world wildlife fund : biopolis
creative direction

Improving the quality
of urban life with biodiversity initiatives.

Biopolis is a community hub where people can share information and learn more about biodiversity initiatives.

This project arose from a need to improve communication and collaboration among project owners and members of the public. It’s focus is Montreal’s diverse system of parks and waterways.

 

Background

This project was sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund and Conservation Montreal, who felt that more could be done in the city to promote biodiversity initiatives.

It’s well documented that people feel better when they interact with nature, and that time spent outdoors and with animals improves urban life and mental health. There are many projects being conducted by local universities aimed at identifying areas of improvement and opportunities for change but there is little communication between project owners and interested members of the public.

The World Wildlife Fund hired Third Wunder, a digital marketing agency with whom I partner on creative projects, to produce the website. 

 
 

slides from initial proposal

 
 

Part 1

Discovery + Brand Story

The goal of the project was to create community connections – bringing together many different people who normally don’t get the chance to work together.

The website was originally named PEBU (a french acronym translating roughly to ‘the high bar for Urban Biodiversity’). The project was initiated by a panel of non-profit groups, with the goal of making project information accessible to the public.

Working with key stakeholders, I led interviews and hosted discovery sessions where I pulled out some key insights about what the brand was all about. We identified 4 user personas, which gave us great insight into user motivations, and helped define the features and experiences they would be interested in.

 
 
 
 

Renaming

A major insight was that the brand needed to be inspiring first, and informative second. The working name PEBU was not appropriate. Liesl Barrell, the project lead from Third Wunder came up with a number of great options, from which one stood out as the clear winner. We moved forward with the name Biopolis.

 
 

PART 2

Logo Design

There was an opportunity to differentiate from other urban biodiversity initiatives visually. To better understand the visual trends that dominate the market, I collected snapshots of different brands.

Conveying diversity visually was a difficult task. Most logos for urban biodiversity group a cluster of different symbols together in a group. They show a multitude of ideas, but the result is muddled and has little impact in a small size.

Another popular style for showing many different ideas is museum branding, where you show various images one at a a time, through a graphic cutout window.

 
 
 
 

After a quick design sprint, I presented four concepts to the client to discuss. Each approaches representing diversity in a different way.

 
 
 

 

Concept 1

Badge System

The central concept here was to use the circle of the O as a badge, and vary the icon depending on its usage. Different icons can be used for different areas of research, for example, a thistle for land, a pike fish for water, etc. The visual style is evocative of the Girl Guides / National Parks / Outdoor Explorers style badge system. The concept has broad user appeal and familiarity.


 

CONCEPT 2

The Living City

Modern, minimalist abstract approach. Academic in feel, calculated. The curves are reminiscent of the Montreal logo. Continuous round, looping shapes connote a positive emotional message : City is built on this network of life.


 

Concept 3

Poster Species

The butterfly is an icon of biodiversity. This logo has a positive and uplifting emotion and vibe. High ascender of the ‘L’ letterform is evocative of a city skyline. The logo conjures a feeling of metamorphosis and dynamic movement : the butterfly coming to rest on the city.


 

concept 4

The Photo Frame

Simple shape acts as window to reveal different aspects of organization. Dynamic circles form the outline of a 'B', while geometric bird and fish symbols fill the negative space. Simple and memorable shape, allows incorporation of rich, lush images into the brand.


 

CONCEPT 5

The Community

A community of dots come together to create a greater whole. The shape created is a goldfinch, the city of Montreal’s official bird. The logo implies movement - you can almost see the dots flickering with life. They represent dynamic energy, community coming together to create a greater whole. This was the chosen logo.

 
 

Part 3

Web Design

The goal was to create an online experience that engaged an audience of academics and citizens to explore, contribute, and participate. Mohamed Hamad from Third Wunder created the wireframes, and I set to work on bringing them to life.

We teamed up with photographer Alexandre Campeau who delivered a solid bank of urban biodiversity photos.