The childhood of several generations
Soyuzmultfilm. Rebranding

For sure to make a rebranding of the country's main animation studio is a responsible task. On the one side we needed to update the visual style in order to make it more modern. On the other side it was important to keep the image that has been known and loved by entire generations. And also to keep the history of the brand and its character. Furthermore, it was of fundamental importance for the studio to start speaking the same language with nowadays’ children who don’t see the world the way people have seen it in the day of «Winnie the Pooh».

Our laboratory Signal by ONY immersed itself into a big researching: we globally analysed cartoons that are released worldwide, studied the behaviour of children on the Internet and made semiotics of their culture. The findings of the studies helped us formulate theses for the new brand platform which we defined as the «Dialogue of Generations». This positioning has turned into the idea of visualizing the world as children see it and must be remembered by adults who also once were children.

The design system is built on soft, as if «air-supported» split blocks: separate letters and abstract forms which nevertheless remind the characters of the Soyuzmultfilm. They can slue, compress and expand but more than that they can also become a pattern or exist in the form of abstract shapes, go beyond the format or limit it. They are seamlessly to blend in with digital space. So in the process of deciphering the visual language the viewer becomes the part of the game.

The company typeface Soyuzmult has the same plastic character. Its letters are similar to the classic cartoon titles but at the same time they are more elastic and balanced and a little less plump and naive. The offset of letter voids downward gave the necessary element of childishness without flirting and shape distortion. In addition, we created a special code that turns each subsequent character in the opposite direction from the neighbouring side. So these digital codes will be also useful for the next generations and the animation of the world where the brand exists. We used the iconic font type in logo but its letters are even more lively, they revolve more strongly, bounce and interact with each other.

Further we had to find the single style for the characters that could unite the Golden Collection of Soyuzmultfilm and the new cartoons of the studio. So now 3D, plasticine and puppet characters can coexist at one place. We paid a lot of attention to the compilation of corporate palettes. As far as we know the worlds in animation are always bright and multi-coloured, but there should be a system in the identity where all colours are combined with each other. Using all these rules the studio animators can draw characters for a variety of communications.

There was a necessity to maximize the set of tools and the abilities of the visual language. So that’s how we came to a simple graphic vocabulary where the characters are split into a set of recognizable symbols, key objects from the world of studio cartoons. When they look like reduced components they become graphics and patterns that can be used very widely, from advertising branding to packaging design.

This approach involves tremendous variability in use. A variety of techniques allows the studio to speak the same language with all generations of viewers, make limited collaborations and be relevant at different venues, from TV to YouTube. In addition, we have had a lucky chance to work with an animation studio where the professional artists can develop all the proposed techniques and tools for years to come.