Myddai's new logo
A Myddfai branded tea tin
A Myddfai branded oregano jar
A Myddfai branded herb jar
A Myddfai branded soap tin
Like so many remote, rural communities, the tiny Welsh village of Myddfai has seen significant decline. Once famed across medieval Europe, its skilled physicians’ knowledge of potions to cure common ailments was far in advance of anything known at the time. But times change.
A bustling, close community had begun to see its shops, trades, lives and livelihoods drain away. Then, like physicians of old, the village stirred. In search of the lifeline of lottery funding, Myddfai began to create and sell a new range of branded craft products and homeopathic remedies recalling its pre-Gothic fame.
‘Made in Myddfai’ meant business. How could we help breathe life into this brand?
Working closely with entrepreneur Jo Gideon, one of the leaders of the project, and with the legend of the ‘Physicians of Myddfai’, we looked to create an identity that would resonate and inspire.
We immersed ourselves in the story of the Lady of LIyn-y-Fan Fach. A beautiful lady was said to have surfaced from this lake three times to be courted and won by a young farmer. Though she eventually returned to the lake, leaving him heartbroken, she bore him three sons.
To the eldest, Rhiwallon, she gifted a bag of prescriptions and instructions for the preservation of health. He was one of the first physicians of Myddfai, creating a medical dynasty that prospered for over five centuries.
The village deserved a bold representation of legend and legacy. So the identity we developed has a handcrafted look. It features a pestle & mortar, the main tool of the physician’s trade. And it contains the herbs blended by Rhiwallon to create his potions.
The identity is simple and strong. It’s immediately evocative. Something to which the community can relate, and with which visitors can identify. It’s infinitely adaptable, whether it’s carved into a bar of handmade soap, applied to packaging or even ‘branded’ into wooden milking stools.
It’s about a future blended from a past. It’s ‘Made in Myddfai’.
Myddfai won the lottery funding it sought. It will appear as part of a BBC series – examining the regeneration of villages - which airs in 2011.
The branding has since appeared on stationery, ribbons, aprons and tea towels. It has been applied to mugs, tea jars, herb sachets and bath salts. And carried by exhibition stands, greetings cards, postcards, even Twitter.
The project was both a pleasure and an education. It was also a privilege to be able to contribute to a project that brings renewed health to a very special community.
The Myddfai project was always going to require partners with an exceptional level of dedication and an understanding, both of the constraints of our budget and the scale of our ambition. Voyage Design rose to the challenge and consistently delivered on time and to expectations. To create a Myddfai brand - capturing the traditions and heritage of a tiny Welsh village in visual language which the community understood and endorsed and which at the same time spoke to a much wider audience - this was their brief. Jules James, Chris Ruffles and the team created a look and feel for an extensive range of products thus enabling us to hit the ground running as a premium Welsh gift brand. Voyage Design also helped us to meet ludicrously tight deadlines - imposed by project milestones in our high profile journey (as part of the National Lottery Village SOS programme which BBC1 are filming as a documentary series to air in 2011). Voyage Design have undoubtedly provided us with a great foundation upon which to build a groundbreaking social enterprise with a real difference and to put the village of Myddfai on the map as a must visit destination! I wholeheartedly recommend them.
- Jo Gideon - Village Champion