Christoph Niemann’s Petting Zoo

Illustrator Christoph Niemann has created a charming app in which 21 animals come to life at the touch, tap and swipe of a finger

Illustrator Christoph Niemann has created a charming picture book app in which 21 animals come to life at the touch, tap and swipe of a finger

Niemann was invited to create the app by the Design Indaba conference. At a session at the conference this morning, Niemann explained that his own inadequacies with video games had inspired the project. After finally attempting to get to grips with his sons’ Wii, he realised that the only way he could cope with their football game was in demo mode – the simplest possible. So he wanted to make an app that had that level of simplicity.

The principle was, he said, that you should touch things and something should happen. Something hopefully surprising and charming. That’s it. But as with most things Niemann does, the simplicity is allied to beautifully observed wit and humour.


Choose from one of the 21 simple drawings and, for example, you can drag a rabbit around the screen by the ears, turn a panda into a lava lamp or, thanks to sound design by Markus Wormstorm, play music on a crocodile’s teeth.


Our particular favourite are the two monkeys who can be made to hurl a ball at each other and the cat shasing a butterfly. Check it out at the App Store here


Concept and animations: Christoph Niemann
Developer: Jon Huang
Music and Sound Design: Markus Wormstorm.
Executive Producer: Design Indaba

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