Responses by Ilenia Notarangelo, cofounder and creative director, illo.
Background: We created a series of four motion design videos for global environmental organization The Nature Conservancy’s website exploring what we can do to preserve our planet. The animations take different visual approaches to convey the same distinct goal: to clearly showcase what we need to do now. Our aim for the videos was that each could stand out individually and also work as part of a bigger story. To achieve that, we developed four different styles, one for each video, while relying on the same color palette and tone of voice to unite them into one coherent series.
Engaging storytelling, a pinch of humor and our staple motion-design magic added to the mix, while our recognizable color approach brought an additional vibrant touch to the project. The environmental organization’s signature green worked as a starting point for the color palette, while striking contrasts and bold pairings helped the videos stand out.
Design thinking: Our objective was to answer in an exciting way to some very tough questions without being apocalyptic or polarizing. I think that our visual style and storytelling approach were key to the campaign’s success.
Challenges: We had to connect with scientific experts collaborating with The Nature Conservancy to get the information from the source and then rework it to make it available to a larger audience. The limit between accurate synthesis and oversimplification might always be a tricky one, but the client team was always there to support us and give us direction on how to represent complex phenomena.
Visual influences: By having developed four different art directions, we had fun browsing many design sources: for “Biodiversity,” we sought out a lysergic, 70s-inspired, pattern-based mood; for “Natural Climate Solutions,” our references were old scientific books and periodic tables but interpreted through contemporary motion; and for “Carbon Makers,” our style veered more towards patterns, minimal data visualization and gradients.
Time constraints: This has been our biggest project ever and was made in about two months. Most of our everyday work relies on our resident team, but this time, we happily extended our motion and design capabilities to some other artists we admire—and that, in most cases, were former illoers—so we had the chance to create something even more unique than our usual work.
Specific project demands: Since our idea was to have four different art directions that shared a common palette, we initially thought this approach would render the project easier to handle. However, it became even more challenging as the visual styles evolved to be different. Still, it was a very rewarding challenge to face.