Poems in the Air • TAC Design

An app to explore hidden Northumberland through poetry

App Design | Branding | Web Design | Web Development

The project

The Poems in the Air mobile app is a collaboration between TAC, Northumberland National Park and the acclaimed poet Simon Armitage.

The concept was to design, build and launch an app that allowed visitors to locate a series of six poems, written by Simon during a visit to Northumberland, in specific locations around the park. With an emphasis on the app having no physical presence or intervention with the landscape, users automatically unlock each poem upon reaching the exact location it was written – leaving no footprint and experiencing exactly what Simon had experienced himself.

It was also important that the app encouraged visitors to get off the beaten track and discover new areas of the park they otherwise would never visit.

Logo design for Poems in the Air
Logo design for Poems in the Air

Creating distinction

TAC were commissioned to create a distinctive identity for the app. The logo had to compliment the existing Northumberland National Park brand but also link in with the concept of the app itself. We created a marque that references the Curlew found in the park’s logo, a quill for writing and also the rolling hills that dominate the landscape.

The Poems in the Air app on an iPhone home screen
Mobile app design fro Poems in the Air

Developing the app

The app was designed taking into account the existing brand guidelines of the National Park and the wide demographic of their visitors.

Northumberland National Park also contains some of the most remote areas in the country and mobile coverage is almost non-existent. Therefore it was important for us to develop a cohesive user journey that simplified the process of locating and unlocking the series of poems, allowing people to know where they are instantly and presenting them with the relevant information to the experience.

Poems in the Air
Mobile app design fro Poems in the Air

Experiencing the poems

We overcame a number of obstacles due to the remoteness and lack of mobile service at the proposed sites in the park. This required us to spend a lot of time out in the park testing and researching locations, leading to the development of a bespoke solution that did not rely on mobile data. This allowed us to provide a fail-safe, consistent experience to users and deliver an accurate way of determining location.

To ensure the poems can only be listened to at the locations themselves, we built functionality into the app that locks content once a user has left a location. This allowed us to meet Simon Armitage’s requirement that poems only be experienced at the sites they were written about.

Mobile app design fro Poems in the Air
Mobile app design fro Poems in the Air

We worked with TAC to develop our first mobile app, Poems In The Air. TAC met this technically and geographically demanding task fantastically well. We couldn't be happier with the finished product and hope to work with them again in the future.

Andrew MitchellDigital Officer


As part of the launch process we designed a website that provided information relating to the concept, the poet Simon Armitage, and details of how to download the app itself. The project generated national interest from the likes of the BBC, The Guardian, The Independent, The Telegraph, and Sky Arts.

Website design for the Poems in the Air app