A name and identity for a new programme, led by the Irish Hospice Foundation, that’s designed to provide comprehensive support to nursing homes in delivering palliative and end-of-life care. This programme aims to enhance the quality of life for residents and offer solace to families and loved ones during the bereavement process.

The Background

In 2022, the Irish Hospice Foundation (IHF), in partnership with the All Ireland Institute of Hospice and Palliative Care (AIIHPC) and the Health Service Executive (HSE), developed a continuous learning programme to provide comprehensive support to nursing homes in palliative care, ensuring a dignified and comforting end of life and a less painful bereavement process for the families of those in their care. Informed by profound compassion, the innovative programme is rooted in expertise, experience, and well-founded research. We were commissioned to develop a name, tone of voice guide and brand identity for the programme to communicate its aims coherently and engagingly.

The Idea

Caru, derived from the old English word for 'care', embodies the essence of treating others with compassion, particularly in the context of open conversations about the complex topic of death. Inspired by the natural world, especially autumnal forests, Caru's design draws from the symbolism of trees representing wisdom and the Celtic tradition of the tree of life, connecting with ancestral spirits. The visual identity captures the serene beauty of walking along an autumn forest path, reflecting the journey of life. The compassionate logo features rounded corners for approachability, with organic shapes resembling a leaf and a caring embrace. The rich colour palette includes autumnal hues of burgundy, orange, yellow, blues, and greens in deep, medium, and light tones.

The Execution

With a diverse asset bank containing graphic shapes, bespoke illustrations, and brand photography, Caru's visual language strives for a blend of empathy and professionalism. The graphic shapes – known as the 'Caru leaves' – draw inspiration from the negative space within the "C" and the letter "r" in the wordmark. They are skilfully overlapped in tonal variations to craft landscape-inspired visuals, or they can be used individually to add visual intrigue to different applications. We worked with photographer Leo Byrne to curate a portfolio of images that focus on two core themes: capturing moments of connection and compassion between staff, residents, and their families, and creating empowering portraits of nursing home staff and residents, exuding openness and trust. To complement the visual identity further, we engaged Domenique Serfontein (Maiden Moose) to create a set of four Autumnal scene illustrations that consists of scalable modules in multiple colourways, offering maximum flexibility in producing programme assets.



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We really enjoyed working with the Red Dog team on the development of the Caru brand. From the outset, the team demonstrated a thorough understanding of the insights, programme's aims, and objectives and clearly understood the sensitivity of the subject matter. Red Dog led the brand development process very efficiently, bearing in mind the range of stakeholders involved, and their design solutions were excellent and very well thought through. The Red Dog team also brought a fantastic illustrator and photographer on board and managed the whole project seamlessly. All in all, Red Dog were great partners and went above and beyond to develop a strong brand for Caru.

Lynn Murtagh, Head of Marketing & Communications, Irish Hospice Foundation

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Special thanks to our collaborators

Maiden Moose (Illustration)

Leo Byrne (Photography)

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