Valletta Design Cluster
- Marketing Strategy
- Communications Strategy
The Valletta Design Cluster is Malta’s national centre for design. Slated to open in 2019 on the site of a 16th-century slaughterhouse in the historic Biccerija community, the Valletta Design Cluster needed a visual identity and communications strategy that reflected its brand values and organisational objectives.
Our research for this ambitious undertaking began by looking for the origin and history of Maltese design. This led us to visit the National Library and National Archives and to interview key participants who played an essential role in the development of design in Malta from as early as the 1950s.
Our primary research raised more questions than it answered, but we were able to conclude that Maltese design—just like much of Malta’s culture—is at its core an eclectic mix of global influence.
It was important that the Valletta Design Cluster’s identity avoided Maltese visual clichés, such as the eight-pointed cross or patterned tiles. Instead, we looked at the site itself (which will become the most iconic brand touchpoint for Malta’s national centre for design) as a point of departure. This building offers an unlikely but significant visual reflection of Valletta’s landscape, with stepped lines prominently marking both sides of its edifice reflecting the many physical and conceptual layers that are Valletta’s (and Malta’s) building blocks.
We used this identifier as the point of departure for Valletta Design Cluster’s brand identity. The Es found in the name creates an unusual visual ‘staircase,’ which we extended to all parts of the brand’s application.