The Animade rebrand by Koto uses its logo as eyes, adding instant character to all it touches
This jubilant identity also brings out the animation studio’s distinct personality through abstract shapes, bright colours and a typeface full of “fun quirks”.
- Jenny Brewer
- 22 September 2020
- Reading Time
- 3 minute read
Koto and Animade’s work has been featured numerous over the years on It’s Nice That, but always separately – until now, as the two have collaborated on the animation studio’s rebrand.
Celebrating its ten year anniversary, London-based Animade decided the occasion was a good chance to reshape its identity to convey what the studio had evolved into over the past decade. So it enlisted Koto, a studio with outposts in London, Berlin and LA, which worked closely with the Animade team to understand what exactly that was, and how it could be conveyed in its branding. It all began with its existing logo, an infinite loop, that has been redrawn and fittingly repurposed as an inquisitive pair of eyes, stamped all over the new identity to inject instant character to anything it appears on.
“At first we moved further away from their existing logo, and explored Animade’s vision of making their world a bit more characterful,” explains Koto creative director Tim Williams, “but this led us back to the idea of using their logo as a set of eyes. Eyes are the part of humans that communicate the most emotion, they're more nuanced than a mouth or any other feature, and it gave us the most opportunity to inject character.”
“It has been staring us in the face for the past five years!” adds Animade director Tom Judd. He explains that the studio had previously held back from the “obvious” adaption because back then its offering was broader, so “eyes were, dare I say it, too characterful for us back then”. Now its mission is to be a “one-stop shop for characterful creations,” so the time was right for its logo to become “a pair of peepers”.
Koto has made the logo less geometric and “softened it a bit,” says Williams, and importantly moved it from preceding the word mark to becoming part of it, as the dot of the ‘i’ in the name, in turn “freeing it up and making it more open” Williams adds. The designers explored using the eyes in various ways, but in the end decided simplicity was key, an approach that also applies to the set of graphic shapes Koto created for Animade to apply everywhere from the new website to pitch decks. These flat, 2D graphics appear as loosely drawn flowers or egg shapes, or more abstract amorphous forms.
“These are soft and organic, and stripped back to their simplest forms, showing that they can take anything and inject it with personality,” says Williams. “It doesn't need to be this 3D, rendered, Pixar-perfect character. These forms also complement the work, they don't get in the way, they're easy to use.”
The new typeface is Dazzed by Prague-based foundry Displaay, one Animade describes in a statement as “the typographical version of us”. “It has the right amount of character as well as being practical,” Williams explains of its selection. “It's contemporary with some fun quirks, like the 'a' for example, which was important. It's not perfectly geometric.” Similarly its newly evolved colour palette is bright and optimistic, leading with its signature red, supported by a vibrant range of secondary tones and black and white for logos and text.
“Through working closely with them, we got to know the team and so their personality really comes through in the identity, not just what they produce but how they work, and who they are as people,” Williams says. “Their previous identity was doing that to an extent, but what we've given them is a bolder identity and a more consistent framework to use.”
“It was refreshing to work with them,” he concludes. “We collaborate with brands a lot, so it was fun to work with another creative studio similar to us. They have a lot of the same challenges as we have, and work with similar clients. We've admired them for a while, so it was a window into their culture.”
You can also see the new brand come to life in a launch film made by Animade, that sees the two ‘eyes’ bopping independently through a world populated by Koto’s abstract graphic shapes, and eventually meeting to become the new logo.