Pentagram Designs Adorable Watercolor Visual Identity For Famous Pet Charity

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Battersea, one of Britain’s oldest and most renowned pet rescue centers, has received an adorable and refreshing illustrated visual identity designed by Pentagram.


Founded in 1860, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home had grown to care for nearly 7,000 animals yearly. Its identity and communications, however, were struggling to keep pace with its expansion and were found to be conveying inconsistent and unclear messages to public. For one, the word “home” in its name was giving people the impression that the end goal was to house these canines and felines at the center, when the real intention was to find new and loving homes for the animals.

As a result, Pentagram decided to drop “Dogs and Cats Home” from the name, such that only “Battersea” remained but with the tagline, “Here for every dog and cat.”

Pentagram explains that the idea was to “strike out against some of the negative connotations associated with the language and tactics of the charity sector, which often leans into a world of shock tactics, euphemistic language, well-worn tropes and overly-sentimental language.”

The studio opted to brand Battersea as an honest and straightforward entity, supported by the warm, handcrafted watercolor illustrations that now front its name.

Battersea’s iconic blue was kept in the watercolors, comprising five dogs and five cats, designed by Hiromi Suzuki and used in varied combinations that can be flexibly applied across Battersea’s platforms.

“The abstract illustrations are designed to subtly communicate Battersea’s story; they appeal to people’s compassion and humanity, without victimising or stigmatising the animals,” elaborates Pentagram.

“While the characters are devoid of facial features, they remain expressive and retain a strong sense of individuality: celebrating the diverse range of personalities found among Battersea’s dogs and cats, while emphasising the human intervention required to make them whole.”

The watercolor graphics are balanced by sharp Franklin Gothic word marks to instill a sense of authority inside the visual identity.

One key objective during the creative process was to develop a versatile brand that could adapt according to its audience.

By initiating a playful spin on this master identity, Pentagram created tongue-in-cheek headlines and a fun hand-drawn typeface called ‘Battersea Paws’, especially for its fundraising ‘Muddy Dog’ challenge.

Photographs of the dogs and cats, captured during their time at Battersea and after they’d been adopted, tie in with the brand’s tone of voice. See more images of the fun, illustrated brand identity below.

For another animal-related rebranding, see Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation’s stunning and clever visual identities for its ‘Shark Conservation’ and ‘Elephant Crisis’ projects.

[via Creative Review, images via Pentagram]
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