Capturing the captivating and bizarre world of carnivorous plants for the 'Plants with Bite!' exhibition identity

client

The Calyx / The Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney

skills

Creative Direction / Branding / Illustration

Agency

Freelance

client

The Calyx / The Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney

skills

Creative Direction / Branding / Illustration

Agency

Freelance

In mid 2018 the team at The Calyx approached me to create a fun and creative brand identity for their upcoming floral display 'Plants with Bite!'

This living exhibition, made up of over 25,000 bug-munching plants runs until July 1, 2019 - and best of all, it's completely free to visit.

research

Getting comfy with carnivorous plants

The brief for this project was to create a feature illustration and logo lock up that encapsulated the uniquely interesting shapes and colours of these plant species, whilst playfully giving a nod to the long history of mythology and pop culture surrounding carnivorous plants.

Inspiration included The Day of the Triffids, vintage comics and of course who could forget Audrey II from The Little Shop of Horrors.

This phase of the project also meant studying the colours, textures and shapes of these amazing looking plants in real life. Naturally, being the aspiring 'green-thumb' that I am, I welcomed the excuse to visit my local plant nursery to see some snap traps and pitcher plants in real life.

With such a wealth of source material and an audience that would include everyone from young children to adults, it was important to narrow down a territory before getting too far down the design path. Below are the three initial concepts presented to the Calyx team in the early stages of our work together. 

CREATING THE CONCEPTS

Presenting three alternate directions

The first of these three directions took its inspiration from the retro comic book style of Amazing Stories, Adventures into the Unknown and Fantastic Mysteries.

The second direction took a more educational angle, whilst keeping the vintage comic style. The visual makes the viewer imagine being the prey of our ‘Plants with Bite!’ by taking them into a macro level view. If you’re a fly stuck in a sundew plant, or a frog trapped inside a pitcher plant, these carnivorous plants are by nature quite scary looking!

The last of the three concepts kept the comic style but instead proposed a focus on a villainous doctor and her army of mutant human eating plants. Stylistically this concept would have reflected a more modern comic shading techniques.

Although ultimately the first direction became the main branding for the exhibition, the second did inspire the direction for the educational elements needed. This series of informational signs and 1m x 1m decals used inside and outside of the Calyx, show Ferdinand the Fly having some close calls with some rather intimidating bug-munchers.

making it educational

Bringing AR to The Botanic Gardens

In conjunction with the exhibition, the Calyx team launched an augmented reality app to let little green thumb's 'collect' the five types of carnivorous plants and watch them devour their prey. 

Or, if you prefer to get eaten by a plant, à la Little Shop of Horrors, you now can - thanks to the location-based Snapchat filter we created for the exhibition.

Working with the Calyx team I created over 40 different pieces of creative to promote 'Plants with Bite!' in the lead up to, and throughout the 9-month long exhibition.

Image via Timeout Sydney

Image via Timeout Sydney

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