3oo is an illustrated site that lets you feed animals in Ukrainian zoos

Made as a speedy call to arms, the fuzzy illustrations in 3oo are emotive, urgent and beautifully naive – urging everyone to get involved and help Ukraine’s zoos.

20 June 2022

When Russia began its invasion of Ukraine, designers Maxim Aksenov and Evgeniya Dyupina, originally from Russia, spotted an initiative on Instagram asking users to buy tickets to Mykolaiv zoo. With the zoo closed and the city under fire, “zoo workers needed money for food, medicine, and animals’ transportation”, explains Evgeniya. This snowballed into the creation of 3oo – a simple but effective illustrated site allowing users to buy zoo tickets to support animals, and the workers behind them.

While the two designers had initially been sharing Mykolaiv zoo’s donation link far on wide on Instagram, they realised that the links were being misdirected. They also discovered this was, in fact, an issue affecting zoos across Ukraine – “some zoos were shelled every day, some evacuated, with private shelters and citizens helping lost pets”, explains Maxim. Maxim and Evgeniya began collecting the information on other zoos in need, often found through “random tweets or IG stories”, says Evgeniya. What was missing, the designers decided, was a functional “Link in bio” landing page collating all the donation info. They also understood the urgency of the situation, meaning 3oo had to come together fast; the first version of the site took only an incredible two days to launch.

“The design aim was mostly to make it quick,” Maksim tells us. “However, we wanted to show expression in illustration and to make it poster-like while at the same time a bit interactive.” Maksim, who made the landing page, started with a palette based on the Ukrainian flag, but expanded to represent the wide range of real animals and workers requiring support.

As for the animals, Evgeniya is behind the utterly loveable graphics at the heart of 3oo – which strike a balance between calligraphic and “child’s draft”, as Maxim says. To pull off the rapid timeline of the project, Evgeniya kept things rough, raw and wonderfully naive. The illustrator also reveals, unbelievably: “It was my very first experience of digital illustration.” The simplicity of the work allowed for easy updates to the site as the information piled up.

Visitors clicking on the 3oo site will be met with direct links to purchase online tickets for a range of Ukrainian zoos, as well as links to donation pages or posts with bank details for donation. “We also made a request form where people could suggest other animal organisations in need” – adding a big list of animal shelters to the project too. 3oo received support from Angry Agency in collecting information; the company separately came up with the idea for a similar initiative but handed over their research to not split focus about such an “important matter”.

Alongside information about each zoo, users can also discover some charming animations on the site. Evgeniya’s illustrations have been bought to life with simple frame loops, utilising a straightforward tool in Procreate allowing for animation “in two clicks”, says the illustrator. Finally, for a simple and clear sans serif, Maksim turned to Ukrainian type designer Ivan Tsanko, who offered access to all of his fonts for anti-military designs. Using Readymag (a design tool for creating websites without coding), the designers “bought the cheapest domain on sale for just about $4.5, which became the only investment in the project,” says Maksim. The site now stands as a “simple call to action to buy a ticket, which unfortunately can't be used, but can make some difference”.

GalleryMaxim Aksenov / Ivan Tsanko / Evgeniya Dyupina: 3oo (Copyright © 3oo, 2022)

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Maxim Aksenov / Ivan Tsanko / Evgeniya Dyupina: 3oo (Copyright © 3oo, 2022)

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About the Author

Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. In January 2023, they became associate editor, predominantly working on partnership projects and contributing long-form pieces to It’s Nice That. Contact them about potential partnerships or story leads.

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