The Cultural Services Section of Kilkenny County Council engaged M.CO to work with the team to develop and design its first integrated cultural strategy for 2018-2022, replacing individual plans for Arts, Heritage, Biodiversity and Libraries. M.CO worked with the cultural services team to carry out a review of the strategic context, and to conduct an extensive public and stakeholder engagement process, in order to identify a distinctive cultural identity for County Kilkenny, to develop an action-orientated implementation plan, and to visually bring this to life through an exciting and dynamic strategic document.

Our goal was to launch the strategy by producing a report that would excite people about the future of culture in Kilkenny, and that would present facets of the rich heritage and culture experienced in the county. Mirroring homegrown craft, we began the process by preparing paper cut outs, assembling them by hand and then digitising them, adding texture to the final outcome.

The three sections of the Cultural Services team needed to retain their own presence in the strategy, whilst clearly presenting the integration of their plans. A simple, yet powerful, approach resulted in each area owning an individual colour. The concept of three colours created a boundless resource of graphic elements to reflect the idea of the three sectors joining, overlapping and intersecting. The colours evolved into a trio of circular shapes, recognisable throughout the document in their various forms, denoting the three areas of focus: heritage, libraries and arts.

The corresponding shapes, held in harmony with dynamic grids, resulted in a strong, vibrant palette that supported varying image sizes and layouts with subtle contrasts. Working with translators to produce English and Irish versions of the report, we reflected the key considerations that needed to be given to the form of the Irish language.