These two badges are souvenirs from the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre, in Northern Ireland. The Causeway is a basalt rock formation that’s drawn visitors for years and is now managed by the National Trust. Working for design agency Event, I was part of the team that designed the exhibition for the Visitor Centre.
Within the Centre, projected on the wall where they are visible to all, two animations play out repeatedly. They tell two stories about how the Causeway came to be. One is the geological explanation – volcanic activity and seeping lava, cooling slowly and cracking symmetrically in the process, then buried under glaciers and revealed by their erosion of the landscape. The second is the traditional story: Finn, the local giant, wants to fight the giant across the water, and builds a Causeway to reach him. Unfortunately the giant is larger than expected and it’s only his wife Oohah and his small son who can get him out of a bit of a pickle.
We discussed at length how the geology could be best conveyed, and we also discussed what the giants should look like in the animation. The giants on the badges are a spin-off of that project. I bought them when I visited the Centre a year after its opening, in 2012. I was pleased to spot that the staff had put beanbags in front of the film, because people were watching it enough to need them.