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That’s a Wrap! – Designer in Residence 2024

Jun 2024
Photo Martina Regan

(Pictured L-R: Caroline McDonagh LEO Galway, Marilyn Gaughan-Reddan GCC, Rory Maguire, Niamh McArdle, Sam Ardiff, Claudine Curran, Diarmuid O'Connor and Danielle Townsend IDI)

The Designer in Residence programme, was a collaboration of Galway Culture Company, Local Enterprise Office Galway and Institute of Designers in Ireland (IDI).  The initiative saw the pairing of five talented designers, with five Galway based companies, to tackle real-world, intricate challenges. Each designer immersed themselves in their organisations mission, vision and values to draw inspiration, understand the client problem and develop innovative solutions to support business objectives. The designers were paired with mentors who supported them throughout the project too.

One of the strategic goals of IDI is to support designers through every stage of their career, and The New Now platform has been developed as a place for new talent who are looking for opportunities and programme that support their development, just like the Designer in Residence.

The programme ended with final presentations in CREW, Galway – who kindly hosted our final showcase and offered co-working support to the designers throughout the programme.

Before the final presentations we held a panel discussion with the companies, to find out their experience of the programme, the benefits to their company and their future projects. We were joined by the participating companies; Damien Carr, from EyeDea, Lisa Hynes from Croi, Hicham Altit from Galway Chamber, Ciaran Walshe from MMC Eco Homes, Cadhla Forde from Portershed and Eoin Connaire from LEO Galway.

Eoin spoke about the myriad of supports available to business in Galway and urged those in attendance to contact LEO to find out what specific supports relate to each business. The LEOs are champions of startups and many supports for things like digital and e-commerce development, green supports and business expansion grants. All information is available here.

Key takeaways from the panel discussion were that the companies were hugely impressed by the calibre of work output from the designers,. They highlighted that the designers did not just offer solutions, but rather identified the problem the business was facing, and took a holistic approach to proposed outcomes. Few had experience working with designers before the programme, and the collective sentiment was such that they understand the power of working with a designer, and will continue to do so, with most planning to continue the projects beyond the programmes end.


Eoin Connaire from LEO Galway, Hicham Altit from Galway Chamber, Damien Carr, from EyeDea, Cadhla Forde from Portershed, Lisa Hynes from Croi and Ciaran Walshe from MMC Eco Homes.


Lisa Hynes from Croi discusses the impact of the Designer in Residence programme.


Diarmuid O’Connor was paired with Portershed

The Projects


First up we had Diarmuid O’Connor who was paired with Portershed. A place to work, share and succeed together. The first step towards a Galway City Innovation District.

For the residency at Portershed, Diarmuid created templates for both their internal documents and social media. This required working with their internal software (Google Slides and Canva) and gave him a greater understanding of the limitations/challenges faced by in-house designers.

In addition to this he looked to develop the Portershed brand, and created a suite of assets, both static and animated, for them to use as part of their visual language.

Diarmuid O’Connor: It was a great opportunity to work directly with a local company, and together figure out how best I could apply my skills. The programme also allowed me to meet like minded designers and make some great connections! 

Pictured Charlotte Barker, Danielle Townsend, Diarmuid O’Connor, Cadhla Forde and Marilyn Gaughan-Reddan.

Claudine Curran was paired with MMC Eco Homes


Next we had Claudine Curran who was paired with MMC Eco Homes. Building an affordable, sustainable future for all. The client was undergoing a re-brand, and needed new marketing materials for 2 different demographics, social media templates, and an updated logo design. The client and their team were very happy with the results, and have a deeper understanding now of how design can impact their business.


Pictured Charlotte Barker, Danielle Townsend, Marguerite Lynch, Claudine Curran, Ciaran Walshe and Marilyn Gaughan-Reddan.
Marguerite Lynch Creative Director, Proactive.

Claudine Curran: I feel incredibly fortunate to have been a part of this Designer in Residence Programme. Being new in the creative industry means I’m still building my connections and this programme has helped me do that. Being matched with a client and having the support from the New Now/ IDI team and a mentor, has meant that I felt more confident in being able to deliver for my client. I hope more early career designers get to take part in this programme, it’s been fantastic!

Claudine Curran


Sam Ardiff was paired with Galway Chamber


Next we had Sam Ardiff who was paired with Galway Chamber. Working for the interests of businesses and the economic development of the city and region.

The Project

A wordmark logo was created as it is straightforward and easy to understand. It was right aligned in order to sit against a graphic line representing the Wild Atlantic Way coastline. The type was set in capital letters which are more dominant and reflect one of the aims of marketing which is to stand out. The banner or ‘edge’ at the top of the cover design is influenced by Galway Chambers vision statement: ‘Galway at the leading edge’. The black and white is clear and straightforward reflecting the business nature of the magazine. It brings the Galway Chamber name to the fore and offers a distinct visual contrast to the feature image. A one liner that reflects the cover story is overlayed on the image.  The edge and image works together to create a consistent design system.

The ‘edge’ also differentiates itself from other chamber magazine designs which overlay the title on a full bleed image. Without careful image control this format cafeel crowded. The typeface used is Avenir Next Bold which is a more contemporary and spacious version of the typeface Avenir which is part of the existing Chamber Ireland guidelines. This was one subtle change from the guidelines which I was predominantly working from in order to keep consistency with the rest of their communications. The ’edge’ rectangular shape is further used in the design system as running heads at the top left hand corner to clearly identify each section. Tints were taken from the color palettes of the Galway Chamber brand guidelines. They are used as monochrome backdrops on certain stories every now and again to offer a visual difference to the black and white pages. The light shades dont overpower the text. The monochrome color pages is contrasted by use of full colors on the black and white pages to highlight key information such as graphs, facts and figures or quotes. Overall, color is used sparingly and with intent in order to allow the colourful images of the people in the community that feature heavily throughout the issues to shine.

Sam Ardiff: I thought the programme from IDI’s end was run very smoothly, from the monthly check-ins to the use of CREW and organisation of the presentation so overall I was really glad to be involved and I definitely think it should be run again.

Pictured Charlotte Barker, Danielle Townsend, Sam Ardiff, Hicham Altit and Marilyn Gaughan-Reddan.

Niamh McArdle was paired with Croí


Next up was Niamh McArdle who was paired with Croí. Registered Irish heart and stroke charity committed to reducing the impact of Cardiovascular Disease on families in the West of Ireland.

During the residency, Niamh created a distinct visual language and tone of voice for Croí to help them better communicate with their community. Consisting of bold typography, meaningful copywriting, and a unique suite of friendly illustrations, the identity works in a modular, flexible system to bring medical information on heart attack and stroke prevention to life. The aim was to make these complicated subjects more approachable, engaging and clear for people. This visual language was then used to design environmental graphics for Croí House, the charity’s purpose-built centre, to make the space more warm and welcoming, better reflecting the core values and ethos of Croí.

Pictured Charlotte Barker, Danielle Townsend, Lisa Hynes, Niamh McArdle, Fushia MacAree and Marilyn Gaughan-Reddan.

Rory Maguire was paired with Eyedea


Finally we had Rory Maguire who was paired with Eyedea. A Specialists in advanced catheter delivery systems design, development and education.

Eyedea give Catheter development workshops and need to diversify their methods of attracting clients. Rory created a more sustainable and welcoming immersive trade show experience that will build brand awareness on other markets and seamlessly lead to LinkingIn connections.

Rory Maguire: This programme is perfect for early career designers eager to impress and companies curious about what great design can offer. It was run passionately and effectively by everyone involved.

A sincere thanks to our partners Galway Culture Company and Local Enterprise Office Galway.

If you or your organisation are interested to work with The New Now and designers in their early stage of career, contact IDI.

See more of the Designer in Residence presentation

Click here to see all the photos from the event

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