Illuminating Health Paths


Réalta is the exciting new National Body for Arts and Health in Ireland. What began as a pilot driven by a single doctor, in a single hospital in Waterford in 1990 – had in recent years grown into a much larger national movement to reintegrate the arts into health treatments and strategies. And by 2022, informed and inspired by decades of hands-on-practice under the Waterford Healing Arts Trust, the time had come for an official national body to be formed. How should it be structured and connected to the existing Waterford Healing Arts Trust brand and the editorially independent Arts + Health brand the team oversaw? And what should it be called? That’s where TOTEM came in.


We started this process by simply asking why. We facilitated brand workshops and open discussions with all stakeholders on why a national body for Arts and Health in Ireland was needed. The team shared the most incredible personal stories of the transformative impact they’d witnessed the arts having on people’s health and wellbeing as we explored this new body’s purpose. It’s reason for being.

As well as the technical considerations for how this new body might connect with the existing Waterford Healing Arts Trust and Arts + Health brands. Effectively we needed to decide how many brands were needed into the future and how they would be structured. Eventually, we honed in on a hybrid brand structure that would involve a new brand name and identity for the national body, with the existing brands sitting under its remit as separate sub-brands (with some refreshes).


Then we began to create. We took all the rich insights, the heartfelt stories and passionate dreams the team had shared in our discussions and began the process of distilling it all down, to define this new national brand’s purpose. Its why. Which emerged as being TO ILLUMINATE HEALTH PATHS.

And with this clarity we started into our brand naming creative process, from which one name unanimously stood apart for everyone – RÉALTA. This Irish word for star powerfully communicates what this new body is here to do. And set the team up to begin their vital work shining a light on the transformative and central role The Arts play in Health nationally.


And finally, we empowered the team with a new meaningful brand identity and website to launch this new national body under. We designed a motif in the Réalta identity to represent overlapping health paths, that interact and transform into a star. And a vibrant new colour palette to convey a sense of illumination across their visual language and website too – communicating the sense of optimism and energy this exciting new brand has for the future of health paths in Ireland.

We complimented this, by creating a new logo and website for the repositioned Waterford Healing Arts too – evolving the original circle into a new butterfly motif to acknowledge the inspiring process of metamorphosis this incredible brand has ignited in the Arts and Health space in Ireland. With three distinct shapes representing the patient, artist and healthcare worker and their continued role in bringing all three together in Waterford University Hospital and its surrounds.

And as a project, we at TOTEM couldn’t have been prouder to play our part in the development of this incredible body, and evolution of its sub-brands, that we believe will have far reaching benefits for all our health and well-beings into the future.

We couldn’t recommend TOTEM highly enough. From the outset, we felt that they really supported us through the whole process of developing and defining our new brand: they listened to us, reflected back what they were hearing at each stage, and presented us with potential solutions to help us to clarify our thinking. We were energised by their process because it was clear, logical, creative and relevant to our needs. Within our organisation, we are really pleased with our new brand, identities and websites, but the feedback from our stakeholders has also been universally positive.

Claire Meaney