I had the huge honour of designing the new-look website and printed materials for Aardman Animations! I’m so bowled over to have had the chance to do it, it’s been a dream job.
Designing the new-look stationery for Aardman was no mean feat, it had to capture the spirit of Aardman, feel fresh and new and above all, make people smile!
You could go round the houses looking for deep and meaningful design rationale, but that’s not right for Aardman - heart and soul, honesty and silliness needed to be at the core, so with that in mind we wrote a few principles that would help guide us through the process:
- It’s all about the work! The beautiful images, still and moving, that we spend so much time creating needed to be the focus, not the branding. Everything should fall back to make them sing!
- Keep things simple! White space and room to breath is essential, but don’t let it feel cold. We use a halftone texture from a directors sketchbook to give a bit of depth to stuff.
- Make it wonky! With the simplicity, we didn’t want to stray into it looking too corporate, so we wonked things right up. Simple rotated edges and negative space cut-ins help unbalance things slightly.
These principles helped keep us on track whilst bringing everything together. As always with these things, the business cards were the biggest challenge! How do you convey everything Aardman has done for the last 30+ years and everything it wants to do for the next 30, in an 85 by 55mm rectangle!?
After lots of different directions and styles, a happy accident resulted in an eye-capturing explosion of characters and lightbulb hit, that was it! We mined the image databases for characters and props from Aardman’s beginnings to our latest creations and carefully threw them all together in complementary poses. The front of the cards used our new chosen typefaces and knocked the characters back using a halftone effect but leaving just one in full colour, peeking up from the bottom of the card.
As we didn’t want to focus on just one specific character, we went for an assortment of our favourites, so each persons pack of business cards contains 18 variations; 6 different fronts and 3 different backs!
The playfulness was carried through to the rest of the printed work, from the Compliment Slips featuring an actual compliment (You look great!) to the sticker sheet that lets each employee customise the things they send with the classic ‘aardman eyes’ and mouths. Hopefully these little touches make people smile and feel like the physical things they’re handling really represent the heart and soul of Aardman and it’s tactility.
The brand new website had to reflect all of the above principles and feelings, and we did that by using fullscreen HTML video, wonky CSS animation and building a custom filter system that let us show all the different types of work we do whilst making it super easy to find what you want.
The filter system was a huge job in it’s own right, going through many different iterations to make it simple and easy to show off everything from commercials to feature films, interactive projects to music videos.
The icing on the cake was making the whole site fully responsive, it was absolutely critical that our work should be able to be viewed on every platform possible and every type of device.
It’s been a huge honour to have been giving the opportunity to give Aardman a new look online and offline. As a huge fan that also happens to be part of the family, it’s been a rad ride all the way to produce something that shows off the wonderful work of so many talented people here in Bristol.