Red&Grey is a branding and graphic design agency. We combine curiosity, clarity, creativity and play. This makes our clients stand out and helps them grow.

Creativity:

Established in 2003, we’ve worked on a variety of creative projects – big, small, complex and international. Our clients come from a wide range of sectors located in Ireland and around the world.

Awards:

Our creative work has won several awards from ICAD and the IDI. In 2014, we were awarded a Special Outstanding Contribution to Design in Ireland Award for Pivot Dublin.

Process:

Our process is collaborative, research-based and concept driven. Our process connects our Irish strengths (conversation, storytelling, empathy) and our skills as designers (curiosity, imagination and play).

Services

Branding
We create thoughtful, engaging brand identities together with a broad visual language that express who you are and inspire people to think, feel or act in a certain way.

Design for print
Bringing your brand to life through print, campaigns, and advertising. Communicating your brand across platforms projecting a cohesive, tactile and integrated approach to connect and encourage buy in.

Design for online
We design customised websites, social media and digital items that are both functional and immersive, connecting with those that matter most.

Design of spaces
We design carefully considered immersive spaces, exhibitions, events and signage to enhance the value of your brand and business.

Brand research
Discovering everything there is to know about your business, that makes it successful: its knowing it inside out. Here we are digging for gold, to uncover your ‘why’.

Brand strategy
At the heart of every great brand is a defined purpose. Here we give you a compass to strategically position your brand to allow it to meet its goals.

Naming
A core speciality, we create memorable meaningful names that have the power to directly affect your brand’s perception and ultimately its – copywriting.

Art Direction
We believe wholeheartedly in collaboration and work in earnest with complementary experts to activate your brand to achieve the best outcome possible.

Clients:

We enjoy working with like-minded clients. We believe the quality of our client relationships reflects the quality of our work. We like to collaborate with clients, share ideas and co-create.

“Working with Red&Grey is always a pleasure. They are one of the most professional teams I have worked with. They combine strategic and profound thinking with the power of design. They see things from a holistic point of view and are able to capture this in simplistic yet powerful designs and brand identities. What is most telling about them, is that they really worked with me in redefining our company’s new brand strategy.”
Rutger Bonsel, Stamicarbon

Members:

We are members of the Institute of Creative Advertising & Design (ICAD), Institute of Designers (IDI), the 100 Archive and Ibec: Small Firms Association (SFA).

Studio sketches

Doodles, sketches from projects.

Journal

Creativity is key to sweet smell of success

Thank you Sunday Times for featuring Red&Grey this week.

“For many businesses along the western seaboard, the most effective example of design thinking was the launch of Failte Ireland’s hugely successful Wild Atlantic Way. It did not build a single kilometre of road, but instead repackaged 2,500km of existing ones, effectively redesigning the highways and byways of western Ireland as one of the world’s must-see touring routes.

According to Bob Gray of Red&Grey, who developed the initiative’s iconic “wave” branding, design is integral to any enterprise. “Before doing anything, you have to ask yourself how, what and why,” said Gray.”

We base everything we do for clients on a six-word sentence, based on [Ernest] Hemingway’s famous six-word story ‘For sale: baby shoes, never worn’, which answers those three questions.”

From there, companies should seek to develop a unique selling proposition, or USP. “Design is often talked of as a problem solver and it is, but good design is a problem seeker,” said Gray. “It seeks problems out and finds a way to offer different products and services.”

He believes that the current difficult environment brings opportunities, and design thinking is a way to winkle them out for those agile enough “to capture them, open to new ways of doing things, and being quick about it. Businesses are showing that agility”.

Sitting by and waiting for “normality” to be restored is a mistake for many business sectors, Gray believes. “Why would we want to go back to normal? It wasn’t good enough, or fair enough and for many people it wasn’t working properly.

“To borrow [a phrase) from IT, we needed to turn the world off and on again. That’s what the pandemic did.”

Read the full Sunday Times article here

 

IDI Awards 2020

Great to be shortlisted for the IDI Awards 2020. The Institute of Designers in Ireland (IDI) is a professional body that represents and supports the needs of all kinds of qualified designers in Ireland.

We have 4 projects shortlisted in the Visual Communications category:
– BRAND IDENTITY / Olann.
– BRAND IDENTITY / International Literature Festival Dublin.
– DESIGN FOR PRINT / NCAD [Prospectus 2020/21]
– DESIGN FOR PRINT / Drinks Ireland

We are looking forward to the winners announcement later this month.

Viewpoints: Studio #3

100 Archive article on “Viewpoints: Studio”

“I am not a writer. I have no desire to be one. This is not a heavily researched or referenced article. This is a story. It is a short conversation about the idea of a studio, its purpose, how it lives and adapts.

The conversation happened outside the Red&Grey studio on Lennox Street. Three people were present, Stephanie, a barista, Julia, a print maker, me (Bob), a studio owner/partner. Towards the end, a fourth person, Lukas, a designer joined in. The discussion moved between the blurred lines of creative practices, interdisciplinary connections, technological incarceration and the importance of a good cup of coffee.”

Read more here.

100 Archive

Delighted to have 5 project selected for 100 Archive 2019 selection:
E01 Process Book
ILFD 2019 Campaign
NCAD Prospectus 2019
NCAD Recruitment Campaign
Olann Brand Identity

The 100 Archive charts the past, present and future of Irish design by publishing 100 notable communication design projects, selected each year following an open call.

“I am most encouraged by the diversity of active patronage in this year’s entries, with businesses, organisations and individuals of all types seeking, then trusting talented designers to develop and communicate messages to impact, inform, challenge and inspire global, national or local communities”

Jason Wilson-Max,
Facebook, Berlin

Stamp Design – Ancient Postal Routes

An Post issued two stamps on the theme of ‘Ancient Postal Routes as part of a Europe-wide Europa initiative where European postal operators issue stamps on a common theme. We designed these stamps with An Post and illustrator Orlagh Murphy.

Taking inspiration from religious art, using a quadriptych (four quadrant layout), the stamps tell the story of the journey of a letter during the Middle Ages. The National rate (N) stamp shows a medieval monk preparing a letter and then carrying it overseas by boat. The International stamp (W rate) shows the message being carried onward by horseback and the delivery of the message to the recipient, a medieval prioress.

Giraldus Cambrensis was a prolific writer and influential figure in the twelfth century Renaissance, a period of social, political and economic transformation in Europe. He wrote ‘Topographia Hiberniae’ as an account of the landscape and people of Ireland, circa 1188.

Wednesday Chit Chat

Week Fourteen

Theme: Distance
Time: 20:00 PM Dublin
Date: June 24th, 2020

This weeks speakers:
Mick O’Dea, Artist
Elaine Grainger, Artist
Andy Altman, Designer
Gerard Fox, designer/lecturer

Wednesday Chit Chat

Week Thirteen

Theme: Intersection
Time: 20:00 PM Dublin
Date: June 17th, 2020

This weeks speakers:
Kate Nolan, Photographer
Alistan Munroe, Designer
Sarah Gordon, Playwright
Anita Groener, Artist

Wednesday Chit Chat

Week Eleven

Theme: Open
Time: 8pm Dublin time (GMT), that’s 3pm in New York (EST) and 2pm in Minneapolis (CST).

Date: June 3rd, 2020

This weeks speakers:
Áine Byrne, Textile Artist
Jonah King, Film Artist
Oonagh Young, Designer

Wednesday Chit Chat

Week Eight

Theme: Play
Time: 20:00 PM Dublin
Date: May 13th, 2020

This weeks speakers:
Linda Brownlee, Photographer
Max Philips, Typographer
Karl Toomey, Designer
Owen O’Doherty, Architect

Wednesday Chit Chat

Week Six

Theme: Confidence
Time: 20:00 PM Dublin
Date: April 29th, 2020

This weeks speakers:
Ros Duke, Knitwear Designer
Barrett Sheena, Art Curator
John Paul Dowling, NCAD
Lucienne Roberts, Designer, Writer

Join us for a Chit Chat?

Every Wednesday we host a Chit Chat, a short series of shared screen presentation. The presenters range from designers, artists, architects, poets, to educators from around the world.

This week’s topic is Boredom.

Date Wednesday 22 April 2020
8.00 – 8.45pm (Irish time)

Presenters
Andrew Stevens, Graphic Thought Facility
Paul Kelly, Form Native
David Joyce, Language
Boz Temple Morris, Holy Mountain

Email us if you would like an invite.

Your art in safe hands

Thanks to Maurice Ward Art Handling for writing this article about their branding.

Established in 1968, Maurice Ward & Co. Ltd. is a private limited company located in Ireland. We are a second-generation business that for over 50 years have provided global freight forwarding, secure international transport, warehousing, logistics and customs clearance solutions to a range of industries.

In 2008 the Directors, due to their involvement and interest in the Contemporary Visual Arts, as well as, a demand from clients, set up a specialist unit engaged in fine art handling and transport. Maurice Ward Art Handling is an internationally accredited fine art logistics company that on a daily basis works with private collectors, museums and galleries.

In 2009, we wanted our business to attract more customers and become the leading name in art handling. Realising the importance of brand awareness, we were on the hunt for a designer or design firm that could assist with our goals.

More…

We spoke with various designers and through friends, we were recommended to meet with Red&Grey to help us. They are a branding and design studio who like to think differently; creating effective and memorable work which makes their clients stand out. Perfect.

“I knew I had found my team from the first meeting. I immediately clicked with Red&Grey. It was obvious they were talented and fun. There is that moment when you express yourself and your vision for your ‘baby’ and you know ‘they’ get you. It is a relief, you have found a common language, you can stop trying to brand yourself and let consummate professionals do their job and work with you.

Mary Mc Loughlin, Director,
Maurice Ward Art Handling

Our first port of call was working on a sales brochure which we would give to new businesses after a meeting. We wanted to leave private collectors, museums and galleries with something creative and memorable. Red&Grey designed a unique promotional card which featured a rabbit printed on a heavy grey card. This sales card was a real success for us – we received several new business calls and new business after this, from both national and international clients.

From there, Red&Grey created our new branding which made us more consistent, attractive and clear. This really helped us engage with our audience. People started to take notice of our business more – “oh, you’re the guys with the rabbit.” We understood that a brand must be content-driven, visually coherent, inspirational, honest and responsive.
Red&Grey encouraged us to become part of the design process and we did so through communication, collaboration and shared humour.

Through this process, we realised that we wanted to tell the art handling story, so people could understand our services better. We commissioned an illustrator, Orlagh Murphy to draw the art handling journey – from the artist’s studio to the exhibition launch at a New York gallery. Each step of the process was custom drawn; from the collection of artwork, crating, and transport to installation. To have fun, we decided to show a large rabbit sculpture being transported around the world – our customers loved it!

To elevate the brand, professional photography was taken of what we do, the art handling process and our art handlers who are crucial to our service offering. We also collaborated with a copywriter, Henrietta McKervey, who helped us refine our message – “Your art, in safe hands”. Our message was clear with customers, caring for what we are doing, comes first and foremost. This really helped us clarify our message to customers.

“We work in an international market, our clients and colleagues on every continent love our message, our brand, the quality and fun we bring with the brand. Colleagues and customers tell us they love our branding. Our designers have given us great marketing tools, clear and distinctive images and messages that work.”

Mary Mc Loughlin,
Director

Over time we developed the branding, advertising, brochures, exhibitions, notebooks, presentations, promotional materials, social media and stationery. Recently we updated our website (ww.mauriceward-arthandling.com) by making it more user friendly, clarifying the messaging and adding more brand elements – such as illustrations, photography, icons and animations.

One of our favourite projects of 2018 was the mini-booklet we created. We wanted to reduce the amount of promotional materials we bring to international trade fairs. So, to solve this issue, Red&Grey designed a 12-page business card size booklet which tells our story, featuring illustrations throughout. The booklets were lightweight and easy to transport. At events, the customers loved them – handy to fit into a pocket and unique, something to remember.

Maurice Ward Art Handling enjoy working with like-minded individuals. We believe the quality of our client relationships reflects the quality of our work. What is great about Red&Grey is their collaborative nature, they like to co-create on projects, sharing ideas and are open to suggestions.

If you want to grow your business, make customers more aware of who you are or need design advice, we would recommend contacting Red&Grey, hello@redandgrey.ie, it worked for us.

“We worked together on every aspect of design. Red&Grey understand us, know us, know our business ethos. For me, that is the essence of a great working relationship, shared ethos, shared values.”

Mary Mc Loughlin,
Director

Home

Join us for a Chit Chat?

Theme: Home
Time: 20:00 PM Dublin
Date: March 25th, 2020

This weeks speakers:
Diane Dear, Sea Design, London
John Waid, Artist, Belfast
Bruno Moreni, Red&Grey via Brazil

College Collage

Back once again with HYT Studio to work this year’s NCAD recruitment campaign. John Slade finally got to make a ‘college collage’ by running both images and drawings compositionally through printers and scanners for a while and further deconstructing them through the various applications, books, posters, bags, signage, and so on. Shout out to scanner dirt!

View here the illustrations here.

Aer Lingus rebrand?

Totally Dublin asked a number of local brand & design professionals: What are your thoughts on the new Aer Lingus rebrand? Here’s what Bob had to say.

“Aer Lingus, more than most businesses I can think of, represents Ireland on a global scale. So when they decide to rebrand, everybody tends to take notice. Rebranding your national airline is a project that needs to display confidence, strength, quality, and reliability.

In truth, it’s difficult to fully appreciate the conversations and research that may have been undertaken by New York agency, Lippincott in designing the rebrand. Nevertheless, one could assume the main purpose entrusted to them was to help the airline grow. Like all organisations, Aer Lingus needs to expand operations, increase profits, improve productivity, strengthen traditions and adapt to constant changes in their industry.

More…

From the limited imagery I’ve seen to date, it’s unclear how Lippincott plans on using the rebrand to highlight Aer Lingus’s place in the global airline industry. Nor is it clear how they will address the needs and challenges of everyday customers in multiple contexts and locations around the world. This, after all, is what high-quality branding does and we can only hope there is more to this rebrand than what has currently been shown.

What is clear and easily appraised is the visual and verbal language they have introduced. Deep breath… The typography is poorly created and clunky in its application. The logotype has multiple faults across several letters. The shamrock is fine and is an improvement on the previous attempt, but fails to send a confident message. What’s worse is they seem to have decided to copy and paste it across all materials. Not exactly an engaging and dynamic system. Instead it highlights the lack of personality in the work produced. The Mrs Doyle tea cups are possibly an attempt to address this, but feel lazy and hackneyed. Surely this was an opportunity to do something far more interesting. Another misguided decision is the poorly crafted silver icon created for business class. All I can say is that it would be more at home in a Carroll’s gift shop (no disrespect to Carroll’s gift shops). Overall, the aesthetic of the materials produced are neither engaging nor sophisticated.

The typography is poorly created and clunky in its application. The logotype has multiple faults across several letters. The shamrock is fine and is an improvement on the previous attempt, but fails to send a confident message.

Finally, to the aircraft themselves. They’re professional yes, but there is nothing unique about the livery. It mirrors the design of many other airline livery from the last ten years. I suspect they have been designed to fit in, rather than stand out. I also suspect this is why Lippincott got the job. A quick look at their portfolio reveals two similarly designed aircraft. This, more than anything, shows a lack of confidence and understanding about the value and importance of our national airline. Hopefully, there is more to come from the design agency and client alike, but right now, the redesign weakens rather than strengthens the Aer Lingus brand.”

The full article can be read here.

HYT Studio

Great to work with John Slade at HYT Studio on the new NCAD recruitment campaign. HYT Studio is an award winning illustration studio, creating bold, striking, conceptual graphics and illustrations. Their work has been sold in shops all over the world and has exhibited in London, Europe, USA and Japan.

John drew on the surface of college campus and took elements from each of the art and design disciplines. These repurposed works then were used as a framework to build and support content throughout the college prospectus and across several various applications.

View here the illustrations here.

Creative Mornings

Creative Mornings is the world’s largest face-to-face creative community. Every month, they gather in 214 cities across 65 countries for free public talks. Great to talk at the Dublin Creative Mornings event at Intercom. The presentation can be viewed here.

The Future

The Future is a festival celebrating the innovators in design, media, creativity and culture, and the role they play in the future of society, business and the spaces in between. This two-day event was held at the RDS with over 70 speakers on 4 stages. Had fun speaking on the Studio Stage which showcased “the best modern agencies looking at how they work, adapt and prepare for the future.”

Meet the new face of Frontline

Thanks to Kim Pham at Frontline for this article on their rebranding process. The full article, “Meet the new face of Frontline: deconstructing and rebuilding a VC brand” can be read here.

Removing the brand cobwebs:
This past summer, I spearheaded a very thorough and introspective rebrand of Frontline Ventures — an intimidating task shouldered by the talented Bob Gray and Paul Hughes at the design-centric Red&Grey in Dublin. The process kicked off with “removing the brand cobwebs” — breaking down our previous assumptions about the Frontline brand and starting from scratch. We took the entire team offline and offsite for a one-day workshop, focused on distilling our brand essence — who we are, what we do, how we do it, and why we do it. It actually ended up being a pretty challenging day — spent pushing each other, challenging our assumptions, and checking cross-team alignment. These are the values that would help guide Frontline’s rebrand journey.

More…

Uncovering the Frontline story”
It was after this day of deconstructing brand essence that we realised:

The purpose of Frontline Ventures is to accelerate exceptional founders building global technology companies out of Europe. We do this because we are passionate about helping these founders learn faster than their own speed of experience.

Eventually, this was distilled down further, into what we fondly call a “six-word story.” This six-word story became, in many ways, our north star as we continued further into the rebranding process. “People-powered, capital experience; passionate support.”

Taking small steps towards change:
Just a couple steps in, we had already begun to uncover some insights. First was the switch from “Frontline Ventures” to “Frontline.” Red&Grey noted that we were constantly referring to ourselves as solely Frontline — across daily conversations, both online and offline. We dropped the “Ventures” part of our name because in many ways, it feels too financial or formal — antagonising the very nature of our core “Human” value. In terms of our colour palette, we kept hearing others refer to this “Frontline red” — a very noticeable, if not hallmark colour that pervaded our previous branding. We wanted to keep that, but update the rest of our palette to more contemporary, complementary colours. This would give us more flexibility in the colouring schemes for the many pieces of long-form content we publish throughout the year. We are also excited to present a new imagery system in our typography — little analog glyphs that reflect various words from our everyday lexicon. These symbols give us more mileage than highly visual imagery, and can be used in sequences to nearly tell a story in a graphical way.

Bridging the human & technical:
It was through working with Red&Grey that we were able to uncover all of these elements of our brand and tie something visual to them. We very quickly realised that much of what we do as VCs is bridge the human and the technical — offering our founders both money and support, capital and experience. One of which is highly quantifiable and tangible, the other very qualitative and steeped in subjectivity. To make that marriage visible from a brand perspective, we took a look at typography. The typeface to be used on all branding offline and online is the gorgeous PX Grotesk: modern enough to evoke digital, but not too obvious or ham-fisted. To take this technical typography a step further, we can combine the typography and the glyph system above to create a custom Frontline display typeface. It is a subtle way to reinforce our everyday work. This combination also led to the rebirth of the Frontline logotype — which we are so very proud to own. While our new typeface is a clear ode to our work in technology, Frontline is as much about the humans behind the fund as the software we invest in. At the end of the day, this is a small partnership consisting of very real humans with very real backgrounds and stories. To contrast the clean, crisp PX Grotesk, we worked with Red&Grey to create a custom Frontline “human” typeface — made by hand using bold, swift brush strokes.

Announcing our new rebrand
We hope that, as you browse our new website, you will enjoy the other visual elements to our new brand identity. We are excited about this next chapter of the Frontline story, as we move past our founding moment and into Fund II. It is exciting to finally align our visual aesthetic with our dynamic, evolving team and growing portfolio of seed-stage B2B companies.

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