Background and brief

It is difficult to visit Christ Church Cathedral and not feel inspired. From the outset it was clear to us that the rich spiritual, cultural and visual heritage of the Cathedral was essential to its identity – and as designers we should apply respect and reverence in our approach. Christ Church Cathedral invited Designworks to do much more than design the Cathedral’s identity, they asked our team to help them answer some very important questions;

What vision, mission and set of values  will the Christ Church Cathedral community articulate to guide and direct the organisation and support its decision-making, actions and behaviours?

  • What is the common goal that inspires and unifies the cathedral’s various purposes?
  • What are the issues and opportunities to which Christ Church Cathedral and its brand must respond?
  • How should the Cathedral’s visual identity be developed to support the organisations strategic objectives?
  • ChristChurch invited Designworks to develop a new brand identity - rooted in a thorough understanding of the history and heritage of the cathedral – that will provide the Christ Church community with the tools necessary to enable a Brand Action Plan with Guidelines and Communications Materials.


The core objective of the research was to understand the diversity of views both internally and externally of what Christ Church Cathedral is today and what it can go on to be in the future. Specifically it sought to ascertain: How the Cathedral serves the Local & Diocesan congregation and what it provides to tourists and customers.

The research was also conducted into establishing why Christ Church Cathedral was not performing as well as its religious and cultural attraction competitors and alternatives in Dublin city. Designworks organised qualitative research that included in-depth interviews with Church Leaders, worshipping community, staff, suppliers and external bodies.

This was augmented by secondary research utilising, visits to Cathedrals (Britain and Ireland1) books, magazines, international cathedral websites, online reports, blogs and other websites to unearth visitor trends and data, information and design trends. The findings highlighted issues with the physicality of the site including;

Unwelcoming closed railed, gated grounds and heavy foreboding entrance door.

Lack of  on-site facilities such as bus parking and visitor services

Limited awareness of brand and ignorance of offering among internal and external key stakeholders


It was also discovered that many audiences regarded the brand offering including the current visual identity as unappealing to relevant tourists segments.

The research also sought to seek answers to the question; What are the internal & external stakeholder perceptions of the Cathedral’s commercial offer - findings showed that the commercial purpose was disjointed and inconsistent due to the absence of a guiding vision and the dual issue of on the one hand the lack of understanding and observance of the religious traditions in the pursuit of commercial activities while on the other hand the lack of understanding in parts of the religious and worshipping community on the need and benefits of commercial activities

Our findings showed that visitors are demanding more from brands (which includes; churches, venues and attractions) in terms of personalised communication, quality products and outstanding customer service. This translates into a number of growing demands for Christ Church Cathedral including;

Positive experiential consistency for multiple audiences at all touch points including communications with internal individuals and groups.

Clear delineation between Church and Visitor Centre - smooth operation of both - Seamless worshipper /visitor  experience.

Defining the brand

A new vision was developed for recommendation to rebuild positive internal and external perceptions. The vision is:

For Christ Church Cathedral to collectively maximise efforts and benefits, attracting interest in all that it offers, especially known for its  Spiritual reception, Architectural magnificence, Historical significance and Hospitable, Inclusive, Experiences and Events in Special Spaces.



Visual Identity Design

View the Visual identity at


+353 86 2501 791


16 Oakdown Road,

Dublin D14 Y593, Ireland

FIDI. Fellow of the Institute of Designers in Ireland. © 2021 Martin Gaffney. All Rights Reserved


Space for Culture

Main Street, Killeshandra, Co. Cavan