Music redraws Chester Zoo's identity
Manchester-based Music has just completed the rebranding of Chester Zoo. The new brand identity centres on a bespoke handdrawn typeface and logotype, created in collaboration with illustrator Adam Hayes. Music also worked with copywriter Mike Reed to develop a distinctive and playful tone of voice for the brand...
This is Chester Zoo's new logo, which exists in two forms, seen above and below
The new Chester Zoo type family contains four weights to increase flexibility of usage:
And, to maintain the illusion of brand literature being written by hand, there are a number of contextual alternates built in to the typeface...
There are also a number of alternate characters available in each weight of the Chester Zoo typeface which have suitably animal-themed decorations:
As befitting any rigorous branding programme, Music has created a colour palatte
And there are also a number of stand alone animal illustrations, all created by Hayes, that can be used as and where necessary - such as the new map of the Zoo:
"The new brand centres on a personality and voice rooted in the work of those who make Chester Zoo what it is, encompassing their passion, integrity and knowledge," says Music's Anthony Smith who worked on the project with Craig Oldham. "Add to this the license for creative expression in how the font works and is applied – and the zoo has the means ot make a powerful impact and really stand out in a competitive sector," he continues, "by telling their story in a very natural and genuine way."
Music has created a wide range of the zoo's new marketing materials, as well as its site map and signage - plus the identity for The Act for Wildlife campaign that the zoo has also just launched (the homepage of actforwildlife.org.uk shown below). Music is now working with Chester Zoo on updating its website, incorporating the new look.
I didn't know Marion Deuchars landed the Chester Zoo job
No way! Handdrawn typeface. Radical!!
I like it. Probably though the logo could have had a little more "somethin' somethin'".
Also as a humorous side note, if you have the typical designer's filthy mind, that Monkey doesn't half look like it's doing something naughty to the other lamppost banner!
It was nice of Craig O to step in for that Go Wild banner shot.
It's all good and well slagging it off but you have to remember that they are working for a client and things all ways get watered down in the process. Good job Music really nice colours and cool little illustrations.
I like it. A lot.
I love the alternate characters! but agree with 'GeeDee' that the logo could have had a little more "somethin' somethin'". Would of been nice to have few variations of the logo within a similar vain, considering if it was hand drawn it would come out different every time anyway.
I forgot Marion Deuchars was the only person to ever hand-draw typography.
I love the posters but as for a total brand I feel it will date quickly, kinda looks like they create a moodboard from ffffound. Agree with the comment about the logo too.
All in all I like it and a big well done to the Music chaps.
I went to Chester Zoo last week, so got to see the new identity first hand, and really liked it! It fits the zoo really well.
My only frustration was that the wayfinding system is absolutely rubbish; I'm usually pretty good with maps and directions, but even with the newly designed map it was easy to get confused or lost! The signage on the animal pens could do with a refresh as well. Being more visible from a distance would help navigation.
If Music has worked on signage, I hope this includes a revamp of the current wayfinding system that has yet to be implemented. If Chester Zoo have that to support the map, then it will be perfect!
At first glance I thought just another piece of self indulgent design but as you see the brand applied and the supporting type and the flexibility they have built into the identity I think it is excellent work that will improve over time, always the tru test of great branding.
I agree with Oliver, the job is entirely appropriate for a great
family venue, and it's done well.
The extension of the bespoke font shows they've gone further
than many agencies would be bothered to do and it all comes
together very nicely in the map.
But I also agree with GeeDee that there perhaps could have been
some nice little touches/ideas brought in... But that's nitpicking.
Dead nice, the client will be chuffed, and it works for the customer.
Like it! it suits the market and audience...interesting to see that hand drawn identities are becoming fashionable :)
Great work, especially when they're understanding the fun natured audience.
Its refreshing to see branding not succumbing to commercial/contemporary and helvetica led responses.
Very different and a logo/brand that will be referenced alot 'that reminds me of chester zoo logo'
there's a slight cancerish feel to it.
I'm not entirely sure what you're definition of 'cancerish' is, but I had a close family member pass away with cancer recently, and it was nowhere near as carefree and fun as this identity for Chester Zoo implies.
I didn't know Marion Deuchars was the only person that could write with their hands?
Music did a great job, very family friendly, and thats what zoo's are meant to be aren't they?
I like it.
It's playful, charming, tasteful and right on brand for this sort of client and their audience!
It's easy to only see things within the graphic design world and dish out criticism. Sometimes people need to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.
Good work, as usual, by Music.
Alasdair McNee, a director at the Zoo, has said they asked for
"a deliberate move away from a corporate look". Well, they
got it with knobs on. This project has the feel of a cracking combo
of client, designer and writer and I wish I'd done it. Incidentally
there's a two-minute movie, made by Rapport, on the Zoo's web
homepage (not yet updated) that animates the type. Lovely.
Lionel, thank you for mentioning the writer. I’ve absolutely loved working on this. To my untutored eye, the typeface is really quite different from Marion Deuchars’ (wonderful) work.
To let a small cat of its bag, when I first saw the typeface and logo ages ago I wasn’t sure. Reason? It’s genuinely fresh and surprising. As I’ve worked with it, I’ve come to absolutely love it. When you use it (as I have a little bit), and your words start sprouting tails and claws and stripes, it’s simply a joy to behold. It makes you smile just to look at it.
What’s very remarkable is how quickly you can take it seriously as a body copy font. In some contexts it obviously has to calm down, and when it does, it’s very readable.
I’m somewhat in awe, as you can tell, and thrilled to have lucked out with my involvement on the job.
It's taken me a few looks, but I think this works. I've been to Chester Zoo several times, and despite its size and reputation, it's not very polished (in the best possible way).
L's comment about the wayfinding is spot on: the whole site is rambling and the landmarks are lost among the trees so fixing that might need a bit more than new signs and new typefaces.
Really like this, great typeface and incapsulates the feeling of zoo perfectly.
Refreshing, perfectly pitched visually and verbally. Good work
Imprisoned animals + all u can think about is hand-drawn letters.
As a designer who lives in Chester I have to say I'm not a fan. It's too 'loose' and doesnt really say anything. There's more a sense of idleness than fun.
Also, the monkey poster looks like it has a hairy pole (ahem) on it.
... and the client deserves credit for taking a risk with a rebrand as brave as this! Well done all.
This is a departure from Music's usual style, and I think it works really well, and will be a really strong feature of their portfolio.
Nice one Mike, well done!
Fun, natural and imaginative. All the qualities that spring to mind when thinking of caged animals, ahem.
I'll get off my soapbox now. Great brand, well done Music.
Hmmmm... not to rain on anyone's parade but I might have to disagree with most of the comments here and say I'm not sure about this one. I think the overall design is distinctly average and the branding equally so. Kinda been seen and done many times before.
I'd be interested to see how Music reached this conclusion and what initial research was done to set them down this path. Did the client water down the final result? Was the brief just simply to make it appeal to kids? Was there a short timeline to get things done? Aren't you missing out on a much broader target market and failing to sell the zoo as an attraction that would to appeal to visitors of all ages, both local and international? At the moment it wouldn't surprise me if when walking through the zoo I'd see Tinky Winky and Dipsy darting around one of the enclosures.
I can't say Im looking at this design and going wow, nice work. The illustrations are ok, the type is ok, however the font resembles something you could just pull off DaFont and overall the aesthetic of entire projects encapsulates what one might go for if branding for a local community petting zoo or a nursery school for under 4's. It focuses centrally on the kiddies and fails to touch upon other aspects of what Chester Zoo do i.e. the fact that they are highly involved in animal conservation & research for one.
"Chester Zoo’s mission is ‘to be a major force in conserving biodiversity worldwide’. We achieve our mission by significantly contributing to the protection of species and habitats through a combination of field conservation, research, conservation breeding, advances in animal welfare and education."
(Quoted from their website)
Hasn't this whole side of things, for instance, been left out of the thought process entirely? I think the branding could have been pushed so much further on this one and been slightly more mature/research orientated & friendly in it's look & feel. The logo doesn't even stand out on the layouts. I think it gets lost. Marketing campaigns should have therafter been developed specifically for the varying target markets. And
since I've gone this far... I should also mention that at a glance the map looks kinda hard to follow. The right aligned copy down the side looks messy!!
So all-in-all, in my view, not a well thought through, cohesive piece of design. It's a shame as it had the potential to be amazing.
Aww, really nice! Love it!
Why isn't there a picture of a red panda on the map? Easily the best animal at chester zoo.
@Sarah Graham Can I very briefly respond? (With the caveat that this is purely my own opinion, not sanctioned by client or designers!)
With an approach like this, only the most incorrigible optimist would expect blanket adulation. But to reassure you, we couldn’t be more aware of the more ‘serious’ sides of the Zoo’s work. It was fundamental to the brief, and was certainly not ‘left out of the thought process entirely’. (You’ll start to see how we approach it in the forthcoming new website.)
While children are obviously a key audience, we’d hope that all ages will find something to respond to in the brio and fun of the core identity. It’s hugely flexible: you can tone the bonkers factor up or down as appropriate. Again, this may become clearer as more materials start to appear.
Obviously if you don’t like it, you don’t like it. But I did want to challenge the suggestion that the identity hasn’t been thought through properly. Whatever else it may be, it’s one of the most carefully thought-through projects I’ve had the pleasure to be involved in.
I went a few months back and enjoyed the typeface as much as the elephants!! Job very well done.
Sorry, but I love the old one - I have uploaded a scan of a paper bag - so lovely that it made it into my scrap book. Please take a look I'd love to know what you all think.
Comet is now at Chester Zoo... Oh, sorry just another (yawn) hand drawn solution.
Looked like it was fun to work on... shame it will probably be rebranded in six months when the novelty wears off!!!
Toooo simple. Nothing special. The logo has no creativity.
It's all really about perception, don't you think? One person here says they like the old logo, but for me the old typeface and logo alludes too much to old school zoos, where the 'pens' were concrete and the animals were come by as some result of an old boy's safari adventure. No design solution is ever going to please everyone, but to say it's not well thought out and planned, and that what was planned was not executed with care is just silly. It's a very versatile typeface and as far as branding goes I think Music have gone above and beyond for their client - who, incidentally, thought it represented what they wanted to say enough to choose it. There's something to be said for that!
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