Part 3: 21st century zoo

“A local wildlife park wants you to develop a logo that supports the idea of a popular and fun family-centred experience, but also helps to make people more aware of the conservation work they do. The trustees of the park have recently visited Toronto and London Zoos to see how they balance the need to attract visitors and funding with a commitment to educating people about animal welfare and habitat issues.

Develop a logo that represents your chosen animal in an appealing way for a family audience, but which also maintains its image and integrity as a wild animal. Record your progress in your learning log.”

I started by looking at logos simply depicting animals, before getting specific…

Luke Bott

Carlos Ferdandez

Joe Bosack

Sonia Gretman

As you can see, these use negative space, with a clear relationship between two ‘friends’.

And some animal themed logos gathered on one of my Pinterest boards. Negative space again, and Picasso style single line drawings…

Then I’ve focused in on Wildlife/safari/zoos/conservation. This got me thinking that it would depend on the audience – is this aimed at mainly at adults or children? Some designs and colour palettes are more sophisticated than others…

I couldn’t find many that had the same sense of style that I found in the general logos – but these are nice. I like the way the zebra stripes ‘fuse’ with the spines of the seahorse.

And here, the stripe drops to form the letter ‘l’.

Some are actually just typographic such as this one at Combe Martin.

I had a feeling animal and paw prints might have been used before!

This is the little zoo in Plymouth they made a Hollywood film about ( I believe the term is ‘loosely based’)!!!! I didn’t notice any of the staff looked like Matt Damon or Scarlett Johansson. But I could be wrong. My friends got married here,  the sun shone and baby meerkats were just outside. So for that reason I remember it as a lovely place.

Sometimes the ‘tone’ seems to emphasise fun and family friendly.

Yep, there is a certain naff quality to this…

OK its not original but its neat and does the job!

This is more like it…

This is my favourite! The animals are in silhouette, depicted in a naturalistic way – this combined with the crown all seem to convey they are a quality set up, and these animals are treated with respect…But its so clever that the choice of ‘aged print’ and colour palette make the effect warm and approachable too.

Google screen shots for zoo logos – a variety of approaches – I like the relaxed feel of Colchester Zoo…I think Whipsnade must have been designed by the same designers as for London Zoo, presumably under the ‘ZSL’ umbrella?

And from the book Logo by Michael Evamy – I love the kipling monkey

San Francisco Zoo

And the brief mentioned the clients have recently visited  London and Toronto Zoos. These have obviously been designed by experienced folk…Various animals interact with the letter forms at London zoo, and for Toronto, its gorgeously pared down. Sleek, but approachable!

Unrelated to animals, but I like this ‘folded style’ for the simplicity and illusion of depth.

My Work

Brain storming animals – what qualifies as wildlife? I’ve underlined some that have potential

I was aware that its unlikely I will be able to produce anything very original! For that reason I didn’t really like the idea of grouping a cluster of assorted animals, perhaps with a sunset or a tree behind them, or spending much time thinking about inserting animal print to fill letters…Maybe better to pick just one animal to represent a zoo, but what on earth do you pick??

These first roughs were done with the help of my niece, Zoe. My visual memory isn’t great, so some of the ‘animals’ are yet to be identified by human science(!)

Maybe a giraffe bending down might work, as it would make a ‘squarer’ format logo.

Here are Zoe’s lovely ones…We were considering an animal lying on top of lettering, or maybe curling round it. And she was able to help me out with the shape of a toucan’s tail!

Having a think about shapes, and big cats


Rhinos etc…

I spent a long time looking at my illustration sketch books for ideas like this rhino…

…and printing out reference pictures, these are paper clipped together by subject…By this point I was of course driving myself nuts.

More sketching…Lemurs. Lovely shapes!

Lion again…

Some really bad ideas..I don’t think I can have a gorilla wearing a snake?!

Some ink versions on layout paper, so I can scan them in

I kept getting pretty distracted by the sheer choice of animals, so at this point, I simply picked one – the elephant – and had a go at some variations. Some are clearly not working, I don’t want to go too childish or absurd.

I scanned in my inked images to allow me to shuffle images and play with layout.

Psst. This is actually my favourite. I didn’t pursue it as I suspect its a bit girly and not that accurate in its portrayal of wildlife??

Rough idea combining images… I like the movement and energy, but is a pelican going to be flying around?

So. What I ended up with was a lot of images…but not a lot of actual logo designs! You may well be asking by this point, where are all the thumbnails with actual ideas? Um. I didn’t do any.

Question: Where does an illustration end and a logo begin? Answer: I don’t know.

I really felt by this point I’d spent a lot of time not getting very far. So I decided to draw a couple more animals, this time head on.

Partly inspired by some squiggles I made when trying out a pen, I drew the markings on a giraffe (badly)

Then firmed up the design. I ran this one by my partner, who agreed it had potential, but needed to be simplified. The question was, how much?

I also drew a springbok, mainly because like the giraffe, it has some strong markings that can be shown simply.

And with a bit of scanning, some tweaking in Photoshop and Illustrator, I had some vector images that actually looked like logos. Finally.

Yes I know, a bit untidy, cramped leading above.

Some variations…

These elephants are OK, but I prefer the springbok and the zebra…

My  Wildlife Park Logos 

I think the giraffe has it? It also works OK reversed out, and would hopefully be versatile – perhaps on a child’s T-shirt in a bright colour in place of black?

Or maybe even given a distressed/slightly vintage feel as with Knowsley Safari? Hopefully there are options.

So. Thats it. I think I found the balance with the stripes – just enough information? It was very helpful asking my partner for feedback on that. I’m pleased with the final outcome, but I got too distracted by the subject matter to be objective. Hmm. Focus. Maybe I should meditate now?


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