Corporate social responsibility

Bank of Ireland

Customer, Community, Environment & Governance

The business of CSR

The Bank of Ireland Responsible Business Report brings a better awareness of the bank's Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities to its staff and helps to reinforce their pride in the organisation.

In line with best practice internationally, Bank of Ireland report on their CSR activities and engaged me to design their second report highlighting their social activities through the pillars of Customer, Community, Environment and Governance. In compiling the report, the team consulted widely with colleagues and stakeholders. A key finding was that responsible business practice is best highlighted through individual case studies and personal accounts, this led to a style of content that was focussed on the individual rather than the organisation.

Part of the design challenge was to find a way to present the business rationale alongside individual articles while retaining the heart and personality of the content, allowing to stand out from the banks other styles of communications.

“John re-designed our Talking Point publication and fulfilled our brief to the letter, and then some more. John and his team were extremely professional, flexible, and creative and delivered a first quality product which enhanced our internal communications across the Group. The response from the business to the changes have been extremely positive. We wouldn’t hesitate to use him again.”

Sara Holland - Head of Group Internal Communications
at Bank of Ireland

An illustrative approach

Quite early on we decided to use a very colourful and illustrative approach to the page layouts, section breaks and key information.

Inspired by the tube map design we set out to show how the different pillars that informed the CSR activity of the bank were connected. To achieve this we imagined a train line for each pillar, Customer, Community, Environment and Governance. CSR activities sometimes crossed multiple pillars allowing for junctions in the lines.

Using a simple illustration style we added characters, locations and props, to help visually indicate the nature of activity and draw the viewers attention to the topics they might wish to learn more about. The illustration style served as a playful navigation aid for the document.


The report received widespread positive responses across the organisation, it was praised for the design approach, strong use of photography, great warmth and colour.

In 2016 Bank of Ireland undertook a rigorous external assessment of their Responsible Business performance through the external accreditation 'Business Working Responsibly Mark', provided by Business in the Community Ireland and audited by the National Standards Authority of Ireland.