Piction Media (KDimension) works alongside educational interpretation departments to produce brands, image systems, and infographics that create ambience and draw traffic. ‘Giants of the Galapagos’ is a good example of this side of our portfolio.
The Galapagos tortoise can live for over 150 years. Although protected by a huge, bony shell, it has proved vulnerable to predators and disease. Some 3 of the 14 identified species have vanished completely. The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) is a charity devoted to the worldwide conservation of animals and habitats. ZSL and others are helping to protect the tortoises by undertaking field conservation in the Galapagos Islands. Nearer home, its ‘Giants of the Galapagos’ exhibit at London Zoo is styled on the tortoises’ natural habitat, consisting of watering holes and mud wallows. An essential component of this fantastic enclosure is the fun and educational interpretation, giving all ages the chance to learn about the Galapagos, the tortoises and also Darwin’s theories.
Our very own Matt Kay provided art direction on this fascinating project, creating the design interface and ‘look and feel’. A graphic system was created with associated logos and symbols, providing a link-up across the various sizes, shapes and types of signage and their location. As you will see from our images, the hexagon shape was at the heart of the design brief.
This collaboration follows hot on the heels of ’Walking with Darwin‘, a related project to ‘Giants of the Galapagos’, also requiring impactive interpretation graphics.
It was Charles Darwin’s observations of the Galapagos tortoises (1835) that helped him to develop his revolutionary theory of ‘natural selection’. Darwin was a corresponding fellow to The Zoological Society of London throughout this famous voyage of discovery on the HMS Beagle. Hence, The ‘Walking with Darwin’ trail has been a really important undertaking for ZSL London Zoo. To celebrate Darwin’s 200th birthday, it launched an innovative interactive trail, involving visitors in Darwin’s theories as they are taken on their own voyage of discovery to specific enclosures around the Zoo. Darwin’s evolutionary theories were brought to life through ‘Animals in Action’ displays and visits to Gorilla Kingdom where people were invited to make a ‘monkey of yourself’.
Again, art direction was provided by Piction’s co-director Matt Kay. A distinctive brand and image system was created, with bespoke graphics and layout. This was a substantial project because it was essential that there be an identifiable Darwin brand applied to diverse shapes and sizes of signage, which was then to be placed widely around the substantial Zoo complex. This image system also needed to be distinct from the Zoo’s plentiful other signage systems. In addition to the issues of continuity, the visual imagery needed to be specific to particular enclosures and also link to the historical details of Darwin’s theories. Not a small undertaking.
ZSL London Zoo has over 650 species of animals and exhibits, so there are always exciting projects on the go. For example, another of our collaborations was the Clore Rainforest Lookout. This is a fabulous exhibit that brings down the barriers between animals and visitors by creating a basement-to-rooftop South American rainforest under a central biome – a translucent roof accessing natural light.
Part funded by a substantial donation from the Clore Duffield Foundation, ZSL have created an environment in which visitors can access the experience of a tropical rainforest at both forest floor and canopy level. Giant rodents, endangered golden-headed tamarins, silvery marmosets, birds and agoutis roam freely, with other species living in surrounding enclosures. A nocturnal area called the Nightzone allows visitors to see how the rainforest comes to life at night.
Piction Media (KDimension) produced imagery to create a look and feel of being deep inside a rainforest. This was done under Izabelle’s art direction and our images were combined with Izzy’s text and layout elements. The challenge on this project was to deliver a real sense of the different life of the different levels of the rainforest. We needed to get the mix right – combining strongly coloured details, intense photographic imagery and interpretation / information elements. So this was another satisfying projects to work on. We were also commissioned to provide the surface graphics for education tables and benches in the Discovery Zone, where school groups and families can learn about this unique forest habitat and its residents.
We gave an illustrative treatment to the ‘Rainforest’ typography in the Clore logo. The word ‘Rainforest’ was created out of a composition of rain droplets, in keeping with the environmental images system of this project.
We couldn’t sign off the post without including an image of the night planners we provided worked on .
ZSL run Zoo Nights, special evening events at London Zoo and Whipsnade. Fire-eaters, acrobats and musicians in and around the feeding and animal event. Not sure what the animals think of this but definitely one for the diary. Too cool for school!
Ali Kay, 2010