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100 Archive project uncovers the impact of design on Irish life over the past decade

A fascinating archival project by 100 Archive has revealed the impact of design on life, business, culture and society in Ireland over the past decade.

Map Irish Design is a new research project that has examined more than 2300 design projects gathered since 2010 for inclusion in the 100 Archive.

The online archive features the best in Irish communication design that is assembled every year from submissions by hundreds of designers across Ireland and Irish designers overseas in cities such as London, New York, Amsterdam and Oslo.

An interactive public installation in New York City to celebrate the launch of Hulu’s TV show The Handmaid’s Tale. Designed by Irish designer Rory Simms at Pentagram.

The research sought to look more closely at the design projects and to showcase the stories behind them. From posters to international rebrands, small business campaigns and social movements, the research looks at the where and why and the people who make the projects.

Spanning many different types of media, these designs touch on everything from print to digital, typography, signage, packaging identity and more. The project shows how business and communication in Ireland continues to change with the social movements and indeed shows who we express ourselves culturally and creatively.

Available on map.100archive.com, the new research is presented as a rich digital media resource of videos, dynamic graphics, data visualisations and stunning imagery under the four themes of building culture, changing value, shaping the everyday and expanding our horizons.

‘It Stops Now’ campaign and posters for the National Women’s Council of Ireland, designed by Victoria Brunetta and Conor Buckley at Piquant Media.

‘Design completely surrounds us, such as the coffee cups we drink out of, the websites we visit, the shopfronts we pass by and the signs which help us navigate our towns and cities,’ Aideen McCole who led the project for 100 Archive said.

‘The design process shapes a significant amount of the fabricated world and the work of communication designers contributes much of our visual landscape and material culture. From the tiny details on a postage stamp to a campaign seen on banners, billboards and buses across the country, the 100 Archive reflects just how much design affects us every day.’

Pointing to the relevance of the project right now during the COVID-19 pandemic, Aideen McCole added:

‘Design affects all of us, all the time, and I think that’s been even more clear in recent times, from how we receive vital information — or dangerous misinformation — to the design of our cities. Can we all move around safely, with enough space for social distancing for example? Even the design of our social services, needed more urgently by more of us than ever before. We are massively impacted by the decisions people make to shape what things look like and how they work. Anything that helps all of us to recognise and understand that is valuable.’

‘I would add that to begin interrogating our surroundings from a design perspective is fascinating, and to do this now, while we’re all looking at super familiar environments non stop, can totally change how we see what’s around us.”

The three referenda to dominate the news in recent years — Marriage Equality, Brexit and Repeal — all feature in some form in the 100 Archive, with Repeal being most dominant.

Lead image: Science Stamps designed for An Post to commemorate two major achievements in Irish science, the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition and Science Gallery Dublin. Designed by Evan McGuinness, Paul McBride, Keith Byrne at Detail.

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I'm a freelance content creator and a journalist who has a strong desire to do as much as possible in the time I've got left on this planet. I got a taste for storytelling when I interned in Storyful many moons ago and since then have worked for places like WorldIrish (now Irish Central), Her.ie and Lonely Planet. I am constantly curious.

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