Rationale and Logo
During the late 80s and early 90s in Ireland, prepaid cards for Telecom Eireann phone boxes were in common use and were popular collectors’ items. These cards fell out of circulation as mobile phone usage became widespread. I’ve decided as a design exercise, that a series of payphone callcards if they existed today would be an interesting project to tackle.
I’ve begun by rationalising a broad fictional background for such a scenario to serve as a basis and jumping-off-point for my design strategy; Perhaps if the Irish state remained as isolationist and insular today as it set out to be during its first decades, expensive mobile phones might not be quite as commonplace and many might still be taking the option of using static public phone boxes, keeping them in popular use. These phone boxes might therefore have features more akin to smartphones, allowing users to access the internet and apps such as Facebook via a touchscreen, and the callcards used by them might have the additional function of saving a user’s app account details.
As such I’ve begun by going back to an Irish design sensibility of over twenty years ago, drawing inspiration from past identities of state-owned companies such as RTÉ and Telecom Eireann, and seeking to update it to reflect its real-world rebranding to Eircom in a manner that remains somewhat old-fashioned and in keeping with the perspective of the project – that of a fictional modern-day interpretation of an out-of-date product, with a classic graphic design aesthetic that brings the project full-circle in its rationale.
I explored the motif of the St Brigid’s Cross – a distinctive design woven from straw with offset arms, that was used in early RTÉ branding that reflected the more heavily Christian associations of the Irish state in the twentieth century, seen also in the Post & Telegraphs logo designed by Kilkenny Design Workshops. However I decided to drop it as a starting point, as I realised that I was very mindful that an offset cross may call to mind a particular fascist emblem.
Instead I found the tightly-wound celtic spiral, in particular the examples from the site at Newgrange, to be a more promising direction to focus upon. The circular shape calls to mind both the old Telecom Eireann identity and its newer Eircom identity. The widely spaced use of Helvetica also reflects examples of former Irish state-owned identities.
This current iteration of the logo makes use of the spiral form to incorporate the letters E, C, and O from EIRCOM, while also making reference to the @ symbol, now commonly associated with internet interactions such as email and Twitter. The spiral form also calls to mind a bundle of cable.
There may be further adjustments to this logo, but the next stage in this concept exploration will be to design a callcard template incorporating this new logo that will serve as a frame for a series of design images that fit the theme of this ongoing project.