The typographic design is a record of the names of the 185 people who lost their lives in the earthquake, with introductory texts in English and te reo Māori, and a word mark. The wishes of the bereaved families paired with the architectural vision for the memorial were the inspiration for the design. The names are arranged in four simple lines that follow the flow of the river and the wall. They are not ordered alphabetically, but by location at the time of the earthquake, with family members, friends, and colleagues grouped together as requested by families. Foreign language names are set in their native language as well as English – with ten languages represented on the wall.
Oi Manawa Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial has been nominated for the 2018 German Design Awards (Typography) and received a silver pin in the 2017 Designers Institute Best Awards.