Date
5 October 2015
Reading Time
3 minute read
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Exclusive extract from Lance Wyman: The Monograph published by Unit Editions

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Date
5 October 2015
Reading Time
3 minute read

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There are very few books I can remember being genuinely excited about receiving but Unit Editions latest tome on Lance Wyman is certainly one of them – and it didn’t disappoint.

The monograph is the first major publication devoted to Lance Wyman’s entire output. It showcases the achievements of a long and productive career, from his early work for General Motors, through his iconic designs for the Mexico 68 Olympics, to the Minnesota Zoo (which we have an exclusive extract below) and his more recent projects.

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Map in situ

Minnesota Zoo — Exclusive extract from Lance Wyman: The Monograph

Time magazine was to call Lance Wyman’s work for the Minnesota Zoo ‘one of the best designs in the USA in 1981.’ When the assistant director of the National Zoo (p.063) was appointed to run the Minnesota Zoo, he contacted Wyman with the intention of commissioning him to undertake a communication programme similar in scope and range to the one for the National Zoo. He had been Wyman’s client on that earlier project.

Wyman began his search for an animal image that he could synthesise with the letter M to create an expressive and memorable logo for the zoo. He first investigated the possibility of using the head of a wildebeest. When this proved unsatisfactory he experimented with other animal imagery before finally settling on the moose, an animal with strong local associations. It is Minnesota’s largest wild animal, and Minnesota is one of the few states where moose still exist in the wild.

The Minnesota Zoo logo, with its powerful combination of a moose’s head and antlers with the letter M, is one of Wyman’s most distinctive and emotive graphic inventions. Wyman notes that when his granddaughter first saw the moose and M combination, many years after its creation, she said, ‘I want that.’ He took this as a sign of the symbol’s power: ‘You can’t fake that,’ he states.

Having successfully synthesised the letter M with a moose, Wyman saw the potential for a series of alphanumeric icons to use throughout the zoo. He realised that trails and walks were not easy to recall if maps did not have symbols. He created icons for the five major zoo trails, each incorporating the image of an animal found on that trail: whale (Ocean Trail); tropical bird (Tropics Trail); beaver (Minnesota Trail); monkey (Discovery Trail) and camel (Northern Trail). The zoo’s identity and signage is predominantly black and white against a charcoal background.

In addition to the symbol, logotype and identifying symbols for the Zoo, a complete custom typeface was designed to be used on all signage and printed communication.  

The commissioning of this project coincided with the end of the partnership between Wyman and Bill Cannan: after the project, Cannan set up his own office and Wyman continued under his own name.

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Signage in situ

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Signage in situ

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Signage in situ

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Signage in situ

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Signage in situ

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Typeface

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Typeface and service icons developed for the Minnesota Zoo by Lance Wyman. As is usual with Wyman’s typefaces, iconography and symbols, they integrate fully with the logo to create a coherent and unified graphic identity.

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Promotional posters for Minnesota Zoo designed by Lance Wyman. Unusually for Wyman, photography has been used.

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Promotional posters for Minnesota Zoo designed by Lance Wyman. Unusually for Wyman, photography has been used.

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Lance Wyman: The Monograph

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Lance Wyman: The Monograph (spread)

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Lance Wyman: The Monograph (spread)

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Lance Wyman: The Monograph (spread)

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Lance Wyman: The Monograph (spread)

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Lance Wyman: The Monograph (spread)

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Lance Wyman: The Monograph (spread)

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Lance Wyman: The Monograph (spread)

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Lance Wyman: The Monograph (spread)

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Lance Wyman: The Monograph (spread)

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Lance Wyman: The Monograph (spread)

Edited by Adrian Shaughnessy and designed by Spin Lance Wyman: The Monograph is available now from Unit Editions priced at £75.

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About the Author

Will Hudson

Will founded It’s Nice That in 2007 and is now director of the company. Once one of the main contributors to the site, he has stepped back from writing as the business has expanded to become The HudsonBec Group.

will@thehudsonbecgroup.com

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