to two: Tomas and Martin, but there could be only one winner. With two attempts each to impress the resident judge Elvis, Martin just inched Tomas out to take the grand title.

So next time you’re passing by the studio, remember to ask for a flat white made with care and attention by Martin, or should we say the resident Portobello Champion Latte Artist.


We are growing and looking for bright sparks

As we continue to grow our services and the scale of projects, we have opportunities for the following roles:

Account Manager
We are looking for a motivated account executive looking to take a step up, with first class skills in project management, communication, organisation and a passion for creativity and branding.  Working alongside the Account Directors you will either manage or assist with a range of projects from brand strategy, brand identity and brand experiences.  You will be involved from concept to completion including involvement with creative thinking, copywriting, budgets, proposals, delivery schedules and support documentation. You’ll be confident, personable and enthusiastic with initiative, you must have a keen eye for detail and real motivation to succeed and develop your career. You must demonstrate the potential of being an account manager of the future and want to work with a creative branding agency who wants to make a name for itself.

Design Internships
We have opportunities for design graduates looking for design internships – with the possibility of the internship developing into a full time role. You must demonstrate an excellent portfolio, thought process and desire to work across brand identity and brand experiences. Also you must demonstrate excellent software skills across that standard Creative Cloud apps. If interested drop us an email at martin@richardsdee.com

Celebrating a homegrown success

Irish Country Magazine has evolved and steadily grown in readership to become Ireland’s leading lifestyle magazine for women. It is a magazine with intelligent narrative and stunning imagery. It understands what modern Irish women nationwide want and embraces their multi-faceted lives, their interests and their spirit. ICM Media Pack

Irish Country Magazine

In keeping with the success and evolution of the magazine’s reach, ICM approached RichardsDee to develop a new media pack that captures the essence of the magazine. We also developed a gift pack around the concept of growth which was delivered the same day that the ABC official figures were revealed, to help celebrate the fantastic results for this homegrown publication.

Irish Country Magazine

An Offset 2016 wish list


Wish List Speakers

It’s that time again! As we tick off the talks to see at this year’s Offset, we thought we’d make our own wish list of speakers who haven’t yet graced the stage. From a long list of inspiring individuals and studios, here are some of the names that made the cut. (Soz Pentagram, you’ve had your turn ;P):

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Writer for The New Yorker, author and TED speaker, Malcolm Gladwell provokes us to think and challenge typical understanding or assumptions. One of his notions, that spontaneous decisions can be as relevant as – or better than – considered ones is in line with what we know as designers. He teaches us to pay attention to intuition. Strategy and thinking is as creatively rich and inspiring as image making and listening to some of the questions dissected by some of the great minds on the circuit can be profoundly educational.

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Man Vs Machine were unanimously elected as a must-see, given their position as a constant source of awe inspiring motion graphics. Interestingly, their work is possibly the most likely to have featured in the average household – on More 4, Syfy, TV3, MTV to name just a few of their clients and exquisite executions. We’d like to hear what makes them tick and just how they did that.

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Challenging how we approach a given space saw architects like Thomas Heatherwick, artists such as Olafur Eliasson and designer of installation and super graphics master, Morag Myerscough feature on our list of desirables. Morag aims to turn every space into a story – with thrilling and eclectic narratives of colour, big type and geometric patterns. She creates drama on a large scale and her work questions the typical limitations of the graphic designer role, breaking out and inventing experiences and stories, something bigger. Morag has worked with The Tate, Design Museum, Barbican, Design Council, British Council, Wedgwood, V&A, Vintage at Goodwood and many more. 

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Nick Knight OBE (Oooh, get you Nick!) is a legendary fashion & documentary photographer and web publisher best known for his hugely influential and visionary work with designers including Alexander McQueen, Calvin Klein, Christian Dior and music artists like Bjork, Lady Gaga and Kanye West. Knight’s iconic work consistently challenges conventional notions of beauty and his often surreal photographic style is instantly recognisable, always inspirational. His work has been published in British Vogue, Paris Vogue, i-D and Dazed & Confused and has exhibited in international art institutions such as the V&A, Saatchi Gallery and the Hayward Gallery but to name a few. We assume he’d have some entertaining stories as well as knowledge to impart. 

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In collecting inspiration from artists and studios around the globe, you may find your mind wonder how those in a similar vein really do it. For us, one of those yet to grace the stage at Offset is Scandinavia’s BVD. Their aesthetic is best described by their own mantra, “Simplify to Clarify”. Strong thinking, simplified, across solutions for Coca-Cola, H&M, 7 Eleven and a horde of Scandinavian clients. For pared back packaging, slick retail solutions, impactful branding and the Scandinavian touch, we nominate a talk by BVD.

And just a few more from our long list who we’d love to see:

Chris Ware, Geoff McFetridge, Jim Sutherland, Michael Jager, Sean Perkins, Mike Dempsey, Vince Frost, Made Thought, Stockholm Design Lab, John Ellery, Stranger and Stranger, The Guerilla Girls, Tyler Brule, Build, Thonik, Raymond Pettibon, Simon Synek, Ken Robinson, Barbara Kruger, Tim Brown, Signalnoise, Anagrama, Bompas & Parr, Digital Kitchen, Róisín Heneghan, Irma Boom, Rose Design, Purpose Studio, Richard Baneham, John Crowley….

Who would make yours?

(You can thank us later Offset 2016.)



Full house for our latest Insights Talk

RD01_Insights_imageLastThursday evening, we were delighted to be joined by over fifty clients and colleagues at our studio, where Cathy Winston inspired and educated us in the process of Innovation. Black hats, yellow hats, start-up monopoly and cafe conversations, it was a night of creativity, ideas and new thinking – helping us improve our businesses and brands through embracing innovation.

This was our third Insights evenings, where we invite leaders, creatives and like minded individuals to share their passions and insights in an informal and sociable setting. The aim of the evenings are to encourage a shared learning environment where we can be inspired and empowered.

We were delighted with the amount of interest with our latest talk and would like to thank everyone for attending, we are now considering speakers for our next Insights evening which will be soon, and if you are interested in being invited to the next Insights evening then please drop us a note.

ID 2015 – Creative industry or craft industry? 10 ideas that ID2015 could do to elevate design as a whole

If you hadn’t already realised 2015 is the Year of Design in Ireland. The aim is to foster dialogue and collaboration, encouraging investment in design as a key component of competitiveness and innovation, grow employment opportunities and sales, as well as highlighting the export potential for the Irish design sector. This is an ambitious task and one that is highly commendable.

Design is an unsung hero in Ireland even though it has been intrinsic to much of the country’s success; from the design of pharmaceutical buildings (locally and globally), the design of technology hardware (Intel proudly displays “Designed in Ireland” on its Galileo Board) to design being a successful discipline within the many and varied creative industries across Ireland.

As I look through the programme of events for ID2015 it becomes apparent that engagement with business (our clients), promotion of the design industry as a whole, as well as demonstrating the value of the industry to the economy is missing.

Browsing through the list of activities on offer, the emphasis has been placed on style, craft, making and production. Even the intro video reinforces this; with no references to the value design brings to communities, society, experience or the bottom line.

Already the potential exciting year of design is turning into a focus on craft and aesthetics, positioning us as a cottage industry rather than flexing our muscles across all aspects of design, establishing us as a true business sector connecting with opinion formers, intrinsic to business success and showcasing our talent and potential to an international stage.

As a country, we’ve already established ourselves as a tech hub. Is it too much to have the same ambition for the creative industries? Surely we should be embracing that and taking this opportunity to think big and put our best foot forward as a collective – industrial, architecture, branding, advertising, digital design?

10 ideas that will help the creative industries become celebrated and connected at a national and international level:

1: Promotion of the industry and its many disciplines and the benefit design brings to business. A simple task would be to raise awareness of how designers influence not only commerce but also the day to day and our everyday surroundings. Think how AIB have created Backing Brave to celebrate entrepreneurs and small businesses, and how Ireland could own a “Backing Design” campaign.

2: Nationwide research into the state of the design industry, to promote understanding of the value of industry and provide a robust database and clear categorisation of disciplines.

3: Initiate a dialogue to build a case for the Creative Industries in Ireland and to provide support and economic benefits for companies commissioning design / creative services in Ireland.

4: Dialogue between industry and education. It is widely acknowledged that graduates are ill prepared for the commercial realities of today’s business, and this is just as true for design graduates being ill prepared for the modern studio. ID2015 has an opportunity to influence a change in design education and create a dialogue between the creative industries and educational bodies for the benefit of business and graduates alike.

5: Exhibition of design services at every Irish embassy, rather than just locally, to promote and showcase design talent in all its formats.

6: Bespoke conference targeting marketing directors and design buyers on the role of design and how to utilise design for business benefit.

7: A Design Showcase that demonstrates and celebrates all design services in a democratic and “non awards” situation, removing the divide between disciplines and positioning the industry as a creative force.

8: Establish dialogue with the government on the importance and value that the industry brings to the economy and how the design sector can bring significant employment.

9: Initiate a conference for state agencies and semi-state organisations to educate them on design and the procurement of design, creating design-buying heroes within Government

10: Establish dialogue, framework and a road map for creating a truly powerful business sector, understood and valued by government and business alike.

The Year of Design is a fantastic step forward but we need to start to talk more as an industry in how we help society, businesses and the economy and less around the making, the product and ourselves.

It’s begining to feel a lot like Christmas

So the festive season is almost upon us and while the sensation that is the Coca Cola Santa is evident nightly on our big screen,  #MontyThePenguin is playing a blinder in dividing the masses on our small screens. It is the season for brands to be jolly and is also the one time of year where we seek out and want to engage with things that get us into the festive mood.

So whilst some great and some questionable Christmas packaging floods our supermarket shelves, we thought we’d shine a spotlight on one of our favourite Limited Edition packs, which we had a wonderful time creating back in August.

The old adage goes ‘Seeing Is Believing’ however with Bewley’s Christmas Chai Tea, the proof is most definitely in the taste. The unique festive blend of Chai encompasses cinnamon, nutmeg, rich vanilla and hints of sweet fruit…..It is a must for the basket this season.

We used a number of festive treats as the basis for our illustration which we then fused with colour, typography, gold foils, beautiful descriptors and ended up with a Limited Edition pack that is destined to get you in the festive mood.

How can Irish Water drive its brand back on course?

Since its inception, Irish Water has been dominating headlines for all the wrong reasons.

To ensure a successful long-term future, Irish Water needs to engage people’s heads and hearts. But how?

By focusing on the 3 Ps:
Purpose, Principles and Participation.

By refocusing on their brand and using it as a platform through which all communications, actions, behaviours etc. are funneled, it will take time, but Irish Water can drive its brand back on course.

  1. No one expects brands to be perfect. Acknowledge and admit mistakes and you will be judged far more favourably. The way a brand deals with its issues is far more important than the issues themselves.
  2. Start behaving like a consumer brand and not like a government body. A purpose is more compelling than a product. Start to communicate what purpose they have in a consumer friendly way, demonstrating the need to repair and conserve.
  3. Build awareness around the serious issue of water and the importance of planning for the future. We may feel we have too much of it coming from the heavens above, but we are lucky to have water.
  4. Stop being invisible and start being valuable. Your purpose should be about maximisng value for the customer.
  5. Engage in a two-way dialogue with customers. Co-create a system that everyone buys in to and believes in, and therefore feels a sense of stewardship over.
  6. Demonstrate positive actions on the impact a state-of-the-art water system will have on the country both now and into the future, across all touch points.
  7. Make the most of each and every opportunity to connect and share their purpose. Currently 3rd parties, driving white vans that are apologetically branded working with Irish Water, are carrying out the installation of water meters. These are great platforms to communicate the positive role of what they do and why they exist.
  8. Initiate ‘random acts of kindness’ throughout the estates where they have caused issues.
  9. Too many brands prioritise claims over actions. Irish Water need to engage and involve people, not interrupt them.
  10. Consider the Irish people as part of the brand, not as ‘consumers’.

In summary, Irish Water needs to be genuine, people-centric and showcase actionable cause. Only then can it start to regain trust and move forward.


Annual Reports and the power of story telling

Annual reports have a core function; to effectively present the company’s financial strengths to shareholders, business audiences, employees, and the general public.

Annual reports also have a great opportunity to tell a story; a story that is positive, confidence building and scene setting for the year ahead.

We placed emphasis on story telling whilst collaborating with SEAI on their 2013 Annual Report.

SEAI work tirelessly on initiatives for business, industry, consumers and government, yet these initiatives while hugely successful are often not evident or visible. Our creative objective was to elevate the impact these achievements have and demonstrate how integral they are to our everyday. Playing with size, scale and a bold approach to presenting the numbers resulted in a visually engaging Annual Report that has received very positive feedback since launch.

A Sustainable night to remember

The SEAI Sustainable Energy Awards took place last week at The Shelbourne Hotel and what a night it was. Having designed the presentation and communications, we were delighted to form part of an eclectic mix which included Gavin Duffy (quite the photo bomber), a man in a kilt, the minister, a diplomat or two, our agency friends from SEAI and some of Ireland’s most ambitious businesses.

The awards  encourage, recognise and reward excellence in energy management and they celebrate individuals, groups and organisations who demonstrate a commitment to include energy management as part of their overall management structure.

We were particularly impressed with the worthy winners of the Ambition category Comharchumann Fuinnimh Oileáin Árainn Teo (CFOAT). The group were set up in 2012 and are on track to develop the Aran Islands as energy independent, energy self-sustaining and carbon neutral by 2022. Surely that’s as high as ambition goes!

Animals and Tech Brands – a match made in heaven for your startups

Need an identity for your new tech start-up? Look to the animal kingdom for inspiration…

You have your killer idea; tested and refined to within an inch of its life, your business plan has been honed to perfection, but have you defined how you are going present yourself in an engaging and compelling way to your future customers? Have you considered your brand identity? Whilst startups face some unique challenges, the task of winning customers is still a process that starts with creating a compelling brand.

In start-up mode, your brand identity needs to work hard; it needs to capture attention, resonate with key stakeholders and communicate what makes you different. Not an easy task in a crowded marketplace. But here’s where looking to the animal kingdom for inspiration could help.

Consider some of the (now) biggest players in the digital space; from Firefox and Twitter to MailChimp and TripAdvisor, all hi-tech brands who exist only in an online environment and who all rely on animal symbolism to define their brand identity.



Or grounded in a deeper truth, that as humans, we are hard-wired to respond to animals – whether that response is flight, fight or just “aww, how cute”.

One of the challenges with technology branding is that the brands operate in a space that is removed and impersonal. It can therefore be difficult for them to form a connection with their audience and make that all-important impression, which is essential to driving preference and fueling buying decisions.

Animals in tech add warmth and personality to an otherwise sterile brand – they allow the brand to add a human element and create an emotional connection that could otherwise be difficult to forge.

Animals are also associated with certain traits such as knowledge, speed and loyalty. In this respect, choosing the right animal can help the brand magnify that trait without investing heavily in above the line communications to get the same message across.

Of course, this is nothing new in the design world; many of the world’s top brands have been using animal symbolism to give consumers an idea about the product or company for decades. Car companies frequently use animals such as horses and fast cats, symbolising speed and agility. But what seems to be new is the way in which the booming tech industry is embracing animals to counteract the perception of an industry often defined by zeros and ones.

But let’s face it; given the choice between an abstract shape and a fluffy puppy, which one would grab your attention? Done correctly puppies are hard to ignore!

At RichardsDee we have a wealth of experience in creating brand identities for tech companies large and small. Click here for more information

Top 5 Female Speakers at the Web Summit

Tuesday, November 4th marks the start of one of the biggest events in tech on the planet, the Web Summit. We are beyond excited to mix, mingle, observe and party with some of the most exciting entrepreneurs of our times. It will be a week where work is replaced with creativity, ideas, originality and ambition. It will be a week that’s right up our street.

Tech is a traditionally male dominated space and the conversation about women’s roles and place in the tech community has been been a hot topic the last few years. Again this year, the Web Summit launched an initiative to change the ratio of men to women and encourage equality in the industry by giving away €250,000 worth of free tickets to female developers, designers and founders.  

The Women’s Leader’s lunch has been another successful initiative however some may counter that men are a central part of the solution and given the power they still yield in tech, they should be continuously encouraged to spear head gender diversity and encouraged to participate in, rather than be isolated from, conversations.

In Ireland, we can boast many outstanding females who lead international tech companies including Sonia Flynn, Managing Director of Facebook Ireland, Louise Phelan, VP of Global Operations EMEA for PayPal and Cathriona Hallahan, Managing Director Microsoft Ireland to name a few. However with a gender gap that doesn’t look likely to close anytime soon, we are using this post to shine a light on and celebrate some of the great women that will be speaking at the Web Summit this week.

Here is our top 5 female speakers at the Web Summit…

1. Cathryn Posey, Founder, Tech by Superwomen

cat-posey-web-summitCathryn Posey is the founder of Tech By Superwomen, a movement she started to elevate and celebrate women in tech in 2011. Aside from being an international speaker, she is recognized as an authority on issues impacting women in technology.

Why are we excited to see Cathryn?

In conjunction with women like Sheryl Sandberg, Cathryn Posey is at the forefront of a movement that challenges the tech establishment and urges women to push themselves into spaces that they were once not welcome/expected to gravitate towards (and pushing men in tech to see the value in this), while educating them how to navigate gender gaps and stereotypes that they may encounter. We love that she’s effectively supplying a kit of parts that empowers and inspires women to succeed and thrive in the tech world.


Builders Stage, Wednesday 5th at 3.30PM


 2. Ayah Bdeir, Founder & CEO, LittleBits

Ayah-Bdeir-Web-SummitAyah is the creator of littleBits, an award winning kit of pre-assembled circuits that snap together with tiny magnets that has been dubbed “LEGOs for the iPad Generation”. She is also founder of Karaj, Beirut’s lab for experimental art & architecture and last year was named by CNN as one of the top 10 Startups to watch in 2013.

Why are we excited to see Ayah?

Ayah has succeeded in making science and engineering accessible, fun, creative and social for people of all ages, from all disciplines. The concept behind littleBits, is empowering, exciting and leverages the creative power of a community of makers, eager to learn and share their ideas and inventions in a space free of jargon/tech speak.


Machine Stage, Wednesday 5th at 2:45PM


3.Gale Anne Hurd, Producer, The Walking Dead & Terminator

Gale-Anne-Hurd-Web-SummitIn 1982, at just 27 years old, Gale formed her own production company, Pacific Western Productions and went on to produce a number of massive movies including The Terminator (1984), Aliens (1986) and The Abyss (1989). She has been celebrated many times, and in 1998 was awarded the Women in Film Crystal Award for helping to expand the role of women within the entertainment industry. Most recently she produced the 2010 The Walking Dead.

Why are we excited to see Gale?

We’re hoping to hear Gale’s views on how the entertainment industry has changed from her early days as a producer, and what benefits (and challenges) the accessibility of digital media of today has brought. It will be also interesting to hear whether she really is a die hard Arsenal FC fan!


Film Stage


 4. Antonia McCahon, Global Head of Digital Marketing , Pernod Ricard

Antonia-McCahon-Web-SummitWhen Antonia was appointed Global Head of Digital Marketing at Pernod Ricard, her vision was ‘Shifting Digital Marketing and taking it to the next level.’ Since then her focus included thinking people first vs. brand or touch point. In the past year, her team has placed huge focus on creating great social experiences for people in both the physical and social worlds, always delivered in an upbeat and positive way.

Why are we excited to see Antonia?

Within four months of starting in Pernod, Antonia set up the digital acceleration task force  recruiting 80+ ‘digital champions’ from within the group. We’re interested to hear how a diverse group of people from legal, commercial development, finance, marketing and sales have collaborated to proactively encourage the adoption of digital within the company.


Marketing Stage, Wednesday 5th at 2:10PM


5.    Iseult Ward, Co-founder, FoodCloud

Iseult-ward-web-summitIseult started FoodCloud while in her third year at Trinity College Dublin. The idea was born out of the realization that there are 450,000 people in Ireland who suffer from food poverty, while at the same time there is over one million tonnes of food wasted each year. The result of this wastage means that Ireland ranks among the top 5 wasters of food in Europe.

FoodCloud solves this issue by using technology to connect the businesses that have too much food with charities that have too little.

Why are we excited to see Iseult?

Social entrepreneurship is a fascinating concept and one that we believe will have an increasing and fundamental impact on our world during this Internet Century. FoodCloud is not only one of the most exciting organisations in this space but it is also run by two very inspiring Irish women.

We hugely admire social entrepreneurs like Iseult in RichardsDee and are desperate to see more tech startups that are powered by idealistic optimism and who are ready to tackle the great social issues of our time.


Food Stage, Tuesday 4th at 1.25PM


Celine_298x204Celine Dee is a co-founder at RichardsDee, Dublin’s expert Branding & Design agency. Check out our work with Tech Startups

Not For Profit Digital Communications

The past number of years has seen an unprecedented wave of creativity applied to not for profit digital campaigns and social channels.

As marketers in the online world increasingly recognise that digital and the role of social channels is much more about the company ethos, adding value and working on the peer-level to ‘give back’; it is perhaps easy to understand why not for profit Digital Communications are resonating with audiences and winning awards. 

But let’s take a closer look at why (good) digital not for profit communications and strategies often seem more ‘organically effective’ than many of their commercial counterparts targeting the same types of audience:

1. By the very nature of being a not for profit organisation, the ‘societal goal’ is absolutely central

  • Less need for supplementary and supporting ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ or ‘Mutual Social Responsibility’ efforts
  • Not for profit organisations are formed around a social cause – providing power to resonate with audiences on a level beyond capitalism and profit

2. Merely surviving year-on-year highlights the ability of the organisation to connect and engage audiences

  • It’s a crazy competitive space, not helped by economic downturns and negative attention often tarring entire charitable sectors
  • Organisations focused on a cause that has little or no societal appeal simply don’t survive. Those that survive, have a ‘social truth’
  • Similarly, those who don’t have the understanding required to motivate and put people into action will also fail. In many ways, the not for profit sector embodies commercial ‘survival of the fittest’

3. So, with a socially appealing mission, a loyal following willing to involve themselves without physical reward, and understanding what motivates their patrons. Digital. Just. Fits

  • Digital mediums are being employed to cost-effectively identify audiences and broadcast extremely creative, engaging messages to the masses
  • Digital channels are being expertly utilised to broaden the reach of not for profit communications, often with viral consequences that are the envy of other sectors
  • Social media is enabling us to tell more of the brand story, to personalise the experience for individuals (after all – social giving is at least to some degree about the ‘feel good factor’) and create a longer-lasting impact
  • It is becoming clear that those having the most online success have really begun to master ‘storytelling’ in the not for profit digital communications space

4. All the while working better to reach and involve ‘youth’ audiences – the future of any not for profit organisation

The 2013 Millennial Impact Report highlights just how active a new breed of patrons can be in driving not for profit digital communications:

  • 65% of receive email or newsletters from ONE TO FIVE nonprofits
  • Donation sums are smaller, but we’re more likely to get active for a good cause (77% have)
  • Interestingly, 65% of learn about your cause via your website, vs. 55% through social media (18% print
  • But 75% won’t hang around for a poor website experience, and you must be mobile optimised with penetration high at 77%
  • Our action on your website looks like this: 51% use it as a platform to connect via social media, 46% to donate and 46% to read a blog post.
  • Get your website structure right and remember that Content is KING.
  • 70% of Millennials prefer to give online, but it might be surprising to learn that we aren’t that in to text-giving (only 15% have done so). Yet we do like to act immediately – these points combined highlight a preference for ‘giving recognition’. Perhaps text-giving doesn’t adequately promote my good deed?

So, moving on from and otherwise accompanying the TV commercial, the flyer door-drop and the high street coin/direct-debit collection; here is how some forward thinking not for profit organisations are leveraging the data, the reach and all the creativity associated with digital channels:


Last year, UNICEF re-invigorated the hugely successful ‘Tap Project’ whereby restaurants would ask patrons for a $1 donation to help provide clean drinking water in Africa. Now, while the updated campaign does not have the beautiful and direct correlation regards ‘my water, for your water’, it does talk to social behaviours and asks us to question what we’re focusing our time on by challenging us to give up access to something far less vital than water–your cell phone.



To our point about the necessity to engage younger audiences, how about empowering them instead? Really empowering them. After all, it is the younger ‘digital native’ audiences who understand best how this all works. The UK’s RNLI demonstrates how you hit a home run with content marketing, blogger outreach and leveraging online mediums – and it’s a far cry from collecting pennies in boat-shaped boxes at the dry cleaners.

Cancer Research UK

If you don’t already know this, it might give you pause to consider that No Makeup Selfies raised £8m for Cancer Research UK in six days. Despite the fact that Cancer Research UK did not create the #NoMakeupSelfie movement. Here’s how that happened:

First up, the hashtag #nomakeupselfie started to trend on twitter. Why? Because it spoke an organic truth to the demographic.

Ground had already been broken by movements in anti-airbrushing and brand campaigns such as Dove’s ‘Campaign for Real Beauty’, so a level of empowerment and duty was already in place and it’s no surprise that all such examples have powerful imagery and tones of ‘anti-establishment’ or ‘anti-societal-norm’. That’s empowering stuff.

Nobody could identify the source of the hashtag. However, the empowered twitter folk were now already so engaged and so motivated that they themselves began asking ‘how to donate’.

Step up Cancer Research UK to put themselves forward.


Following a barrage of retweets, PR coverage and consumer donations, the organisation expertly followed up with celebrity stories and local activations all documented online via the existing hashtag and the new conduit: #NoMakeupSelfieForCancer – whether initiated or not, the pace at which the organisation joined in is to be admired and respected, as too are their sincere (now viral) ‘thank you’ messages.

Cancer Research UK

Girls not Brides

I came across the movement a while ago and recently, it has been getting more and more attention and started to pick up awards. Aside from the primary point that this is of course a mission worthy of everyone’s attention, I’m raising the point that a really well-honed content strategy. The simple, informative information that often gets missed.

At www.girlsnotbrides.org, the mission is clear and the stories are real. Add to this tools for visitors, students and teachers to get involved and you’re well on the way to a long-lasting platform that can truly be the daily catalyst to changing something that needs changing.


In Summary…

We’re all aware of the reach and engagement uniquely presented by digital and online channels. The challenge now is to:

  • Be creative, draw on the social truth at the core of your organisation
  • Allow room for audience personalisation, but be careful not to demand too much or add unnecessary complexities (‘Keep It Simple Silly’)
  • Uncover who are most likely your key influencers online
  • Identify how you’ll engage these and future campaign participants
  • Be prepared to keep fuelling and to follow-up in an agile manner
  • Leverage EVERY touch point (and that includes offline and PR)

For more information on direct engagement, see:
5 steps to developing a compelling fundraising campaign

Responsive Website Design

Following on from our branding and development work for tds, RichardsDee recently completed a responsive website design and development for tdsstudent.com.

Created over a simple parallax format, the responsive website design is focused on bringing the visitor through the benefits and feature of the college campus management solution, designed to inform and engage the audience and generate interest in the product over its competitors.


This is the second website we have created for this client, based on an ongoing strategy of promoting products within the wider tds portfolio online, as discussed in our recent blog post on product websites. The responsive website design renders the structure and specific content within the website based on desktop, tablet and mobile phone devices.

To learn more about creating responsive website design and/or heavier data-driven solutions, contact Adam Clarke on +353 (0)1 662 4472 or adam@richardsdee.com


New Airbnb logo – Why it works

A new brand identity will not resolve issues with local government taxes or quarrels between landlords and what their tenants are doing by sub-renting their properties, but the new Airbnb logo and identity is a confident step in the maturing of the brand.

New Airbnb logo

One of the powerful elements of the new brand execution is the symbol, or should I say “Belo”. This symbol has a strong idea at the heart of it and works on many levels:

An “A” for Airbnb

  • Features the pin icon used on maps and part of its previous visual language
  • An inverted heart comes across strongly, reinforcing passion
    (Habitat may have got there first though)
  • A simple execution that lends itself to many creative expressions
  • A warm, personal attitude that will establish quick recall

The approach to the new Airbnb logo and identity is a refreshing change from the previous word mark, and the brand now has a new tool in its brand armory to build awareness, differentiate and communicate the brand’s passion.

Looking at other brands in the digital realm – eBay, Yahoo, Facebook, Vimeo, Flickr, Skype, these all feature word marks and lack any real strong idea, personality or warmth to their brand identity (apart form Yahoo with an exclamation mark – says it all!).

The launch of the brand has also been widely accepted, due to the fact that the brand is moving forward in a positive manner, and they have not tried to use the brand evolution as the only story. Brands reviewing their identities need tangible reasons for change and enhanced brand experiences must be visible and paramount. Airbnb has also achieved this, with additional and improved services on its site.

Unlike other recent controversial brand re-launches (Gap or Yahoo), Airbnb realised what they had (and what they didn’t have) and have built upon this.

The approach in brand identity by Airbnb may be old school, but it is a welcome return to brand identity and logo design that has depth and meaning. If you think the logo can be improved then Airbnb have created a nice tool where you can create your own:

“Sketch it. Paint it. Put a penguin on it.
Make a symbol that reflects your Airbnb experience, and add it to your Airbnb profile”

Take a look HERE.

New Airbnb logo and brand


Product Websites, does your company need one?

The role of product a website has long been the debate of commercial directors, advertising agencies and SEO professionals alike. From the commercial focus on (or isolation of) a hero product, through to issues of duplicate content and competing for search results – we’ve seen it all over the years. As a commercial design and branding agency, we’re going to attempt to cut through some of the clutter and technicalities surrounding the overriding question:

Do we need a product website?

If you have more than one product in your suite, you should consider it. If one of your products has ‘hero’ status, you should really consider it. If your range of products is varied and a specific product or product range focuses on the needs of a particular ‘type’ of end-user or user-requirement; you’re product website should already be in planning. And here are 3 good reasons why the world is heading this way:

1. People have specific agendas, and limited attention spans

We’re easily distracted by too many options. For any given unique proposition, we’re going to need to cover off: Why this product is awesome, and what does it say about me. What it will really mean to me (the benefits). What it will actually do for me (the features). What it costs me (including any pricing options). How to buy it (and what happens next).

That’s a lot of information, comprehension and persuasion. The point is that it’s not always wise to blur the lines with “oh… and we also have another set of products you just might be interested in”, and hence the consideration of a product website. From a communications point of view; simple, singular propositions result in more effective customer engagement and acquisition.

2. More than ever, we really do understand our audience

So there’s no reason not to focus on the customer first and foremost. Let’s take a look at a leading car brand: Volkswagen. If you’re looking for a job, have a gripe about their environmental responsibility, need to find a dealer who might help you decide which model to purchase, or otherwise want the general company overview, you’re best bet is www.volkswagen.com, or if you own a small business, www.volkswagen-vans.co.uk.

Volkswagen & The Beetle

And then, Volkswagen build this little number called ‘The Beetle’. Most importantly regards this discussion is that the car is designed for a very specific type of consumer. We know who they are. Volkswagen know who they are, there’s science in there from the shape of the bodywork through to the way its personality is communicated.


Enter the need for a product website that understands the buying motivations of the target consumer, tells the product story in a way that resonates with them, and keeps them engaged with all that lifestyle ideology: www.beetle.com.

3. Everybody’s doing it

We’re not talking about building mobile apps on a whim or hours spent spluttering on social media with no clear objectives in mind here. There are a wealth of credible examples of product websites having strategic, creative and commercial objectives.

Sony Playstation

An example of when a product in a company’s set is specifically designed for a type of user is the product website for Sony Playstation. No cross-selling at all, the ‘SONY’ name is there for branding purposes only. Even the brand logo does not link to their core website. This is somewhat different to…



The iPhone section on apple.com looks like a product website. Acts like one too. However, if you’re in the market for an iPhone, you’re likely somewhat religious and on some level willing to buy into a MacBook Air and and an iPad to boot. In essence, Apple has created micro-sites within their core site that focus our attention on the product (together with all associated options and accessories) while allowing easy access to other products. This mirrors the universal appeal of their product set. There’s a clear distinction between the way Sony and Apple present their products to us online.


Verizon Wireless

The USA communications giant Verizon has separated its mobile business from the core website housing residential and commercial TV and fixed-broadband services. Regards the mobile offering, it needs to appeal to a youth and NetGen audience who will be ‘mobile first’ brand entrants. More importantly, perhaps, is the vast array of options available to a consumer as a mobile customer; think prepay vs. postpay, devices (phones/tablets et al), services such as mobile broadband, accessories, customer support, account log-in and payment/top-up. Suddenly, attempting to contain this within a core website with other products fighting for attention throws up comprehension issues.


From a branding perspective, little changes on what is in essence a product website;  with the exception of the URL itself. In fact, the website is integrated (as per Apple) into the wider experience, again suggesting that Verizon fixed broadband customers are likely to be open to mobile products too. However, all ‘support’ channels, for example, are focused on the mobile offering. Better user experience, better brand control.

Skype & Microsoft

For a likely number of reasons, Microsoft-owned Skype is actually a product website. OK, so it started off as a totally separate entity, but interesting to view how it now sits within the wider Microsoft offering. In fact, you might consider that Skype acts to give credibility to other Microsoft products in it’s footer; for those who care to scroll that far. The point is that the Microsoft logo isn’t up there in flashing lights for a reason, and that again comes down to understanding the audience.


WorldPay Zinc

And then there’s the strategic use of product websites in a B2B context. WorldPay is a leading provider of electronic and online payment facilities. Their product range covers all sizes of customer from SME through to leading multinational organisations, including airlines.

Big business. Too big for me and my company? Probably. And that is why there is a ‘separate’ product. WorldPay Zinc allows anyone from the local plumber to a 3-chain restaurant to take mobile payments easily with simple set-up. It’s a proposition for a unique type of smaller business user so the product website has none of the scary stuff associated with large-scale industry ecommerce, and with the main (very corporate) website removed from all mention.



We developed a product website for ‘tdsvisitor’, a visitor management solution that now has a global reach, with companies such as Google using the platform in 52 countries. Other multinational organisations are now showing interest. Our role as their design and branding agency was give ‘tdsvisitor’ it’s own hero brand that would better represent the tdsvisitor solution as a stand-alone product.


Accordingly, our strategy involved developing a focused product website (tdsvisitor.com) that presents only the absolute information required for facilities to understand and consider the product without the distraction of other products in the tds armoury.

Like with Sony and WorldPay, we only reference the tds core brand because, regards the end-user’s agenda, understanding the company’s rich foundation and heritage in the facilities security industry is actually secondary to “what is this specific product and what will it do for me”. That’s the hook. The rest is a process of due diligence through which the history of tds may or may not be an influential factor for the purchaser.

View the tdsvisitor product branding case study here.

So what about technical issues related to product websites?

Frankly, all issues surrounding the number of web properties any one organisation should have is a matter of strategy from both branding and commercial perspectives.

There is no denying that things changed and end-users now demand relevancy and far more engaging experiences online. In a world where competing for customer attention and time are arguably the key barriers, gone are the days when a ‘microsite’ would confuse the wider brand proposition in the digital space. For many organisations with diversifying portfolios, product websites are now a prerequisite.

Once carefully considered and constructed with the end-user in mind, it’s actually relatively straight forward to understand how multiple website properties are positioned in the wider digital footprint, how they communicate with target consumer groups, and what relationship they have with one another – and that includes technical aspects such as search engine optimisation and multiple marketing/data touch-points.


Maximum Meaning, Minimal Means

There is currently an Abram Games exhibition on at the Jewish Museum in London. While I may not get to go the exhibition, his work has left a lasting impression on myself and many designers. His manifesto – Maximum Meaning, Minimal Means, has depth and substance and is the essence of what we strive for – creating solutions for clients that embody visual ideas; ideas that motivate audiences – executed with brand ownership in a simple and crafted manner. Games’ manifesto leverages not only the aesthetics but the messaging – addressing the fact that messaging needs to be relevant, understandable and have purpose.

Too many designers create work that focuses on the minimal rather than the messaging. This minimal Swiss approach has a role and a purpose in many communications, but generally adopts a ‘less is more’ approach rather than maximum meaning with minimal means. Games broke new ground by creating striking propaganda posters through iconic images of modernism and optimism. Looking at designers from the past (recent and distant) a common theme is their ability to interpret messages into striking communications that created a sense of time, culture and craft; they had their client in mind, an audience to engage and a responsibility to themselves in creating work that they were proud of.

Games’ innovative approach, often looking at negative subjects in a positive manner is an inspiring take on how we should approach our work.

Hopefully I will get to go the exhibition before January 4th.

Banking with taste

Here in Ireland, food and drink has always played a large part in all our lives – but in recent years it has become more important than ever in terms of the economy. Ulster Bank has watched this growth and change with interest, analysing the special industry requirements and unique business needs of this sector, and in response, has developed a suite of products and supports specifically for ‘Food & Drink’ businesses across the island of Ireland. As Ulster Bank’s branding partner, our task was to bring these to life in a meaningful and engaging way.

Food & Drink is part of a suite of propositions that Ulster Bank has developed for SMEs, which includes specific support for those just starting out, i.e. Start-Ups as well as those in the Agri sector. Given the natural element of cross-over between these 3 areas, we needed to ensure that the marketing collateral we developed felt part of the same family, whilst clearly signalling Ulster Bank as a credible player who understands the needs of the SMEs within the Food & Drink industry, ultimately positioning Ulster Bank as the ‘bank of choice’ within the sector.

Food and drink is a very emotive industry and the focus on quality, care and attention given to the produce is key. The choice of imagery and copy taps into the passion and dedication of business owners in this sector, and elevates Ulster Bank’s intimate understanding of just what Food & Drink businesses need from their banking partner to help their businesses grow and achieve their full potential.

Agri-packaging with personality

Devenish Nutrition are a market leading agri-technology company, that specialise in developing and providing nutritional solutions to challenges faced by livestock producers across the globe.

As part of a larger branding project, we were asked to specifically look at their packaging and provide a design solution which would elevate their market leading status and bring the range together with a consistent look and feel.

A key part of the new packaging design is the introduction of a graphic agricultural landscape, which provides a dynamic element to the pack whilst grounding it in a familiar environment.

Colour-coding through the landscape and colour blocking on the sides of the bags allows for the different products to be easily recognised in a warehouse whilst giving each product brand a degree of personality in its own right. The design is completed with a visual of the animal range in question to allow for quick reference in product store.

Finally a quality seal device was developed to represent the IP that is present across certain products under the ‘DeviCare’ offer.

ICAD Upstarts at RichardsDee

UPDATE: MAKING WAVES: 2014 ICAD Upstarts Exhibition 7th to 9th November 2014…

Post from September 2nd, 2014:

Last night we hosted the annual ICAD Upstarts – a fantastic programme by ICAD to mentor and challenge those looking to get into the industry or improve their skills.

We set a brief last week on the creation of a Third Wave Coffee brand, and last night was the show and tell (and critique).

Considering that the team has full time jobs and just seven days to complete (four of you went to EP), the effort, quality of thinking and execution by everyone involved in ICAD Upstarts was excellent.

The ICAD Upstarts presented us with interesting illustrations, strong brand names, well thought out design ideas and a genuine enthusiasm for what they were doing – inspiring stuff!

We were delighted to be invited to participate and host ICAD Upstarts 2014. We are also pleased that we can give our time back to the industry – something that we believe is extremely important.

Ice Bucket Challenge & the power of belonging

Image via Good News Network

What the #icebucketchallenge can teach us about the power of belonging

Greta Garbo may have famously said “I want to be alone” but in the human psyche nothing could be further from the truth. We all want to belong – to our families, our group of friends, our teams, society at large.

The ALS/ MND campaign is a perfect illustration of this. I have watched with interest over the last few weeks, as the campaign continues to snowball, to a point where people are now starting to criticise the campaign’s high profile takeover of their Facebook and Twitter feeds.

Whilst no-one is denying how great the ice bucket challenge has been to raise awareness of a lesser known disease area, it seems there are now calls for people to donate in humility without the accompanied social media post.

But cynicism aside, these people are overlooking the fundamental reality that we humans are social animals. In the hierarchy of needs, we search for community; we need to fulfil our urge to belong, so to donate without pouring the obligatory bucket of water over our heads and recording the jest for all to see disconnects us from the cause. It’s about being part of something.

So, what lessons from the ice bucket challenge can be applied to branding?

Wise brands tap into that universal desire for community by inviting people to participate in a larger story that in turn gives them a sense of shared identity. Feelings are the catalyst for action, and storytelling is the perfect vehicle to engage people’s emotions. Wise brands use the power of storytelling to make their customers care about them – give them a reason to want them, love them and champion their cause – something we’ve discussed before in relation to creating compelling fundraising campaigns and not for profit digital communications.

Apple is often held up as the gold standard in branding for many reasons, but which other phone manufacturer has people queuing around the block, in multiple countries, even camping out the night before to get their hands on the latest handset? The desire to be part of the Apple community is a strong one.

P&G’s “Thank You Mom” 2012 Olympic campaign was a defining moment in emotional connection. From the early morning wake-up calls to the training sessions in subzero temperatures, years of steadfast devotion 
were jam-packed into 30 seconds. In that half-minute, P&G went from being a faceless multinational to winning the hearts of countless parents across the globe, turning them into customers for life.

From advertising campaigns that demonstrate that nobody understands you better, to NikeiD putting you in the driving seat of product design and Coca-Cola’s product-led ‘Share a Coke’ campaign, the ways in which you can involve your target audience with your brand are many and varied. They all have one thing in common though: they celebrate individuality as part of a wider community.

To find out how RichardsDee can help you build a deep connection with your target audience, click here…

Sport Sponsorship: Open for Business?

Growing up in a house of sports fanatics, I vicariously became a bit of a fan myself. But these days my interest lies more in the the sport sponsorship and branding side of things, rather than whether Rory McIlroy bogeyed the 1st or not.

With the football over and the British Open Golf Championship nicely wrapped up by Rory, I found myself mesmerised by the number of sponsors (or Patrons as they are known) and I ask myself the question, “does sport sponsorship deliver?” With Patrons of “The Open” such as Doosan, HSBC, MasterCard and Rolex surely it must.

Some might say sport sponsorship is one of the least targeted parts of a marketing plan, but not if it is part of your brand story. Your job as a sponsor is not to involve people in your brand story; it is to involve your brand in theirs.

A brand’s sponsorship strategy and activation initiative must focus on delivering valuable fan experiences that enhance peoples’ enjoyment of their favourite sports. In this way, sponsorship becomes a product that delivers a powerful service benefit and by extension, has a precious halo effect for the brand in question.

So brands need to ask themselves:

  • How can we add value to the event experience or brand experience for attendees?
  • How can we leverage brand exposure for non-attendees (media audiences, customers, etc.)?
  • How can we extend the brand experience?
  • Are we doing anything that diminishes that experience or distracts them?

This leads me back to the infamous Tiger Woods conundrum. Having been fined more times for swearing than all other members of the PGA Tour combined and that “club throwing” incident at the US Masters, is he a valuable use of Nike’s sponsorship funds? You bet he is, as Nike continues to show him the money.

Actually the case of Tiger Woods is an interesting one. In many cases, you could argue that a brand aligning itself too closely to a key personality is a bit like putting all your eggs in one basket. It’s is a risky strategy as humans, we are all fallible. But risks can be managed if a brand has a smart strategy. Nike for example, has always focused on Tiger Woods the golfer (unlike other sponsors such as Gillette who have played up his clean image) and aligned the brand’s efforts around his sporting prowess.  As such when Tiger Woods, the man, caught the headlines for all the wrong reasons, they were able to compartmentalise the short-term storm around his infidelity, and even used the high media value to launch an entirely new product line in the process.

Perusing the list of Open Patrons, I noted the absence of alcohol and tobacco products. While this comes as no major surprise, the industries continue to sponsor some of the world’s biggest sporting events. Interestingly just recently the RaboDirect Pro 12 rugby (cider makers Magners were their predecessors) has been renamed the Guinness Pro 12. The IRFU has been quoted as saying that sponsorship generates €9m annually for the sport and there have been warnings a clampdown would damage Ireland’s hopes of hosting the Rugby World Cup in 2023.

But what I’m sure you really want to know is whether sport sponsorship changes perceptions of your brand in the way that you are trying to influence it. Whether you have increased preference, purchase, intention or loyalty.

The alternatives available as to how individuals spend their free time and the brands they are exposed to have become limitless. While it took years for some Marketing Managers to recognise that simply putting their brand on a t-shirt or on the backdrop of a winners’ podium wasn’t the best use of resources, smarter Marketing Managers realised that it takes more than this. It is about your brand story. Finding ways to stand out is no longer an option but a necessity.

The brand story goes beyond what’s written on your website or your brand on the winners’ podium at The Open. Your story isn’t just what you tell people; it’s also what they believe about you based on the signals your brand sends.

Everything you do, each element of your brand, from the colours of your brandmark and the quality of your packaging or business cards, to the staff you employ is part of your brand story and every element should reflect the truth about your brand. So if you get this right and align yourself with the right sponsorship, then the answer to my question is: yes, sports sponsorship does deliver as long as your brand story is strong.

While I may not be glued to all the major sporting events this year, I’ll certainly be looking at the brands on show. In full swing, you could say.

Related: Brandjacking or Official Sponsors – who comes out on top?

Brandjacking or Official Sponsors – who comes out on top?

Unless you are living in a vacuum, you will be more than aware that football’s biggest event, the World Cup is now in full swing and as such the world’s “greatest sporting spectacle” will be filling media channels and social platforms for days on end …the irony of that statement and this blog post is not lost on me! So, quick question – can you name the official sponsors?

The Beautiful Game’s flagship platform attracts huge audiences across the globe and big brands pay handsomely for exclusive association. But inevitably there will be some brands that don’t want to pay the millions of euros for sponsorship rights and will nonetheless seek to benefit from the associated publicity. These brand owners will have spent months furiously devising guerilla marketing and advertising campaigns to cash in on the buzz and hype in the hope of riding along on the brand equity of the event. Welcome to brandjacking.

Brandjacking, as it has been coined (a combination of brand and hi-jacking), can take many different forms.

One of the highest profile cases comes from the last World Cup in 2010 where Nike managed to ambush close competitor and official sponsor, Adidas. Nike’s World Cup campaign was composed of a suite of three-minute sporting biographies of football’s superstars, highlighting their triumphs as well as their failures. And what a triumph it was for Nike. In a matter of days the global football community was convinced that Nike was the official sponsor of the tournament and without having to pay a single dollar to the World Cup’s governing body, FIFA.

More recently in the London Olympics in 2012, Nike were at it again. On this occasion, they launched a global TV campaign tied to the Olympics opening ceremony, in which amateur athletes competed in places around the world called London. There were runners in London, Ontario, cyclists in London, Nigeria and shots from London, Ohio and Little London in Jamaica. Just none from “the” London.

Another example from the London Games is the headphone brand Beats by Dr Dre, who again didn’t advertise through the official channels but instead gave out free headphones to the athletes in the hope they would wear them track side and be seen on camera doing so.

brandjacking-strongbowUK cider brand, Strongbow focused their efforts on one high-profile event, the 100-metre race, and celebrated Usain Bolt’s victory with an unbranded tribute to the Olympic sprinter. Instant copy changed from Earn It before the race, to Earn(ed) It after the race accompanied by their trademark archer symbol taking up a pose not too dissimilar to the world-recognised lightening bolt pose. A clever, recognisable and timely tribute that allowed Strongbow to punch above its weight.


Google is another brand that has mastered the art of association. To the best of my knowledge the brand wasn’t an official partner of London 2012, but that didn’t stop them doing a series of sport related doodles and games, a theme they are continuing for this year’s World Cup.

But brandjacking isn’t exclusive to high profile, global events and neither does it require big budgets. One of the most memorable cases for me was by Shelter, a charity campaigning to end bad housing and homelessness across England and Scotland. Back in 1994 and with a limited budget, Shelter block booked all the outdoor media at Earls Court tube station for the duration of the Ideal Home Show. In an attempt to highlight the disparity between the insatiable appetite (at the time) for DIY and home improvement and the plight of children affected by bad housing, Shelter hi-jacked the aspirational nature of the Ideal Home Show brand to create the Un-ideal Home Show with posters of squalid living conditions. The organisers of the event were far from pleased, but the “stunt” was a huge success, and achieved national PR coverage elevating the charity’s work to new audiences.

So if hijacking the news can be so very powerful, how come hundreds of great opportunities consistently pass brands by? It obviously has little to do with the cost factor, given the fact the evidence that assertive actions by brands such as Nike have paid off handsomely. Mostly it comes down to time and having a set-up that allows the brand to be react and respond to real time events, as they are fresh in people’s minds. A brand that surpasses itself in this sphere is Paddy Power. They have an ‘always on’ approach when it comes to opportunities, big and small, local and national, to getting their brand talked about – with both positive and negative results.


So what can brands do to protect themselves, or alternatively position themselves to steal someone else’s thunder?

Enter the web

In today’s world, the Internet and social media are rewriting the rules of marketing. With these tools, people have more outlets to talk about big events in advance. As a result the opportunities to associate your brand from an early stage are limitless.

Plan early

Whilst you might not be able to own the conversation, you can at least start it. Starting the conversation allows you to insert yourself into it.

Be clear

Subtlety does no one any favours in guerilla marketing. Your audience has to understand the association straight away.

The ‘wow’ factor

Producing high quality content with a compelling story and a strong creative idea will gain impact and encourage people to talk about it and share.

On a final note, whilst brands clearly benefit from association with such high-profile events, there are questions to be asked around the wider impact going forward. High profile sponsors suffered a backlash from the Sochi Winter Olympics; as aligning themselves to the event was seen by some to be condoning certain views or actions expressed by the host nation. Even now looking to the next world cup questions are being asked about working conditions in Qatar.

Perhaps going forward, brands will need to evaluate sponsorship opportunities not only in terms of exposure but also in terms of aligned brand values and behaviours to ensure the true value of the association is maximised.

To learn more about your brand positioning when it comes to events and sponsorship, feel free to contact us: amanda@richardsdee.com / +353 1 662 4472


5 steps to developing a compelling fundraising campaign

We live in challenging economic times. Everyone is having to tighten their belts, from corporate organisations to the general public. There is increasing competition and pressure to capture the public’s attention, not just from other charities but also from an increasing number of commercial brands behaving like charities (e.g. TOMs). So how do you make sure your fundraising campaign gains cut-through and motivates audiences to donate?

Here are 5 simple steps to help frame your fundraising campaign and maximise your results:

1. When developing a fundraising campaign, think like your audience

Don’t think from the organisation out – think from the general public in.

Think like your target audience and you’ll raise more money by creating a message that appeals to their interests, not just those of your organisation. Here are three simple tips for thinking more like your target audience:

 1. Talk to them.

You should be talking with your audience frequently. Survey them once a year to find out what interests them most. Engage with them on Facebook and Twitter. Ask them more about why they support your organisation. What they tell you will give you a good idea of which messages resonate the most with them. Use this to inform your fundraising campaigns.

2. Be informed by their online behaviour.

Find out which messages resonate best by monitoring which emails and web content generate the most interaction. If your audience is clicking on content and responding by taking action or donating, that message is engaging them.

3. Remember the iceberg metaphor.

Whilst every activity and programme you undertake is important, not all of them will help get money in. Your current and potential supporters are usually inspired and interested in only a small portion of the work your organisation actually does. Make that the focal point of your campaigns. What topic is at the top of the iceberg for your cause? Make sure you use that front and centre in your messaging.

2. Tell a story

Now that you know which messages are resonating most with your audience, tell them a story that helps make those messages come alive. Create an emotional connection and share stories that illustrate your impact within the community. If your reader or listener is not emotionally engaged in your story, you don’t have a story.

Personal connections and stories have a big effect on giving. If you’ve got them, share them.

Also tap into human psychology. People are conformists by nature, and we take cues about how to think and what to do from those around us. Social norms fuel entire industries. Would the fashion world be able to motivate us to buy a narrower tie or a longer skirt this year if we didn’t care what people think? A coordinated campaign can help supporters feel like they’re tapping into something bigger.

Count your community: Show how many people have taken action to create a sense of a growing community of like-minded people.

Use testimonials: Quotes from people talking about why they support you are powerful. Other people are often your best messengers.

3. Answer the “what & how” questions

Given the sheer scale of what needs to be achieved and the costs involved, people can often think that the little they could contribute would be a drop in the ocean and wouldn’t make an impact, resulting in them not giving at all.

Research has shown that the evidence of the impact donations make, along with a personal connection to a cause, is the biggest influence in giving to charity. Donors now want more evidence of the impact a charity is having on the communities they serve. It’s also important that they are told how their donation contributes to the charity’s on-going work.

Key questions to answer:

  • What are you campaigning for?
  • What makes you different from the other organisations?
  • What will my donation be spent on?
  • How will my donation make a difference?
  • How can I get involved?
  • How do I donate time and/or money?

Ensure you have a clear and concise call to action. Remember the act of giving is immediate. Give your supporters the opportunity to act here and now.

4.  Be credible

A case for giving must be credible. When an organisation is small and funding efforts are grassroots based — asking 1,000 people for donations of €10 — your communications can be less sophisticated. But if you want to target the big hitters and corporate sponsors for substantial donations and support, you have to demonstrate that you are reliable, credible and astute enough to trust.

Present yourself consistently. It is vital for charities to harness the power of brand and the growing number of communications channels to provide existing and potential supporters with tangible benefits of what you are achieving. A consistent approach maximises your organisation’s impact and makes the most of limited resources.

5. Make it channel appropriate

Now that you have framed your case for giving, be sure to compile these elements in the appropriate format for the different marketing channels. The following can provide you with a rough guide: –

1,000+ Words: Direct Mail Piece

Include all of the elements we’ve covered so far.

300 Words: Website article

Take your direct mail piece and apply some basic webpage rules. For Search Engine Optimisation, your article should be more than 300 words. The title of the article should contain the keyword for the campaign and be used throughout the article. For further search engine visibility, include sub-heading labels (h2 & h3) and add a meta description to the article and any images you use in it.

250 to 300 Words: Email Appeal

Include all of the elements above, but make them shorter and punchier. Remember: People don’t read emails – they skim them. Increase open-rates with a snappy subject line and improve click-through-rates with a simple and clear call to action in the email itself.

50 Words: Home Page Feature

Include a great photo, what for, how, why now and credibility graphics.

15 Words: Facebook Post

Include a great photo, what for, how, why now. Focus on getting your Facebook audience to take the next step with a clear call to action and/or close with a leading question to encourage discussion.

10 Words: Twitter Post

Include why now and what for. Your aim is to inspire your Twitter followers to share and click through or post a reply, so again consider the use of a question.

It is only by “making real” your organisation’s mission and results that you will be able to retain supporters as well as acquiring new ones.

At RichardsDee we understand the many and varied challenges faced by Not for Profits, both big and small. With specialist experience in this sector, we can help your organisation gain recognition in a crowded space, stay relevant with internal and external audiences and build long-lasting relationships with your supporters. View our work in the not for profit sector to see how we could help you.

Melbourne’s Street Art

Having recently returned from Melbourne after living there for twelve years, I thought I would share with you my love for Melbourne street art. For those who haven’t visited, Melbourne is a cosmopolitan city full of art and style. It is brimming with fabulous galleries and exhibitions and there’s always something to go and see. But one of its hidden artistic secrets lies not in a gallery or exhibition space, but on the walls of its ever-changing streets and lane ways.

The City of Melbourne recognises the importance of street art in contributing to a vibrant urban culture and issues permits for street art sites. Street art includes stencils, paste-ups and murals and does not include graffiti or tagging (writing a name) which are illegal.

The City’s street art has become internationally renowned and has become an attraction for local and overseas visitors experiencing Melbourne’s creative vibe.

You’ll often walk by the laneways and catch a glimpse of tourists snapping away at Melbourne’s beloved hidden treasures. So put the image of tagging or illegal graffiti out of your mind and enter Melbourne’s streets and laneways for a truly inspiring experience.

Here is a list of my top three:

1. Hosier Lane

Image: melbournewalks.com.au

The bluestone-cobbled lane is located opposite the Melbourne landmark of Federation Square in the City. Artists such as HA-HA, DrewFunk and Klara appear on the lane’s multi-coloured walls, over layer-upon-layer of previous artwork. In the lane are a couple of cool little bars and restaurants that make visiting the lane even more enticing.

2. Union Lane

Image: melbournewalks.com.au

Located just off Bourke Street Mall which is the main retail street in Melbourne, Union Lane comes as a bit of a shock when you first see it. There aren’t any of the usual trendy bars or cafes to attract you in, but it is breathtaking. Just about every piece of wall is covered by a giant mural, which measures about 550 square metres.

3. ACDC Lane

Image: travel.cnn.com

Named after the world-famous Australian rock-band, ACDC Lane is another Mecca of street art in the City. It has the name of being the “black-sheep” of the Melbourne street art world, due to its somewhat dark works.

Most of Melbourne’s street artists are part of a studio called Blender Studios. Set-up in 2001, it (and its walls) are a major creative hub with many of the artists trialling their work on the building’s walls. Located in Franklin Street in the City’s centre, it is well worth a visit too.

Legal street art contributes to a vibrant urban environment and can change continually on a day-to-day to basis. So next time you are heading towards the southern hemisphere, include Melbourne in your itinerary. Sydney may have the Bridge and Opera House, but for a blast of funky creativity, Melbourne’s laneways are the place to be.


Claire Cowley appointed as Account Director

We are delighted to announce the appointment of Claire Cowley as Account Director. Prior to joining us, Claire worked for FutureBrand Melbourne, Blenheim Brand Melbourne and Brand Union Dublin.

Based in Melbourne for 12 years, Claire has vast experience managing projects for brands in Australia (ANZ Bank, Tetley Tea, Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games, Metro Trains Melbourne) and Ireland (eircom, Bailey’s, Rape Crisis Centre). Claire brings to the team her experience working with clients and managing their needs from brief to delivery. This is a great appointment for us as we continue to grow and strengthen our offering.

“This appointment will enable us to strengthen our account management offer. With Claire’s global branding agency experience, clients will benefit from projects being managed with all the necessary detail from conception to realisation,” says Celine Dee, Client Director RichardsDee.

Irish Fundraising Awards supplier of the year nomination!

We’re delighted to learn that we’ve just been shortlisted for ‘Supplier of the Year’ at the Irish Fundraising Awards, 2014.

As the only design and branding agency in the running, the nomination highlights our passion for our work with not for profit organisations.

The Irish Fundraising Awards notes that this award will recognise the best supplier to a non-profit organisation who has delivered exceptional service by assisting fundraisers to meet and exceed their income targets through a range of innovative and competitively priced activities.

We’re really looking forward to the ceremony and to meet other people passionate about their role in the Irish Fundraising sector. The key note speaker on the night is award wining journalist Orla Tinsley who began campaigning for the rights of Cystic Fibrosis in 2005 and was awarded the Rehab Young Person of the Year in 2008. The following year, Orla was named Overall Woman of the Year by Irish Tatler.

Apple doesn’t miss a beat!

So it’s official, Apple is now the proud owner of Beats, the premium headphone and music streaming specialist, which leaves the company with an interesting challenge – how to integrate this high-profile consumer brand into their own very high profile portfolio.

Apple is no stranger to mergers and acquisitions, having made more than 50 major acquisitions over the years, but they’ve all been technology companies with little or no consumer profile. Beats is another animal altogether. Apple have indicated that they will continue selling Beats products under the Beats brand, but what are the long-term brand architecture options?

Apple who?

Often when a bigger brand takes another big brand over, it keeps the new affiliation under the radar. For example, if you go to Skype’s website and look for the Microsoft brand name, it is there, but you have to actively scroll to find it. It features at the very bottom of the page, along with reference to some of Microsoft’s other products, but if you never go below the fold on the website, you wouldn’t be any the wiser. With Microsoft, you could argue that the company’s image in the tech community would alienate those with a natural affinity to the challenger status of a company like Sykpe and impact user numbers. For Apple, taking a similar approach with Beats could also make sense. Until now, Beats has been neutral, not choosing to align itself to one side or the other of the tech divide. As a newly established member of the Apple Empire however, android fans or those who have taken an active dislike to anything and everything Apple, may choose to boycott the Beats brand too.

A hint of Apple

One of the most famous technology campaigns of all time is Intel’s “Intel Inside” proposition, which pioneered the ingredient branding movement. With Beats, Apple could choose to take a similar approach, to both their headphones and music streaming business. Interestingly when Yahoo acquired Flickr back in 2005, the affiliation between the two brands only became obvious when you were invited to “login with Yahoo.” Fast-forward to today and not only do you have to set up an Yahoo account now to ensure continued access to Flickr but the Yahoo tool bar is also a permanent feature at the top of the site, reinforcing the link yet further. This also goes to show that brand architecture can be flexible to reflect the business strategy over time, in this case moving from a subtle association to a more obvious endorsement.

Remember Beats?

A third, albeit unlikely option is that Apple will eventually make the Beats brand completely redundant. From a financial standpoint, this makes some sense – supporting just one brand in the market, as Apple has always done, is generally cheaper than supporting two. This is a common route after acquisitions and in time most people forget the founding brand that preceded it. There is however a strong case to keep Apple and Beats separate – Beats has carved out a niche in a market that Apple doesn’t own or have any legitimacy in currently; the delivery of high-quality sound and music. As with many things, the answer may be a hybrid of the above: marketing some products such as the headphones and speakers under the Beats brand and bringing others into the fold where there is more synergy and natural crossover, for example integrating Beats Music into an enhanced iTunes offer. Only time will tell. Official press release on beatsbydre.com

Adam Clarke appointed as Digital Director

UPDATE: In April, we appointed Adam Clarke as Digital Director. Since that time, Adam has been working with a range of RichardsDee clients on all things digital – including the pan-European roll out of a confectionary brand through social media, product website development for tdsvisitor and digital strategies for a multinational food services organisation.

RichardsDee take a brand level approach to understanding when, why and how you should communicate online. What is your requirement & how can we help?

Through our industry-spanning work with clients of all sizes, we find that most organisations have questions in the following areas:

Digital Footprint:
How does my company appear online? Is there anything we could be doing (better)?

Digital Products:
We need assistance on planning a digital product (such as our website). How do we ensure that it is planned and developed in-line with our brand and delivers on our commercial objectives?

Digital Campaigns:
How should I reach and engage my audience online? How can digital support and maximise an existing communication, campaign or event?

If you would like Adam and the team at RichardsDee to take a look at your business challenge or brand requirement from a digital perspective, please contact us on +353 1 662 4472 or email adam@richardsdee.com

About Adam & RichardsDee:

Adam has over 12 years experience launching and promoting brands online through digital products and services including Danone, Britvic, Jaguar, Topaz, Sage, Bord Gais and Jameson.

Prior to joining us, Adam was a stakeholder at Strategem iLabs where he headed up all client digital strategies and product developments. He has also held senior positions in agencies such as Cawley-Nea/TBWA and Agency.com.

From digital product creation, online media campaigns and social activations; Adam’s key strength is in the development and application of commercial digital strategies. This is a very significant appointment for us as we continue our growth, it strengthens our offering and expertise in all areas of brand building as well as strengthening our senior team. Adam brings with him the right blend of experience, skills and leadership that will help our clients take digital branding to the next level. His extensive experience and expertise will be a fantastic asset to RichardsDee’s growing digital offering.

“The primary role of digital in our industry is to overcome business challenges and deliver growth for clients. I joined RichardsDee because the team are committed to aligning Business and Brand Strategies to create experiences that impact and engage. It is this unique focus on delivering results through expertise, strategy and creativity at brand level that will allow us to create success for clients in the digital realm.” Adam Clarke.

To speak to Adam about upcoming digital projects please call 01 662 4472 or email adam@richardsdee.com

What agencies can learn from Wally Olins

There have been numerous articles written in recent weeks about the passing of the legend Wally Olins. He was a thinker, a challenger, an innovator, a motivator and a pioneer and it is near impossible to assess the impact that Wally Olins has had on businesses and brands over the years. It is also near impossible to estimate the impact he had on folk like me; encouraging me and my ilk to establish branding agencies that are ambitious and have world domination in our sights.

Reading a piece by Wally on why he left advertising in the early 60’s consolidated in my mind why I would work in branding and not advertising as my career progressed. Describing his tenure in the London Ad Agency Geers Gross he said “The work didn’t get to the heart of anything. When you’re thinking about the totality of an organization, an organization doesn’t just communicate through advertising but through its environments, through its products, and through its behaviors—and I wanted to get involved in all that.” A pretty compelling statement to persuade anyone who’s sitting on the branding versus advertising fence.

Indigenous agencies like ours often look to case studies of global giants for insights, inspirations and learnings however there I believe there is more to learn from looking at the man, not the work, in this case. So here are the top six things I’ve learnt from this great man, and will continue to apply to RichardsDee as our brave little agency evolves and grows.

Be Brave
Wally Olins epitimised brave. Outside of taking the brave move and setting up the very first brand and design consultancy in the UK in 1965, he encouraged his clients to be brave. Encouraging British Telecom in 1991 to adopt the logo of the ‘prancing piper’ and rebrand as BT was brave. The launch of Orange was bold. As was persuading Bovis, a British construction company, to adopt a hummingbird (more reflective of tropical islands than the UK) as a brand icon. Was his work controversial? Yes. And was it brave? Very much so. As brand consultants, we can’t sit on our brand laurels. We must be brave and continue to push the boundaries on work and thinking.

Be Direct
Under the ‘What I’m Like’ heading on his blog, Wally describes himself as follows: “I try to be direct and clear. I simply tell my clients the truth as I see it, without too much gloss or varnish because that’s what I’m there for. Of course it’s nice to be nice. But it’s also nice to be straight’. In our game, it’s easy to meet a client and take a brief and deliver very efficiently on that brief. But surely that’s just a hygiene factor in our industry? As brand advisors, it’s incumbent upon us to give our view, challenge our clients and continuously add value to the process.

Be Personable
Anyone that knew Wally would describe him as intelligent and charming with a wicked sense of humour. His colleagues and clients say he ‘was one of those people with whom spending time was an absolute joy’. Even though he defined an entire industry and created a system for how branding projects the world over are approached, he never let his ego grow greater than his ability to connect with people on a real basis.

Be Great
His work challenged industries, his recommendations challenged clients’ views and opinions. But he was also not afraid to challenge the industry he loved so much. In 2009 he created much controversy referring to the larger design consultancies as “machines devised to produce mediocre rubbish” and calling some of their actions “despicable”. He carried his ethos of delivering great work into Saffron, an agency that continues to punch above its weight against the world’s largest and longest established firms.

Be Benevolent
Outside of the extensive work he conducted within the Not For Profit space, he was well known for his personal generosity and optimism. Saffron describe him as follows ‘Whether advising a young student looking for advice on getting ahead in branding or advising presidents on ways to enhance their nation’s brand, Wally was always willing to give more than he expected to receive’. There’s a lesson in this for all of us. Whether it’s in the nurturing of interns within our agencies or subsidizing work for Not For Profit organisations, we can all be doing more.

Be True To You
Wally was an advocate of everything being “on brand” and he applied brand thinking cities, countries, people, museums, Not For Profit organisations and people. However he always maintained he never applied his branding principles to himself. Be that the case or not, outside of his massive contribution to branding, his bow tie, thick-rimmed spectacles, bright check shirts will never be forgotten.

London’s Third Wave Scene

After a few days exploring the coffee scene in London, it is apparent that third wave coffee is influencing drinking habits, mainstream coffee offerings and where to hang.

From the industrial design inspired coffee houses Ozone, Allpress and Shoreditch Grind, to the design cues of Workshop, Tonic and Rapha, it is apparent coffee takes centre stage. The minimal image references to the product and its source demonstrates a confidence in their coffee expertise. Where Starbucks and Costa saturate their environments with scene setting coffee graphics, trying to reassure customers that they know coffee, the third wave spaces let the baristas and product tools do the talking.

A visit to chain Harris + Hoole in London Bridge demonstrates the influence of the variation of coffee making styles, with Aeropress’s , V60’s and information on the make up of their blend clearly on display. What Harris + Hoole offers is clearly mainstream, satisfying the office workers, but the merchandising and sharing of coffee information confirms that interest and a quality experience is high on the agenda.

From Look Mum No Hands to Timber Yard, professionals looking for a third space or free wifi encourage spaces that have little buzz. The sound of keyboards or the hissing of headphones have made these spaces an extension of the office. Spaces that did have buzz included Workshop and Ozone and what set these apart was the hum, smell and theatre of the roasting machines confirming their passion for coffee.

At Benugo Espresso Bar in Kings Cross it was a chance to taste a cold brew coffee, a passing fad or drink to catch on? The coffee was refreshing and sweeter, served in glasses. The bar had a continental style that would not look out of place in the grand arcades of Milan. An interesting design feature within the environment was the espresso machine on the customer side of the floor rather than on the counter. This gave a great sense of pride and sharing to the making of coffee, enabling all customers to get up close and personal with the barista.

Kaffiene, Flat White, Speakeasy, The Borough Barista are refreshingly simple spaces. Where most food retailers look to the great markets of Europe for inspiration in design, these coffee shops have created spaces where the barista is king and the counter is center stage, no need for hessian sacks or crates here.

Where a coffee shop roasts their own blends, these are sold in brown bags with applied labels or minimally styled pre packed bags elevating a sense of craft, freshness and passion for the product.

A number of these coffee shops are boutique in their purpose but the ability to now get a good cappuccino without chocolate on top or to pop down to your local for a bag of beans will influence the big three, putting gentle pressure on them to enhance their product, environment and service.

The importance of defining the problem

The sheer focus that is put on the big idea is often the reason people struggle with the notion of creativity. Creativity has to have a purpose. It has to be useful and most of all it has to have a point of difference. People often think they want an idea – a really big idea, but what they want is a solution and they are not always the same thing.

Last week I hotfooted it across to London town for a one-day training course focusing on creative thinking and how to approach pitch presentations differently. As both are hugely important in agency life, I was eager to see how the day would pan out.

Both speakers, Gordon Brown of Brain Juice Training & Tessa Morton of The Tessa Morton Partnership, were excellent and inspiring in their own ways, but the one thing that resonated with me the most was the area of creativity and how, in our day-to-day lives, creativity seems to be focused on idea generation.

That’s normal you may say, after all, every agency and his dog claim to be all about the big idea. And yes, it is an important part of the process, but that’s just it. Creativity is a process, not a thing or an innate trait of the gifted few. And idea generation is, and should be treated as, one part of that process, not the be all and end all of it.

The ideal process according to Gordon Brown can be broken down into 3 steps: definition, generation and implementation.

The sheer focus that is put on the big idea is often the reason people struggle with the notion of creativity. Creativity has to have a purpose. It has to be useful and most of all it has to have a point of difference. Ideas that don’t deliver a benefit, inventions that fail to address a need, innovation that leads to a poor result are all too common. It can be an idea, but it often isn’t. Is can be invention or innovation, but again it often isn’t.

People often think they want an idea – a really big idea, but what they want is a solution and they are not always the same thing.

Ask yourself this question: what’s easier to answer – ‘what is 5 x 5?’ or ‘what is the answer to life, the universe and everything?’

In agency life, we often get asked ‘life, the universe and everything’ questions – ‘How can our brand become a global leader?’ ‘How can our business be more profitable?’ ‘How can we obtain more loyal customers?’ For each of these questions there are a multitude of answers. The secret is to turn the ‘life, universe and everything’ questions into a ‘5 x 5’ questions – or at least get as close as you can i.e. define it tightly enough and the answers become easier.

Let’s try a little exercise…relax, I won’t be asking for any volunteers through this medium! But I do want you to be honest with yourself at the end.
You have 10 minutes to build a free-standing tower, made from 3 pieces of paper and which at its highest point, is the furthest from the floor as possible. Off you go now…

…Finished? Great, well done. Now tell me this, how many of you reached for the paper straight away (even virtually?) and were rolling and folding the paper to within an inch of its life to explore the options? And how many took time to re-read the exercise and plan how best to approach it? I would suggest that it was the former. It certainly was in the room in London.

And therein lies the point. We are all guilty of not spending enough time defining the problem or the market need, instead we dive straight into idea generation. You may argue, that that’s the fun bit, that’s what the client is most interested in. Both true, and yet the more focus we can put on each step, the more chance we have of successful creative thought and action.

The moral of the story is: no matter how much time you are currently spending defining the problem or need, it’s not enough. If you can crack the definition stage, your chances of hitting the jackpot on the subsequent stages are so much greater.

Define the problem, identify the best idea and implement it well.

I’ll leave you with a little anecdote you are probably already familiar with but one that illustrates the importance of definition. In the 1960s, the Americans had been tasked with putting a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth. When they got into space, they found that their pens didn’t work. The ink simply floated around and refused to come out. To address this issue, it is said that a considerable amount of time and dollars were invested into a project that produced the ‘Space Pen’ – a pen that had a small gas canister to push the ink out – clever idea. On the other side of the iron curtain the USSR had the same problem. Their answer, a pencil, cost zero days and zero dollars of investment.

What was the question the Americans asked themselves? – “How can we make a pen write in space?” And the Russians? – “How can we write in space?” Just three words of difference in defining the problem…and thousands of man-hours and millions of dollars in creating the wrong solution.

So to summarise what I learnt:

  • Beware ‘life the universe and everything’ questions, try and make them ‘5 x 5’ questions.
  • How long did you spend defining the issue? If you think you spent too little time, you’re probably right.
  • Is the issue explained in clear and simple language? Clear and simple takes time.
  • Can you sum up the issue in one sentence? If you can’t then you haven’t defined it tightly enough.

Enabling Social Impact Campaign takes gold at the Irish Sponsorship Awards

We are delighted that Ulster Bank won the Best Cause Sponsorship Award last week for the ‘Enabling Social Impact Campaign’, a campaign we developed the strategy, creative, copy and communications for.

Ulster Bank Social Impact Award

We were approached by the team at Ulster Bank to develop a campaign to support the brand’s sponsorship of The Wheel Conference. The Wheel is an annual event that brings the Not For Profit community together delivering the latest thinking about the community’s work to deliver positive social change.

Ulster Bank commissioned research to better understand how to meet the needs of the sector. We distilled the research into a key insight; that all NFP’s irrespective of lifestage or age are bonded by a common goal, that of making a difference, or creating social impact. Ulster Bank have long been committed to Not For Profits in Ireland and continue to offer support, information and products specifically suited to the sector to help facilitate real change. Ulster Bank’s committment to the sector allowed us to create the campaign platform ‘Enabling Social Impact’. The over riding campaign look and feel and messaging was executed across all communications for the event including digital display ads, social media, event brochures, press ads, environmental graphics, a 5 minute video that was played on the day.

Wine Guide Brochure for Value Centre

Completing the Value Centre Wine Guide that will be used by the sales team to promote the great range made us more than a little thirsty!

We made heroes of the wines, elevated the countries of origin, focused on exclusive ranges and brought the Value Centre wine buyer to the fore elevating the wine credentials and expertise associated with the range for 2013.

Craving a glass of vino having finalised our latest wine guide brochure!

Onaware – Brand Identity Development

Onaware is a global leader in delivering specialist identity management services that translate insights into risk reduction strategies for their clients. Our challenge was to create a new brand identity development including: name, identity, look and feel and brand communications for a company who’s vision is to be the most trusted identity management company in the world.

To deliver on the brand identity development, we started with an initial strategic phase establishing the vision, values and personality of the brand, feeding these into the naming stage, brand identity and communications creation.

Through our robust and tested naming process we recommended the name: “Onaware”, meaning always being “On” and always being “aware”.

The new brand identity, based around security, responsiveness and adaptability reflected the positioning and strategy.

The value delivered included:

  • A process that quickly delivered a new brand in a tight time frame
  • A brand platform that enables “Onaware” to act, create and deliver in a consistent manner
  • A new .com name that is meaningful and easy to say
  • A new brand identity that positions “Onaware” as a responsive, trusted and innovative leader within the market place
  • A brand graphic style which is own able and supports the business positioning
  • The business tools for launching a new brand with an impending deadline
  • Naming and brand identity development for a global leader in identity management services

See our Onaware brand development case study here

Delivering new distributors to Bewley’s

We were commissioned by Bewley’s to develop an international customer acquisition campaign.

Customer acquisition campaign strategy

Targeting distributors whose customers had a thirst for authentic brands, we elevated the benefits of stocking Bewley’s in a compelling and engaging way. The piece was fully personalised and contained a letter and brochure. The campaign opened a dialogue with new customers, raised awareness of Bewley’s in new markets and resulted in the acquisition of new distributors.

Having recently completed a successful international customer acquisition campaign for Bewley’s, we’re ready for a cup of tea!

Barcode design – showing barcodes some love

Having recently created packaging for a new range of ready meals that burst with flavor and goodness, we had lots of fun with our barcode design.

While we can’t unveil our packaging yet (it launches in September), we can do a sneak peak of how we translated our idea across the easily forgotten barcode. UPDATE: See our full project case study here

What’s in a bar code design?

Barcodes feature on every single piece of packaging so why not extend the packaging concept into the mostly functional and almost entirely neglected barcodes?

One of our favourite Irish Illustrators Steve Simpson is a real champion of injecting life into barcode design and has done some super work breathing life into these unsung little heroes. So come on, let’s show barcodes some love!

8 Rules for getting a design job interview

Having received over 100 CV’s for a recent design role that we were recruiting for, I was surprised by the lack of preparation, basic communication skills and consideration of presentation by so called “graphic designers”.

As a graphic designer you need to demonstrate that you take responsibility for how you communicate, how your present yourself and your work – it is directly related to your own personal brand image. That includes how and when you go about seeking a design job.

While it maybe disheartening that there seems to be a lack of design jobs, jobs exist yet it doesn’t take much to make the first move so write to agencies on spec, your letter may arrive on the right desk at the right time. But also pay attention to the following guides:

  1. Always address the email to the person, not Dear Sir or To Whom, and also get the name right – my name is not Julie
  2. Never use a default word template, remember you are a designer interested in graphic design. Word is perfectly acceptable to format a CV, but consider the layout, language and fonts – you need to demonstrate a genuine care in typography, creativity and attention to detail.
  3. Always attach your work as a Low Resolution PDF – a 30mb PDF is not acceptable, nor is anything over 8mb come to think of it.
  4. Design your PDF portfolio (remember you are a graphic designer) – present your work in the best possible way and ensure the highest professional standards.
  5. Do not use links to online portfolios – we are time pressured and I think it looks lazy.
  6. Demonstrate work that focuses on the role concerned, i.e. branding designer – show branding work. Refrain from showing a bit of print, a bit of illustration with a bit of photography and a few wedding invites for good measure, it shows lack of quality and focus – unless all of it is brilliant.
  7. Do something different (remember we are in the creative industry), I remember a story of someone being employed because they did a magic trick in their interview – however if you are going to do something different do it really well (the magic trick worked).
  8. Make sure your email works –  I try to answer all emails but don’t blame me if you don’t get a reply because you’ve misspelt your email.

Offset 2013

A few weeks ago our design team had the great pleasure to attend the Offset 2013 conference at the Grand Canal Theatre.

Offset 2013 is a hub of design inspiration and positive energy, fast proving to be a world-class design conference drawing some of the most talented image makers and designers from around the world to speak at our doorstep.

Highlights were delivered by Ji Lee and JR. Ji Lee now Facebook’s creative strategist, showcased a host of impressively pro-active and experimental personal projects to demonstrate that “idea is nothing, doing is everything”. His Bubble Project where he created speech bubble stickers and stuck them to advertisements to encourage the public to add their comments brought him much attention, including this ABC news item in which Ji Lee appears, hilariously disguised which you can see here.

As with most design conferences some speakers were more comfortable on stage than others, and naturally inclined to candidly reveal their journey from humble beginnings to star creative than perhaps others. It stands to reason that the speakers who work in a team or in a busy studio are probably naturally more adept at articulating their thought processes than those that work alone. However, some of the most revealing talks were delivered by lone practitioners who revealed to the audience their earliest influences and shared their creative journey – showing that their styles and approach to their work has developed over time to become more accomplished and confident.

Other great talks that our creative team really enjoyed were of a slew of other brilliant creatives that spoke at this year’s event such as The Stone Twins, Natasha Jen, Bob Gill, Ben Bos, Kate Moross, Ciarán Ó’Gaora, Craig & Karl and many others but hopefully you get the picture.

So there you have it, OFFSET 2013, summed up. A HUGE thanks to the team at The Small Print – Richard and Bren, we’re already counting down the days ‘til OFFSET 2014.

A few weeks ago our design team had the great pleasure to attend the Offset 2013 conference at the Grand Canal Theatre.

Brand Strategist & Innovation Director Appointment with RichardsDee

RichardsDee are pleased to announce the appointment of Amanda Smith as Strategy and Innovation Director (Brand Strategist). Amanda joins us from leading global branding agency Landor.

With over 14 years of international branding experience ranging from large-scale global brands to highly targeted niche marketing, Amanda brings with her a vast knowledge of brand and communication strategies, consumer research and all stages of the creative process, from ideation to implementation.

Brand Strategist and client management consultant

Operating in hybrid strategic consultant and client management role, Amanda will be instrumental in building meaningful strategic and creative approaches to solve specific business and brand issues for all our clients.

This is a very significant appointment for us as we continue our growth, it strengthens our offering and expertise in all areas of brand strategy as well augmenting our senior team,

“This appointment will enable us to strengthen our brand strategy and ?innovation offer, services typically associated with larger and more established agencies. With Amanda’s top-tier global branding agency and brand strategist experience, clients will not only benefit from our “creative” driven approach to brand and business challenges, but also from thought leadership in strategy, planning and consumer insight.” Says Simon Richards – Creative Director