Brand and strategy grounded in community & rural identity.

Uist Beò
Brand design
Content strategy

Art direction

Photography: Cara Forbes
Motion: Box Dog Inc

Teaming up with Uist Beò, we co-designed a placemaking brand and content strategy rooted in the spirit and culture of residents. Our ground-up approach built the foundation for a cohesive placemaking brand, site, and campaign.

Uist is a place worth knowing.

However, many are unfamiliar with the archipelago beyond a mere sense of romanticism. To be fair, it is romantic; even a short drive will reveal rugged landscapes, windswept coastlines, and charming crofts. However, life here is also marked by cancelled ferries, Gaelic in the Coop, and summer evenings that stretch towards midnight. The rich tapestry of these islands and the strong resilience of the communities that live within them are often unknown to folk beyond their shore

Uist Beò took on the challenge of telling its island's story authentically to faces new and unfamiliar. We partnered with them to create a brand, website, and strategy to support this ambition and wider placemaking objectives hoping to positively impact the way that people live, view, and interact with the Islands.

Engagement and Co-design 
Our approach was deeply rooted in engagement and co-design with the Uist Beò working group. Co-design, particularly in rural areas, preserves community identity by grounding growth and progress in local values and perspectives. Throughout the project, we worked together to explore the culture, people, and challenges of a life lived in Uist.

Above: Workshop output creating understanding from a complex conversation



Resident-centric Decision Making 
In this project, we prioritised amplifying the voices resonating from the heart of the community - its residents. This approach not only allowed us to cultivate an authentic narrative but also provided a platform for locals to engage more deeply and connect to more of life in Uist.
In addition to our resident-centric approach, we have also taken into consideration the needs of our other users. Our project aims to enhance the quality of life throughout Uist, thereby creating a ripple effect of positive impact felt across user bases. By strengthening our local economy, fostering confidence, and creating new opportunities, we are working towards self-sufficiency and reducing reliance on outdated or imbalanced economic models, such as tourism.
To foster a resident-centric vision, we developed a content development framework that all copy could align too. Our objective was to connect, empower, and educate - with most powerful communications sitting at the intersection of all three.
Gaelic Culture and Language Decisions
In undertaking the Uist Beò project, we recognised the importance of embracing Gaelic culture and language. Gaelic is an integral part of Uist's identity, and a living testament to the island's rich history and traditions, forming the backbone of its cultural fabric.
We chose to integrate the Gaelic language into our platform in a manner that truly reflects the essence of the islands. This involved combining it with the existing content, seamlessly intertwining the two, rather than simply adding a translate button.
Come home to...
We centred the placemaking ambitions of the project around a device of ‘Come home to’. This was developed with the community and based on the insight that people referred to Uist as ‘home’ no matter where they lived most of the time. It allows us to spotlight not only the opportunity and life on the islands but the suggest that this isn’t somewhere just to visit inline with the wider repopulation goals of the islands.
A brand built on complexity and rural identity
The brand celebrates the geographic formation of the archipelago through a wordmark made of different pieces, things aren't smooth but there is a rugged beauty to this. The breaks in the letterforms recall stencils seen in agricultural contexts - something people are still close to in Uist, but applied in a fresh way. This was important - the group wanted to avoid clichés in branding for islands and present a modern face to the world. The wordmark can be broken up to create patterning that flows through the brand adding vibrance and interest.

Thomas Fisher

"Thanks so much to Friendhood for the huge contribution you have made, without which we could not have progressed the project so successfully. The community response has been so postive and we're really pleased to have taken this journey together."


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