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Authors: Natasha Golec, Social Media & Marketing and Marcus Bowler, Animator

Animator and Illustrator

A few weeks ago we launched our Earth Day series, which was composed of five thumbnails that each represented different issues our environment is currently facing. The images went down a treat, so I thought I’d steal away our animator for a quick Q&A about his recent project.


How did you approach the Earth Day project and did you have a specific structure you were going to use?
I started by analysing what topic to focus on during the calendar event. Scanning through social media and the news gave me a variety of topics on lead up towards the date; the science march, the recent global warming statistics, coral reef decay, education, funding cuts for global warming research, and the rise in pollution levels in London.
Earth Day had its own theme this year: ‘Global environment & Climate literacy’. It was proposed that by 2020, Global warming would be taught in schools as part of the curriculum to encourage the newest generation to understand the changes the world will go through for the future. I felt this as enough to start experimenting with the concept of an alphabet system and how each letter could be incorporated into the visuals.

Endangered species image
How did you decide on the minute details?
I was researching on various sites to see if anything caught my eye, and then I came across the American Scientist website which used such a lovely serif font so I decided to hunt for something similar. As a result, I used the Serif Playfair Display font as the main text for its bold and academic look, in addition with Quicksand for the heading text as it made a nice companion to the prime font with it’s contemporary and rounded feel. The colors were inspired by the thumbnails tonal values.

What programs did you use to produce an epic piece of work?
Illustrator & Photoshop were used for producing the concepts, with After Effects for the logo animation and .gif creation near the end.

Earth day presentation illustrationWhat was your favorite bit about the project?
My favorite bit was seeing the result of Endangered species (E) and having it look better than the thumbnail. I love the clear communication of balance between the deforestation and the Orangutan in the tree looking on-wards to a bleak future. All the shapes are polished, crisp and easy to read.

E and A letters illustrations
Is there anything you would have done differently?
I would’ve animated the designs! As an animator, I would have loved to have animated the smoke and swaying motion of the Orangutan in E, or some raised hands in A while the teacher speaks to her class. Perhaps I also would have created a set of designs that connected better in terms of an overall style. But as the project progressed, they were all looking rather different to one another.
Some of my early thoughts were using limited colors and shapes, which Awareness (A) demonstrates quite well.

Planets image
What was your biggest challenge in this project?
Trying to think of relevant words to go with the EARTH anagram and then producing the thumbnails for each one was quite tricky. But I think the main challenge was establishing the imagery with each letter centered within the composition. Thumb-nailing tonally was the quickest way to achieve results if I were to produce five pieces that made sense to one another in time for Earth day.

Earth letters black and white thumbnails
Finally, do you have a favorite thumbnail?
It would have to be Awareness (A) or Temperature (T), since the letter feels more embedded and relative to the surrounding environment.