Constraint Breeds Creativity

Thursday March 12th 2020 – one of those seminal moments we all remember – Taoiseach Leo Varadkar made a speech addressing the nation about a new worldwide threat – Covid19. The message was clear – we needed to do something we had never done before – social distance.

Following on from this announcement the management team at Journey – then known as Absolute – met for their weekly catch-up. With a dwindling order book, they quickly realised that this was a morning like no other.

A call the following day from one of their customers, Fitzmaurice’s Pharmacy in Bray, proved to be the inspiration for what has been a remarkable turnaround story. Concerned by the fact that some customers were failing to observe the social distancing guidelines while queueing, the client asked the team at Journey to develop a quick and practical solution to help.

By 4pm that Friday, the design team had designed and created a range of modular floor graphics, produced using special slip-resistant materials, encouraging patrons to “Please Queue Here” & “Keep Safe Distance”. Despite being the first time anyone in Ireland had seen such a solution, it proved highly successful in situ, encouraging the Journey team to see if they could scale the idea at speed.

By Saturday evening, they had created a new website,, to offer packages of floor graphics to customers all over Ireland. The website went live on the following Tuesday morning, St. Patrick’s Day.

The first orders arrived on the website early on Wednesday morning – and kept on coming. Journey switched to 24-hour production. By the end of the week, over 15,000 floor graphics had been delivered to a diverse range of companies, from grocery – including SuperValu, Centra and Daybreak -, to pharmacies, fast food outlets, hardware stores and, most importantly perhaps, hospitals.

Inevitably, in the cut-throat world that is design and print, others followed our lead, but then, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!

When faced with a crisis, Journey has shown that speed and agility of response are the keys to success. As the Covid19 situation ebbed and flowed over the following two years, the Qsafe range diversified and changed – graphics were developed for sports grounds, churches and primary schools with a more personalised message targeted at particular audiences.

Before vaccines we only had one way of staying safe – social distancing… and our team are very proud to have done their bit to help people during unprecedented times. Taking our understanding of customers’ needs and marrying it with the expertise of our creative team allowed us to do something that wasn’t about selling products in a retail environment, but rather keeping each other safe in a retail environment.

In hindsight, records must have been broken. To develop a concept and brand identity, prototype and test a solution, go into mass production with a full e-commerce website all in the space of one week, has never been done before. Thanks to the dedication of our creative team, Journey went from staring at an empty order book to moving to a 24-hour production schedule, keeping everyone employed and busy while many of our competitors closed their doors.

Skip to content