STUDIO / DESIGNER
Design for Good Award
Design Challenge and Design Ideas
The Irish Environmental Network (IEN) approached Lands to develop a campaign to increase Ireland’s marine protected areas (MPAs). It would encompass political advocacy and public awareness, all underpinned by scientific and legal research, for evidence-based MPAs in Irish waters. In general terms, MPAs can be considered to be geographically defined maritime areas that provide levels of protection to achieve conservation objectives. Ireland only has 8.3% of its ocean protected—the goal is to increase this to at least 30% by 2030.
The campaign is a coalition of Ireland’s leading environmental non-governmental organisations (NGOs), Irish Wildlife Trust, BirdWatch Ireland, Coastwatch, Coomhola Salmon Trust, Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, SWAN and IEN. We started by helping to refine the brief and then ran multiple strategy and naming workshops with representatives from the partnering NGOs. We considered what type of language might engage people, so ‘Building a movement of ocean stewardship’ became a central theme. This key concept, we hoped, would energise people and renew their appreciation of the ocean. Justice, truth and fairness were also widely discussed, in that the ocean belongs to everyone and everything—people, marine wildlife and habitats—it should be protected, not exploited. From this process, Fair Seas was the result—its core motivation: to conserve and restore Ireland’s unique marine environment, to campaign for ambitious and robust legislation, provide impartial scientific data and research, and secure a network of effective, well-managed MPAs. Ultimately, the campaign aims to see Ireland become a world leader in marine protection, giving our species, habitats and coastal communities the opportunity to thrive.
From our analysis, we knew the audience would be quite varied—from government departments and officials to fishers and people living in coastal communities to business and educational sectors. The visual identity would need a broad appeal and be flexible enough to carry the different types of communication we would produce. The visual goal for the identity was to capture the campaign’s energy and aspirational quality—to express its scientific approach, expertise and collective spirit, all with a nod to Ireland’s marine heritage.
How the brief was fulfilled
The identity is built around the Fair Seas wordmark. Set in the typeface Dashiell Text, the black weight was the preferred choice for its elegance and large wedge serifs. The mark is contemporary but has more than a hint of nostalgia. It’s combined with a modern, maritime colour palette and dotted wave motif representing the dissemination of information—a key campaign component.
To amplify the campaign message, we created a range of communication pieces, including a scientific report presenting 16 Areas of Interest for MPA designation, a series of infographic posters, a white paper on forthcoming legislation on MPAs in Ireland, illustrated postcards and posters, a legal handbook on expanding MPAs in Ireland, a report on sustainably financing Ireland’s MPA network, a handout documenting Fair Seas’ 10 Key Asks of government, together with various printed and digital promotional assets.
We only specify uncoated recycled paper for our reports and printed assets. Recycling paper with varnishes, laminates or foils is incredibly difficult, and so this type of waste often finds itself in landfill. These finishes can break down into microplastics, leaching into the soil, our waterways, and finally into the sea. The vast amount of plastic in our oceans is of great concern to us, and we’re determined in our own small way not to add to this problem.
Since its launch in 2022, Fair Seas has published over 60 online blogs and articles, built a social media following of 12,000, submitted evidence to the Joint Oireachtas Committee, responded to over ten public consultations, produced two short documentaries, held a World Ocean Day conference in Cork with over 200 attendees and launched its first Ocean Literacy Survey with 2,000 respondents. The campaign also secured Ireland’s first ever Irish Hope Spot, The Greater Skellig Coast, and were the first signatories to the EU Mission Charter to Restore our Oceans and Waters. The campaign has consistently reached more than 1 million people per month through a sustained PR campaign to complement the online engagement.
A beautiful outcome with clear consideration for the depth of information needed to be communicated and how to achieve this in an accessible way."