A Worthy Cause created a design theme and programme identity to support this community scheme in rural West Wicklow, the primary focus point is the website of the programme, accompanied by print elements and digital assets.
The Brief / Client / Audience
The creative brief was clear - this is a programme to increase the level of community engagement. To be delvered through classes, events, gatherings and festivals provided for and by people local to the area. As part of the wider Creative Places programme it brings investment to communities throughout Ireland that until now that have not had opportunities to benefit from sustained investment in the arts and creativity.
In every iteration the design had to have extreme brevity and clarity to engage a reader quickly. It had to be clear and fresh, filled with positivity. At every point there were clear calls to action (CTAs) encouraging those within the community to take part, and to find out how their skills could be put to use.
Commissioned by Wicklow County Council, the project is part of the Arts Council's wider all-Ireland scheme. From the beginning the audience was defined with the greatest breadth achievable - all demographics, from young to old, wealthy to struggling, engagement should offer an outlet to all and bring a community together. Creativity means different things to different groups, the work should not talk up or down. And so a place-based theme was adopted, as the one identifiable point to unite all local groups.
The Technical Details
As the central point of place was decided upon, an illustration was created to describe it. A blocky clear illustration, it ties together many identifiable aspects of where Baltinglass is situated. Each of these is outlined below. The illustration was converted into an SVG-based Lottie animation in After Effects for fast loading and sharp presentation on every screen type.
A variable font - Herokid by W Type Foundry - was chosen for its mix of necessary clarity with a positive, light-hearted feel. It may be a functional sans, but it's super friendly.
A palette of bright brights, and dark darks was chosen for the same reason - clarity between elements. The acid brights give colour while all content can be easily read by being shown in deep darks with plenty, but not too much contrast.
The same type was used for body copy, headlines, small text and even in the lockup which serves as a logo for the programme. One font means faster loading times on digital platforms, key when most visitors are on mobile, especially in a rural setting.
Full of Local Meaning
The hero animation is broken into clear steps, each of which has a specific meaning, one which will be clear to anyone familiar with Baltinglass.
The overall framing device is drawn from one of the arches in the abbey that has been the most distinctive feature of Baltinglass since 1148 and suppressed in 1536.
Seen through the arch, a false-coloured sky flies in over the rolling hills of west Wicklow.
A path winds its way down from the hills and through the green fields. The town is sited in an agricultural area, with fields all around.
The river Slaney flows under the town's beautiful humpbacked bridge dating from c. 1800.
Closing out the animation with a positive note and reinforcing the passing of time in the town's 1,000+ year history, a sun rises over the scene.
Content planning, asset creation, CMS integration
As with any web project, the site build began with careful content planning. Text was to be kept brief and light, with a direct and friendly tone. This was not to be a dry, convoluted official council document full of local official speak, it directly addresses people from the town.
The visual theme was already in place from social media and printed pieces. Fitting these to a mobile-first website framework and was a joyful task with the bright colours and high contrast font. Textures and incidental shapes were created as svgs to keep loading times down and retain sharpness.
Built in Webflow, the CMS was seamlessly integrated. A Worthy Cause has used Webflow for a decade, moving from ModX and Wordpress opensource platforms to this single solution for design, build and hosting. As with many similar sites a handover was scheduled with training. However, access was granted in advance and the client was able to do essential management without any training. On-page editing made it that simple.
Accessibility throughout, as integral part of the build
Throughout the entire creative process, from the very first concepts, accessibility was to the fore. Everything needed best in show approaches: perfect contrasts, clear type, plain language, alt text and screen reader access, content delineation. This was built in from the very beginning to every part of the project. The whole site was tested through WebAIM for granular feedback on accessibility before going live.
Visit the site now at creativeplacesbaltinglass.ie