Polytechnic’s identity for Wild Life Drawing celebrates its menagerie of subjects and artists
Featuring illustrations by Alice Bowsher and Matthew the Horse, and custom cuts of Grow by Dinamo called Grow Wild, the new visual identity and website celebrates the classes, its patrons and, most importantly, its eclectic subjects from across the animal kingdom.
- Jenny Brewer
- 16 December 2019
Wild Life Drawing was started by illustrator Jennie Webber in 2014 and has really taken off, a firm favourite among professional and amateur artists, and animal-lovers alike. Hosting life-drawing classes where all sorts of creatures are the subjects, the organisation works with a select group of animal handlers, sanctuaries and charities to not only provide an entertaining activity for its patrons but also do its bit towards animal care and conservation. Yet since Wild Life Drawing has grown from a passion project to a fully fledged business hosting classes everywhere from the Natural History Museum to the Royal Academy, the identity and online presence has needed revamping – which it has now launched, working with graphic design studio Polytechnic.
The studio began with a theme of “many hands,” explains designer Georgia Cherry, wanting to reflect “the inclusive nature of the classes”. With an aptly high density of illustration in the new identity, the designers included drawings from everyone spanning tutors, class participants and illustrators Alice Bowsher and Matthew the Horse, painting an eclectic picture befitting its range of creative output.
Illustrations by Matthew the Horse, in particular, convey more conceptual messaging in the new brand, adding his humour to the aesthetic. For example, Drawing is Thinking is about surrendering to the process of drawing, says Matthew. “Are you drawing the line or is the line telling you what to draw? This big ape is lost in the flow of his art, the inception of all creative action starts with a banana.” Matthew also created the group animal portrait, for which he wanted to channel “that school football team photo feel – a tight group of eager pals”.
The approach to type also takes inspiration from the natural world, in its irregularity. Using a custom cut of Grow by Dinamo has its primary typeface, called Grow Wild, the text doesn’t travel in a straight line – instead undulating subtly up and down. The custom cut has a “more geometric, rounded ‘G’ to give a pleasing shape to the stacked wordmark,” explains designer Arthur Carey. “Much like the classes, its unexpected, monolinear forms teem with life and unpredictability”. This is paired with the identity’s secondary typeface, Minotaur, which infuses a friendly feel.
A new bank of photography by Spencer Wilton and Sam Bush show the classes in full swing, bringing legitimacy and professionalism while showing what ticket-buyers can expect. “In combination, the somewhat unkempt and eclectic palette of illustration and typefaces paired with the immersive photography weave a rich storytelling platform,” continues Cherry, “to support the growth and elevation of Wild Life Drawing into the future.” WLD founder Jennie Webber describes the outcome as “colourful and joyful, yet considered and mature”.