Dublin's Winter Lights

There’s nothing like having your own home town as a client, and it's our pleasure to work with Dublin City Council to help the city be its best!

Our client, Dublin City Council came to us with a highly unusual challenge - being just too popular!

The problem was that the annual switching-on of the Christmas lights in the centre of the city had grown too big and the large crowds attracted to a small number of streets were making it too difficult for young families to enjoy the spectacle in safety.

So this year, Dublin City Council decided to do something different, something everyone in the city could enjoy without having their frozen toes trodden on. The council's solution was to spread the lights out over a larger area – a 'Festival of Light' that would illuminate thirteen iconic buildings all around the city for 30 days.

We helped them design, explain and promote 'Winter Lights', which runs throughout the Christmas period and will bring a little bit of festive joy all over the city!

Our job was to tell Dubliners about the new arrangement: we were asked to provide a name for this new city-wide light installation and to build a sense of anticipation about it. We also had to tell people what to expect - whilst simultaneously maintaining a little bit of yuletide mystique.

That holiday feeling typically demands high production values, but this was a small budget, high impact brief. Cut to two o'clock in the morning before the shoot, as our art director, Kieron Farrell, finally managed to wrestle a rope of LED lights into letters spelling out the appropriate words...

Beginnings

With our logo and concept approved, we began the process of trying to build it out of rope lights.

This involved working out the correct size of the letters in proportion to the thickness of the rope light.

It also depended on how easily or otherwise the rope lights would bend (!)

Building the lights

There were a lot of considerations when building the logo, not least the issue of transporting them to the photo studio.

It was decided that each word should be built separately on its own 2ft x 4ft plywood board. Both boards were covered with a dark black fabric (which had to be just the right texture, not too shiny).

This was then overlaid with a printed template of the word and the rope lights were then wrestled into shape.

Equipment

Drill? Check. Workstand (aka two wooden chairs)? Check. Cable ties? Check. Tea? Check. The rope light was worked into place and the points to tie were marked on the template.

These points were then drilled through and the cable ties used to fasten it into place.

When building the logo in a single line, it was not possible to “draw" every part of the word (the cross on the t for example). These would have to be added afterwards in Photoshop.

To the shoot

The two boards were taken (very carefully) to the photo studio.

We photographed each separately, experimenting with different levels of exposure to get the brightness of the lights just right and to give us some options to play with.

The finished logo

Here it is in all its glory. The missing parts were added in Photoshop and some of the shots taken at higher exposure were overlaid at certain points to give it a flare effect at the edges.

My work here is done.

The result is festive, it's Dublin and it's a little bit hand-made too, just like the best type of Christmas. We hope our campaign will strike all the right notes this December.