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.