The Our Irish Women logo

Our Irish Women project logo, final design by Damien Goodfellow
National Museum of Ireland
Our Irish Women logo design suggestion by Clare Horgan, Claregalway Historical Society
Clare Horgan
Mná na hÉireann design suggestion by Clare Horgan, Claregalway Historical Society
Clare Horgan

Having decided to develop a logo, members suggested ideas, design concepts and key words that might encapsulate the ‘contribution’ of women, and would highlight the fact that many women have often not been acknowledged, or valued for this contribution.

The Logo Design

Clare Horgan (Claregalway Historical Society) created a design in both Irish and English that we all loved, so we used it as the foundation for our logo. Graphic designer Damien Goodfellow used his professional talents to embed extra layers of meaning into the imagery.

The symbolism of a circle

From the early brainstorming sessions, we always felt a logo with a circular shape would have more impact:

  • Irish women have traveled to many places across the world giving rise to the diaspora . Many people connect with ‘home’ by visiting the archive websites, so this is an exhibition that can be accessed by anyone, anywhere in the world.
  • In the past, women that joined religious orders or the nursing professions traveled to ‘new worlds’ and participated in world wars.
  • The saying ‘the circle of life’ reminds us that women are child-bearers, giving life to each successive generation and bearing the joy, happiness, pain and suffering that are part and parcel of child-rearing.
  • A circle is all-encompassing like the arms of a mother or grandmother and represents the domestic roles of women that are key to family life.

The currency of women

 The design of the logo is reminiscent of a coin:

  • Coins represent value. We ask the question: have we valued women and their contribution enough?
  • Coins represent wealth, reminding us that until relatively recently it was men that held wealth, property and hereditary rights. The Act of 1918, gave the vote only to those women over 30 that held property, or had husbands that did.
  • Coins represent wealth. The wealth of individual families and of the Irish State depended, and still depends on the wealth generated or enabled by the work of women.

The power of words

The words chosen for the logo illustrate the characteristics and concerns of women in the past, but that still ring true today.

Rather than directly translating Irish into English or vice versa, we decided to place the two languages side-by-side, mirroring the way in which people in Ireland live with their languages. We include both languages but use different words in each. By taking this approach, we were able to:

  • Include more words
  • Encourage enquiry by non-Irish speakers. We hope that visitors to the exhibition may be intrigued enough to search the web for the Irish words to discover their meaning.
  • Include the word ‘powerful’ in both Irish and English, which will only be apparent to speakers of Irish. For those that notice this duplication we hope to encourage the question: ‘why’?
  • This ‘hidden’ replication of ‘powerful’  also references that the ‘power’ of women in Irish society has at times been hidden, repressed or suppressed, not unlike the history of the Irish language.

The Ireland motif

The logo’s central motif is the island of Ireland, with graphics depicting a woman’s face and head, and the fields, water (sea, rivers, and lakes) and mountains typical of the Irish landscape.

  • This represents the centrality of women to Irish life, society, history and culture, as well as acknowledging the challenges of life in the past, when many women lived, worked and raised families in a harsh, unforgiving environment, especially in the northern and western regions where paid employment, natural resources and access to ‘good’ land were limited.
  • The woman in the motif is looking to the west, reminding us of the many women and girls that left Ireland’s shore for a life in the new worlds of America and Canada.

The exhibition banners

We decided to use banners as opposed to panels for our exhibition so when the exhibition closes, the banners can be taken down and made into pull-ups, which can then be easily transported and displayed in each community. At the conclusion of the exhibition, each iCAN member will have their own banner to keep and display.

We hope that you like the Our Irish Women logo and exhibition, please feel free to post your feedback and comments below.



Comments about this page

  • Congrats Lorna for the excellent work in this project.
    It is wonderful to remember the extraordinary women of our Country.
    Congrats to Clare and Damien on their interesting logos

    By Noelene Beckett Crowe (24/09/2018)

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