LOOM, a graphic design studio based in the Isle of Lewis, used their skills as a tool to embed Gaelic language into the streets of Stornoway for the week of Seachdain na Gàidhlig with a little help from the Small Grants Fund, made possible by Bòrd na Gàidhlig. Physical, visually stimulating word-boards popped up in iconic locations around Stornoway, encouraging locals and visitors to follow the ‘phrase-hunt’ and collect all 10 Gaelic words/phrases on a digital map. As a studio, they wanted to create a way of sharing place-based Gaelic phrases and words with the island community, with the outcome of provoking and stimulating conversation and curiosity through design.
The aim was to bring a brand new style and face to Gaelic’s visual identity, against the backdrop of locations like the harbour, the town square and the castle grounds. This was to encourage learners to make that first push towards learning and engaging with the language, even by integrating a few simple phrases into their everyday vocabulary.
The installation and positions of these interactive graphics were photographed and shared online by the team. The digital phrase-hunt was led online through socials and their website allowed people to download a colouring-in sheet which was a mindfulness activity for all ages.
The meanings of the 10 phrases were shared over the next few weeks on social media which allow the legacy of this project to last for longer than just Seachdain na Gàidhlig itself. The local businesses/orgs that were involved had the option to keep a hold of the word boards that they generously displayed as a piece of wall art for their offices. Since Seachdain na Gàidhlig, one of the phrases (’S Fheàrr Gàidhlig Bhriste na Gàidhlig sa Chiste) was made into a print to be sold due to its popularity.