Wish You Were Here: Putting designers on the map in West Sussex

When Design Collective Chichester was given the chance to hold a ‘takeover’ event at nationally acclaimed Pallant House Gallery, its organisers jumped at the chance. Then, they came to me for ideas for what to do.

The resulting project delivered much more than an event. It rejuvenated the Design Collective network and led to a promotional product that would have a lasting legacy, sharing designers’ contact details far and wide. We delivered design and marketing services with a commercial value of over £30,000 for £1,500, all resourced by volunteers.

Design Collective Chichester was founded in 2016 but had never published a list of members. The opportunity here was to use the gallery event as a platform to grow its community of creative professionals and promote members to an external audience in a more considered way.

The idea I came up with was for something that would give members visibility beyond one evening. The WISH YOU WERE HERE concept was suitably summery, and provided a framework: the postcard format. It also spelled out an important message about Chichester’s creative community: “We are here!”.

The concept provided scope for social media content in the run up to the event. It was a project that any number of people could take part in, and it would promote everyone as an individual designer while also delivering a valuable design product.The initial task was to promote the brief to the creative community. 54 creatives elected to take part, each creating a postcard design based on a location of their choosing in or around Chichester. Participants included illustrators, photographers, graphic designers, ceramicists and architects. Locations included famous landmarks like the Cathedral and West Wittering beach as well as lesser known spots like Selsey fishing beach, the modern architecture of Chichester Library and the ancient forest at Kingley Vale.

I worked with graphic designer Wendy Li to develop the eye-catching project identity and illustrator Chloe Robertson to create a beautifully drawn local area map of landmarks and postcard locations. Web designer Sara Watkins came on board to create an online directory of the participating designers and their work, and James Brand-Hollis created a slide-show for display at the event. Event management was by Alys Bryan and Julia Grant, social media was implemented by Gemma Young, and pack shots were done by photographer Dan Pick. Many other volunteers were involved to make the project a huge success – a testament to thoughtful strategy and collective effort.

Thank you to Pallant House gallery, Selsey Press and the design community of Chichester. Boxed sets of the 54 postcards are available from The Novium museum shop for £10 from 9th August 2019.

Find out more about Design Collective Chichester here.

“What a roaring success last night was. The concept was spot on and the marketing around it was incredible.”

Anna Zeuner, Head of Communications, Pallant House Gallery