IDI Mind Over Matter 2018

Mind Over Matter

Mind Over Matter | Marla Communications

Márla Communications at IDI Mind Over Matter 2018

A day to draw awareness to mental health supported by local design agencies

Mental Health

A national day of design in aid of mental health, Mind Over Matter, took place on 10th October 2018 in locations across Ireland. The initiative, in association with Aware, enabled business owners to donate a fee in return for 1 hour of design consultation.

Design Experience

With the wealth of design knowledge on offer throughout the country, this fee for a good cause was a win win. Members of the Márla Design team Lee Grace (Creative Director) and Paul Whelan (Graphic Designer) were at hand to share their design skills and expertise to their donating companies.

Márla Communications Bookings

Lee’s first booking was with John Halley of John Fogarty RE/MAX Waterford. Within just an hour they had discussed brand tactics, SEO implementation basics and an overall web review. Lee’s other booking was with Barry Kerrigan of Kerrigans Craft Butchers who kindly donated but could not attend on the day. Paul’s booking was with James O’Brien of Incrowd Wedding Music. James and Paul fleshed out branding ideas and discussed web visuals and layout.

Giving Back

Both Paul and I really enjoyed being part of this initiative again this year; coming from a design background, we understand how critically important your company image is. We were delighted to have the opportunity to help businesses on the day, while contributing to much needed support for mental health programmes.As businesses, it is vital that we all are conscious of our own social responsibility, and be aware of the potential support we can give to the wider community, through the provision of what we do best. We look forward to taking part in this very worthwhile initiative again next year!

Contact Our Design Team


How Digital Marketing Changed Branding

Digital Marketing and Branding

How Digital Marketing Transformed Branding

How Digital Marketing has Transformed How We Think about Branding

Branding and Advertising

Throughout the 1980’s and into the 1990’s, the approach to branding and advertising was largely prescriptive – we agreed on brand positioning and target market, agreed budgets, developed a communication plan….and then rolled the campaign out to agreed platforms including TV, Radio, Outdoor and Print (newspapers, magazines, bus wraps). Digital Marketing wasn’t even a “thing” at this point.

What is so interesting looking back at this process, is that the ‘marketing communication’ work was more or less completed before even one consumer interacted with the brand. Certainly there would be follow up consumer feedback, brand awareness measures, readership and listenership figures review, but it is fair to say that once the campaign was launched, the input from marketing was minimal.

Old Marketing

I recently read an article which captured ‘old marketing’ very succinctly:

• The brand was developed

• The brand was prepared

• The brand was presented (to the market)

The control of the brand and the communication rested totally in the hands of the brand owner/agency. Potential consumers/users were ‘presented’ with the brand and could chose to accept or deny its proposition. But they could never really interact or engage with the brand in a meaningful way.

Vintage Coca Cola Newspaper Ad
Marketing done the old fashioned way!

The Onset of Web and SEO

Move forward five years to 2000; while the world of on-line communication was just beginning to be appreciated, no one had any real comprehension of the impending desruptive influence that that digital would bring to the world and branding. Companies were beginning to understand the importance of web and SEO to a lesser extent, but many wondered if it would ‘stick’.

Companies were beginning to understand the importance of web and SEO

SEO | Search Engine Optimisation Effectiveness
The onset of web and SEO

Integrated Digital Marketing

Enter the Integrated Digital Marketing sensation of today – the most revolutionary, consumer-centric, iterative marketing communication mechanism ever. Post 2004, with the advent of “proper” social media channels, better internet speeds and e-commerce, the digital age exploded.

From a branding perspective, the biggest impact was the change in brand ownership – this shifted from companies to consumers; a brand was no longer a visual entity with which we hoped the customer would connect, but a piece of their everyday lives that they could engage with at a much deeper level than ever before. Through social networks, with Facebook and Twitter taking the lead, ‘everyday consumers’ created a brand dialogue that was candid, fresh and like nothing the world had seen before. Suddenly the world had a platform to share their opinions and their brand experiences – both good and bad.

Suddenly the world had a platform to share their opinions and their brand experiences – both good and bad.

The World of Corporate Brand Engagement

The world of corporate brands responded to the world of digital a little more slowly than the general public, perhaps driven by the illusion that engaging meant loss of brand control; it didn’t take them long to realise that there really was no choice here; it was a matter of engaging or becoming irrelevant. Most prudent companies chose engagement.

The obvious next question is…”so if Digital Marketing is so powerful, how come so many companies don’t see the benefit of it?”

Integrated Digital Marketing
Enter the Integrated Digital Marketing sensation of today.

Marketing Communications Agency

As a marketing communications agency in business since 2006, we have worked with our clients through the transition from ‘traditional only’ marketing to digital marketing; we have seen what works and doesn’t work from a digital perspective. We have helped our clients get significant returns on their digital investment through a process of campaign development, implementation and adaptation. Two of the most important factors in understanding and maximising the investment from digital marketing are (1) Target Marketing Profiling and Segmentation and (2) Key Word research, analysis, understanding and application. Get those elements right, and the return on investment will follow.

Google Analytics and Keywords
Analytics and keywords

Where to go with Digital?

With so many companies unsure about where to go next in their digital journey, we have decided its time to dispel some of the digital myths, time to provide some insight and guidance to companies seeking to take the next step. Every month, we will take an important element of digital marketing, and explain how to approach this in a simple, yet effective way.

Next Month’s Feature: Profiling your Target Market


Illustrated Map by Márla Communications

Illustrated Maps and why they work

Illustrated Maps and why they work

All about illustrated maps

Illustration is the universal communicator. When you visit a new country, beyond the language barrier comes the illustrated visual cues – toilet symbol, hotel symbol, branded areas and so on. Illustrated maps provide the same visual cues to tourists when visiting a new area. If they can’t speak the language, then the icons and the places on the map guide the way.

Why invest in an illustrated map?

Normal OS maps, which are to-scale and very rigid just don’t convey a personal touch of your attraction. When you have a bespoke illustrated map, the area comes alive and looks ten fold more inviting. At Márla Communications, we specialise in the design and illustration of high quality, bespoke illustrated maps. Our maps combine high end illustration and visually stimulating layouts. We develop interactive maps that create a superior user experience, thus ensuring your county and all its amenities are firmly on the tourist map!

Lets take for instance the Waterford City map we developed back in 2010. This map was an artistic licence based hand drawn piece. It created a fun and exciting visual experience for tourists and also became a keepsake when acquired. We’d often see tourists around the town with the map in their hands, examining the areas of interest. Seeing first hand interaction is always a joy.

The Waterford City map has been reproduced hundreds of thousands of times since and we have been updating it each year. In 2015 we added the Waterford county illustrated map to the reverse of the existing map. Investing in an illustrated map will create a highly valued and notable pice for your attraction, city or walkway.

Expand the map

Today, having just a printed map isn’t enough. With the advent of mobile technology and interactive sources, animating a map is the next step. At Márla, we can also add animation and interactivity to your map which really does expand the map. We use the latest HTML5 based software to create animations that work on all mobile and desktop devices. What better way to showcase your attraction before the potential client reaches it?!

Reasons to invest in a bespoke illustrated map

Illustrated Maps are Interesting

Illustrated maps appeal to young and old, because of their ease of use and fun appearance. Users are drawn towards illustrated maps and often keep them as souvenirs.

Illustrated Maps are Practical

Our maps are designed for ease of use and have intuitive legends. We also keep all files on record so your map can be updated when needed.

Illustrated Maps are Complimentary

As a result of the custom nature of these maps, we can make your locations point of difference look vibrant! High colour, or fun illustrations can bring an area or attraction to life.

Illustrated Maps can be Digital
Our maps don’t just stop at paper! We have the power internally to create video presentations of your map or even interactive and animated versions.

Illustrated Maps are Adaptable

Even if your town is relatively small with not too many points of interest, we can use “artistic license” to enhance the visibility and scale of your area to its maximum potential!

Illustrated Maps are Unique

Making your city, town, attraction, trail or walkway stand out is important. A bespoke map will give your location a unique and positive appearance that other areas will aspire to duplicate!

How do I get started with an illustrated map project?

We have developed numerous illustrated maps over the years for City Councils, Town Councils and Tourism Bodies. Many of these maps have been reproduced in multiple editions and thousands of times! Call us today on 051 853650 and see how we can add value to your area with a bespoke illustrated map or email lee.grace@marla.ie. Visit our map section on our website here!

Waterford City Map
Dublin City Road Train Tours Map
Phoenix Park Map, Dublin
Winterval Waterford Map
Youghal Town Map, Cork
Tramore Town Map, Waterford
Waterford City Way Finding Map
Illustrated Waterford County Map by Márla Communications
Illustrated Waterford Heritage Map by Márla Communications

Márla Communications 10 year Competition Winner!

Competition Winner

Huge congratulations to Life Kitchen, the Márla competition winner of our €2,500 prize fund competition with over 47% of the total votes! Many thanks again to all who voted, entered the competition and to our 4 finalists Dessert First, Excel Promotions and Aoife Hearne Dietitian!

We look forward to starting work soon with Life Kitchen!

Life Kitchen Brand Design

Winners Podium

Márla Communications 10 year Competition Finalists

Márla Communications Competition Finalists

Márla Communications Competition Finalists have been chosen! We are delighted to announce that the four finalist include Aoife Hearne – Dietitian, Life Kitchen, Dessert First and Excel School Uniforms.

Thank You

Thank you again to all the businesses who entered and to our 10 year Competition Finalists. It was humbling to see the response to this endeavour online and by word of mouth. To say we have been 10 years as Márla is a pleasure. Working with amazing clients is a double pleasure!

Competition Finalists

You can read each finalists entry by clicking on the company’s logo, you can then vote for your favourite campaign. The company with the most votes will win a prize fund of €2,500!

Prize Fund

The overall winner will be treated to a €2,500 prize fund of our services, which could be a big help to their existing business plan.

Excel Promotions Brand Design


Video: The soon to be King of Social Media Content

Video: The soon to be King of Social Media Content

Social media can be a strange beast. Constantly changing, ever evolving – sometimes it is incredibly hard to keep up with these seemingly endless edits. Ever evolving, the latest trends and facts seem to indicate a major shift in how content will be shared in the coming years. Enter video!

According to a report by Cisco, by 2019:

• Video will account for 80% of global internet traffic

• Nearly a million minutes of video will be shared every second

• It would take an individual 5 million years to watch the all the video that will be shared each month

5 million years eh….

These stats are staggering and very much a wake up call for the current direction of how Designing for digital (and designing in general) is going to have to “join or die” with this trend. Remember not so long ago when Facebook’s interface was simply post a bit of text, maybe add an image and don’t expect a like… mainly because the like button wasn’t conceived yet.

Things quickly changed

Now Facebook along with its peers connect you so intimately with your audience, that one on one dialogue with clients and potential clients is second away. What works with video through social media is that it is quick to digest and easy to flick through (to the best bits), a lot harder to do when reading a long piece.

It would take an individual 5 million years to watch the all the video that will be shared each month


Commercially this is revolutionary.

Just think about all the hassle a business would have had to go through to get your attention? Flyer drops, posters, direct mails… not that these are not made redundant and useless.

It is because they have become a secondary support material to the power of digital marketing. Where printed material would work very effectively for example is through targeted direct mailers to very specific clientele who could possibly be looking for your service.

According to data from Facebook:

• Video posts per person has increased 75% globally and 94% in the U.S.

• Overall the amount of video from people and brands in News Feed has increased 3.6 times year-over-year

• More than 50% of people who visit Facebook in the U.S. every day watch at least one video


Stats all point to a very content rich future of social media usage.

Will the paradigm shift lean fully towards an almost fully “Live” social sphere? Perhaps the Oculus Rift and the virtual social presence will make sure that the perquisite will have to be live, supported by content rich videos.

Will the paradigm shift lean fully towards an almost fully “Live” social sphere?


In-house production

At Márla, we have developed numerous ‘motion adverts’ for clients that were roughly around thirty seconds long. The videos ranged from animations, to slow play image based descriptive pieces. Below are examples of some videos we have developed.


Gary Vaynerchuck… that’s if you have the energy!

by Lee Grace


fuse:d | Marla Communications

fuse:d

Mission Statement

fuse:d – A design and business network

  • The ultimate aim of fuse:d is to establish a design and business network to raise awareness of the profile and value that design adds to differentiate, compete, grow and inspire innovation in our communities.
  • We have a goal to create a network of designers that nourish, collaborate, inspire and ignite change together. We want to introduce this energy and innovation to the wider business community.
  • The Policy Framework for Design in Enterprise in Ireland published in response to ID2015 identified opportunities where the design sector plays a significant role to the Irish economy. The policy framework sets out six key area for growth within the design sector and fuse:d has adopted the policy framework as the context for establishing a design and business network in Waterford and South East.
  • Advocate the role of design as an economic driver of innovation within the design community, and business sector, and the public domain.
  • Promote and encourage collaboration between designers of all disciplines to share, scale and maximise opportunities to achieve economies of scale.
  • Facilitate access to design training in the design community and the wider business community.
  • Collaborate with enterprises, authorities and other design networks to raise the profile of Waterford as the design and innovation centre of excellence in the South East.
  • Support, promote and encourage a vibrant and sustainable design culture and community in Waterford and the South East through engagement and improving design & business skills in the design sector.
  • Identify and support opportunities to develop design career path which will increase the participation of females in design roles.

  • Marla is 10 years old this year!

    This year Márla Communications turns 10 years old!

    To celebrate turning 10 years old we are giving away a €2,500 prize fund.

    “Tell us about your most effective communication campaign.

    The campaign that makes you VERY proud. 10 years old and still loving it!

    All entries will be assessed and rated by our Márla Communications committee of business people.

    From all entries received, we will select 4 of the most innovative and successful campaigns.

    These 4 companies will feature on our website for a period of 4 weeks.

    Their own staff and customers then vote for the favourite campaign!

    So the prize will be in the hand’s of the final 4!


    What the flux is blue light?

    What the flux is blue light?

    If you are like me, you probably can relate to the scene in my illustration above – people in their bed with the blue light of their iPhone blinding them.

    In the creative field, we often have to work late into the night on computers, obsessively staring at the screen, especially for the fine tweaks and last minute touches. My personal experience has seen me having to invest in a pair of  glasses which help stop glare. This was also down to the fact that I had a very short blinking cycle. I have perfect vision, but the screen made my eyes vibrate and spasm, even away from the computer. Another effect I found, was feeling drained and fatiuged in the mornings, which I especially felt If I was staring at the blue light of my phone before sleep.

    Why be concerned?

    Blue light is apparently a big concern. Blue light? The way it works is, the blue range of the colour spectrum basically kick starts our brains in the morning and afternoon, then when dusk comes the soft orange and yellow hues of fire or candlelight, brings our mind into balance and releases melatonin for natural sleep – the way of our ancestors, pre-tech. The latest reports and studies have suggested that blue light emitted from a device like an iPhone, iPad, computer monitor etc, has detrimental effects on our quality living. These range from lack of focus, irritability – right up to cancerous issues due to the lack of melatonin produced in the pineal gland at dusk.

    For me, I like to keep an open mind on everything, so while this whole thing might seem a bit woo-woo new agey, it is worth noting that our relationship with blue light in the evenings is relatively new – very new in fact. Upon reading up on this information, I was introduced to a clever app called Flux, which works in sync with your computer (soon to be mobile) in creating a blue light free work experience at dusk in your time zone. So far I’ve noticed my eyes definitely don’t sting as much, and my concentration has improved also. The only drawback for designers is that the 0n-screen colour gets changed drastically, so it might be a good idea to turn it off and on if you are colour matching!

    Lee Grace

    Is blue light ruining your sleep?


    Design Island 2015

    Design Island 2015

    Check out this excellently animated video about the impact Design Ireland 2015 has had this year, it’s quite impressive!

    They have exhibited over 300 nationwide, and over 160 internationally. Add to that over 180 products, and there’s been 20 million euro generated.

    h2>Design Island 2015 – the year when design took over Ireland! How has design impacted your daily life? Are you aware of the design world around you?

    Over 174,000 have seen Irish design at 12 international exhibitions, while 46 million people in Dublin Airport have seen the portraits of our designers, craftspeople, and artisans.

    200 projects and 40 companies have been funded, and the spin-offs of publications, events, conferences, and exhibitions have made this an exciting place to be. Of course, the Design Island app too.”

    Irish Design 2015 was about harnessing this power and working to support society; educators and students; designers; the public sector; and businesses.

    Through our year-long programme of events, we worked towards:

    raising the profile of Irish design, at home and abroad increasing awareness of the value of design in all aspects of life building on the international reputation of Irish design encouraging links between local and global Irish designers showcasing the importance of design to success in business and as a driver of economic growth

    Make DesignMatter 2015