Kintyre Logo and Signage
I have a deep and abiding affection for Campbeltown and Kintyre, having known it from childhood, eventually coming to live in Kintyre in the late 1980′s until 2009, when we moved to Kilmartin. During our time there with The Oystercatcher Gallery, I was associated with the KINTYRE MARKETING GROUP (now integrated within Visit Scotland, I believe).
I was asked by KMG to produce a ‘logo’ for Kintyre to be used on brochures, road signage, etc to give Kintyre a ‘brand identity’. The brief was to incorporate a number of elements:
That original design was sketched out in a few minutes on the back of an old piece of mountboard (I was involved in a lot of picture framing then). The idea was to incorporate the Historical (the prow of Magnus Bareleg’s Viking longship – representing Tarbert and North Kintyre); the sea (Kintyre is ‘almost an island’ and fishing has played a major part for Campbeltown, Carradale and Tarbert particularly); and wildlife (in the form of an Arctic Tern forming the Y in KINTYRE).
One of the completed ‘Location Boards’ situated at strategic points from Southend in Kintyre to Inveraray. The one below is at Ronachan viewpoint.
The incorporation of a bird was an important part of the design because all the regional Tourism Boards were having new logos created at the time. However my choice of the Arctic Tern to show the predominantly maritime nature of Kintyre’s birdlife was over-ruled by the Steering Committee (despite most other coastal regions using a seabird motif), who felt that Arctic Terns were too esoteric for most visitors to Kintyre, preferring a Golden Eagle instead. This was to capitalise on the big fuss being made in the media over Scottish Power’s siting of a new windfarm near Carradale at the nesting site of a pair of these magnificent birds. (In the end the eagles – a protected species - rather took to the wind turbines, treating them as unusually branched trees, but early on there was much speculation about sliced and diced Eagle on the menu at local restaurants. I think that the turbines continue to be shut down during the nesting season. Latest news - Summer 2013 - is that a number of 'protected species' have been injured or killed by rotating turbine blades. Where will it go now?)
This whole episode was an interesting exercise in the compromises which must be made when art meets commerce, and invaluable experience in dealing with bureaucracy. I continue to hold the view that the Arctic Tern of the original would have made for a stronger, punchier design, but at the end of the day I doubt if anyone was much bothered one way or the other… or at all. The client has the final say in these things.
The road signage on the whole has not stood up well to the ravages of the weather… and the occasion act of casual vandalism. Colours fade, and newer methods of producing printed material onto signs currently holds sway. Life moves on. However, I was glad to make my mark on the landscape for a season.
In late 2014, I was approached by BEAR Scotland the road management company to see if I still held the original artwork, so that they could use the ident on some new or replacement signs.
I had relinquished my original artwork to the initial contractors (Strathclyde Regional Council), but it turns out it had been lost or destroyed.
I was then asked to recreate the ident, and took the opportunity to tidy up one or two details intended for the original but never applied.
... but I still prefer the Arctic Tern.