7 July 2021

Limerick, a Wild Atlantic Way Gateway City

by Celine Dee

Appointed by Fáilte Ireland to name and extend the Wild Atlantic Way brand beyond the coast to Limerick, our approach was to build on Limerick’s unique location and character to position it as an ideal base for exploring Ireland’s world-renowned west coast.

The challenge was to create a solution that did not dilute the essence of the Wild Atlantic Way, but enabled Limerick to use the Wild Atlantic Way brand to elevate destinations, grow visitor numbers, and increase the nights stayed. Key to the project was negotiating the balance between two strong brands – Limerick’s distinctive “Atlantic Edge, European Embrace” brand and the brand equity of the rugged, exciting, and independent Wild Atlantic Way.

Our process began with a review to understand both Limerick’s and the Wild Atlantic Way’s current visual and verbal communications. We then designed an approach beginning with direct engagement with stakeholders and businesses across Limerick city and county in collaborative discovery workshops, informing a brand and architecture approach based on trade and customer needs.

From here, our task was to craft an architecture that developed the optimum relationships between Limerick and the Wild Atlantic Way, designed to consider future products, services, and experiences. Working parallel to the brand architecture was our approach to naming the gateway – how could we clarify Limerick’s positioning and make it clear that Limerick is not simply a throughway, but rather a base, and a destination in itself? Through exploring a wide range of names across naming typologies, we developed a compelling shortlist.

Working closely with Fáilte Ireland, we developed research stimulus to test our naming solutions with visitors across four European markets. In the end, the research revealed that the name “Wild Atlantic Way Gateway City” brought clarity to visitors both home and abroad.

To bridge the brands and establish an ownable and differentiated identity for the Gateway City, we also needed to create a design system and guidelines with proprietary visual assets, including colour palette, typefaces, image style, brand graphics, and messaging. We based the identity in the affinities between Limerick and the Wild Atlantic Way. Both have a deep connection to the water. Both are independent, fresh, and exciting. And, both have unspoiled connections to their unique heritage and histories. This informed the construction of the logotype capturing the relationship between the two and the definition of a natural and authentic photographic style. Core to the communications strategy was a narrative and structure for businesses to interweave their unique stories with the Gateway City narrative and build a compelling reason for visitors to come, stay, and enjoy all that Limerick can offer.

Invigorating rush

The source of surprise

Shows shaped by the sounds of the Shannon

Liberating swim, surf, or sail

A revitalising Wild Atlantic Way Gateway City

By invoking dualities between the ancient Wild Atlantic Way and the modernity of Limerick – the tranquil villages and bustling cityscape, and the traditional and edgy arts scenes – through creative connections in photography and balance between evocative and straightforward language, the two brands are united, rather than made uniform.

Limerick’s vibrant nightlife and edgy music scene

Centuries of language, literature, music, and dance

The down-to-earth determination of our city’s people

The famous warmth and wit of our Wild Atlantic folk

The sub brand was launched to trade across Limerick city and county and was revealed with enthusiasm and excitement for the future. The brand workshop ensured the Wild Atlantic Way Gateway City brand would be implemented consistently and create opportunities for businesses in the years to come.

The result is a unified, harmonious sub-brand adaptable to any business in Limerick with space for individuality and structure for consistency.