Designing out vandalism

We were commissioned by DONG Energy to develop an artwork for site hoardings at their operations and maintenance base in Birkenhead. We are constructing the facility, which will service DONG Energy’s Burbo Bank and Burbo Bank Extension offshore wind farm.

Due to previous graffiti where the artwork was to be installed, we initiated a unique approach which succeeded in designing out vandalism.

We worked with Mike O’Shaughnessy, Senior Lecturer in Graphic Design & Illustration at Liverpool John Moores University.

The aim was to create a hoarding design that could be seen from boats crossing the river as well as from the Liverpool side. A bold design was developed, on the theme of ‘a love letter across the Mersey’, to be unveiled on Valentine’s Day.

Mike O’Shaughnessy said

“The handwriting had to speak to a range of different stakeholders. Mersey Ferry and Cruise liner traffic sail within yards of the development. The drawing style had to be accessible and combine a calligraphic approach with legibility. Whilst appealing to the general public, it also had to have a quality that would speak to more marginalised groups. The design had to talk to the people who previously defaced the existing panels.”

We organised a workshop with local poet Nathan Jones delivering a session on ‘changing horizons’ to art students from Wirral Metropolitan college.

The students developed poetic quotes reflecting on their responses to the changing horizons of the Wirral and the Mersey, which were included on the final panel of the hoarding design and bound into a booklet distributed locally.

We also commissioned an academic research report on preventing vandalism through inclusivity in design.

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