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  • Dovetailed

Turtle Dove & Friends

When we saw Turtle Dove’s shout out for some design assistance on social media, we knew this would be the perfect opportunity for us to offer our expertise on a pro-bono basis. Turtle Dove is a brilliant social enterprise which empowers young women in Cambridge through employment opportunities in the hospitality sector, and youth support. It is run by women for young women. Kate Nation, Managing Director, founded Turtle Dove to improve the future of women who are, or are at risk of being unemployed through not having the confidence or experience to seek employment. She also wanted to create a safe female-only space that offers these young women an opportunity to flourish.

After an initial call with the team, we established that the most pressing action was to unify the design of the resources which had been created for their wellbeing packages - with some assistance from Break Charity. Turtle Dove were sending them to all the young women they worked with to help support them during the first lockdown. Using Turtle Dove’s signature colour palette and branding guidelines, we created the below.

We absolutely loved working with Kate and Monika (a volunteer through the RedThread Partnership which Turtle Dove were a part of) on the wellbeing packages and found that there was a lot of synergy between their ethos towards Turtle Dove and ours at Dovetailed – not just in our excellent choice of names! As we wanted to continue the relationship, we asked if there were other areas where we could offer our design skills. Next up, was Buffy the Van – a black Vauxhall Vivaro which needed a fresh look on a minimal budget. Buffy is driven all around Cambridge so she needed a striking design which easily conveyed who Turtle Dove is and what they do. Our vision was 'afternoon tea on wheels' and we wanted the design to seem life-like, as though you could just sit on the chair and enjoy a spot of afternoon tea. We used the black of the van to act as a silhouette for the big, bold and bright tea party inspired motifs in Turtle Dove brand colours. We wanted the van to have a fun and fabulous feel to it – as well as ensuring that Turtle Dove’s key messages were on display. The design was sketched and refined on an iPad before being finalised on Adobe Illustrator. This was then sent to Wesigns UK who translated them onto vinyl and gave Buffy her very distinctive new look!

Turtle Dove advised that it was imperative for them to get their message to teachers and pastoral staff at secondary education settings in Cambridge because this would allow them to reach the young women who would really benefit from Turtle Dove’s work experience opportunities and support. Turtle Dove wanted to launch their new Alternative Education Programme 2020/21 in September and asked Dovetailed to help design leaflets and a takeaway postcard which could be sent to staff and the young women they work with. Our response, were these eye-catching illustrations which represent and celebrate the young women that Turtle Dove supports. Using Turtle Dove's colour palette, we added complementary tones to really highlight each of the individual characters whilst ensuring that the afternoon tea element was clearly communicated.

Our last piece of work for Turtle Dove (for now!) involved creating a brand image for the Friends of Turtle Dove which is their new communication strategy to entice regular donations on a monthly or annual basis. The tiered approach offers a range of added value benefits to those donating differing levels of financial support. We wanted to create templates on Canva which could be easily adapted by the Turtle Dove team and then rolled out across other areas of the social enterprise including merchandise in the future.

Inspiration came from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and in particular, Sir John Tenniel’s illustration of The Mad Tea Party from 1865. The design we created is the mascot, the Turtle Dove hosting her friends to afternoon tea and each of the creatures – the Macaw, the Flamingo, the Toucan and the Tortoise - represent a different tier of support. To help aid clear communication, they each have their own distinctive colour palette and identity. We included birds which can be found in Brazil to tie-in the brilliant connection Turtle Dove has there and their ambition to do so much more.

We have thoroughly enjoyed working with Turtle Dove and learning more about the brilliant and vital work they do with young women in Cambridge. It has been inspirational to see what can be achieved when women support each other. We know this is just the beginning of our relationship with the team at Turtle Dove and look forward to supporting them going forwards. If you would like to find out more about Turtle Dove or to become one of their friends, please visit


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