Background and brief
In March 2020, Welsh Government announced its intentions to create a National Forest. The National Forest for Wales will run the length and breadth of the country through a connected ecosystem of ancient and new woodlands.
jamjar was commissioned to create the National Forest for Wales’ new brand along with a set of communication assets which would help communicate its benefits.
From the outset, Welsh Government wanted the people of Wales to feel a sense of shared ownership and feel part of the creation of the National Forest, so we involved the public and key stakeholders in the brand development.
Our brief was to create a bilingual brand which would engage and inspire, be distinct and recognisable, and be easy to apply and understand.
While a separate brand in its own right, as a complementary initiative to the Cymru Wales brand, there needed to be some degree of cohesion.
Research and insight
As with all our branding projects, phase one involved a lot of research. We visited forests, we studied forests, we spoke about forests…we lived and breathed forests!
We thought about how forests and trees make us feel, and we asked others the same question.
We quizzed the team at Welsh Government about the plans, aspirations and benefits of the National Forest and we carried out a brand discovery workshop with key stakeholders.
Armed with this insight, we built the brand strategy – the rationale, proposition, vision, mission, values and key messaging.
Using the brand strategy, we moved onto visualising the identity and crafting the messaging.
The brand language needed to communicate the fact that the National Forest is more than just trees. It will be home to thousands of plants and animals; crucial in tackling our climate emergency; an educational asset, a tourism asset, a commercial asset, a calm place to unwind and reconnect with nature…and so much more.
We worked up possible straplines, headlines and messaging to road test amongst the general public and stakeholders.
Working in tandem with the brand language was the initial ideas for the visual identity.
We took inspiration from our Celtic roots, the natural environment, the biodiversity of forests, different types of trees, the connectivity of the proposed forest and so much more to form some initial concepts.
Our initial ideas for both the visual identity and brand language were tested amongst the general public and key stakeholders for initial feedback.
Using this feedback, concepts were refined, enhanced and developed further, before reconsulting with the various audiences.
At this point, while Welsh Government loved the concepts for their simplicity and the fact they clearly depicted that people are at the heart of the National Forest, stakeholders and the general public questioned if they were ‘distinct’ and ‘Welsh’ enough.
Taking this on board, we reworked an initial idea inspired by some of the forest leaves we’d found on our exploration visits.
The final logo features the recognisable outline of Wales made up from various types of leaves found within Welsh forests. The interconnecting lines/veins within the symbol symbolise how the National Forest will stretch the length and breadth of Wales and connect our ancient and new woodlands.
The colour palette is inspired by the natural environment and the tones and hues within a forest, but also includes a shade of orange from the Cymru Wales brand palette to provide some cohesion.
Alignment with Cymru Wales brand
We selected aspects of the Cymru Wales brand to bring alignment between the two brands. This included a shared value – ‘Alive’, use of the horizon line as a graphical device and use of the Wales/Cymru Sans typeface.
Once the brand was finalised, we moved onto applying the brand to a suite of communication assets including social graphics, digital graphics, posters, a leaflet, an overarching animation and a series of videos. We also worked with nature enthusiast and Welsh TV presenter Iolo Williams to create an overarching brand video which brought to life the importance of the National Forest for Wales.