Founded in 1916 the San Diego Zoo is one of the largest in the world, with “over 4,000 rare and endangered animals representing more than 800 species and subspecies” including a delicious (looking not tasting) panda. The San Diego Zoo, as a parent brand and non-profit organization, also operates the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park, and San Diego Zoo’s Institute for Conservation Research, and counts with more than 250,000 member households and 130,000 child memberships. Despite being all part of the same family, each entity had its own identity and it wasn’t clear that they were all fighting the same fight: Conservation. The San Diego Zoo has just introduced a new identity created by Landor that unifies the full San Diego Zoo organization under one visual identity and brand idea, “Ambassadors for Wildlife,” which grew out of the new tagline, “Wild at Heart.”
For the identity we drew from our insight that different animals use a variety of unique expressions. We rendered the core signature in a range of executions that celebrate the animals’ distinctive personalities. Our identity feels alive — surprising and engaging audiences — and can change over time or for special events. We also created a whimsical custom font and wrote a new tagline Wild at Heart. The three properties are now distinguished by color, content, and photography style.
— Landor project page
This is one of my favorite redesigns of the year not only because the change from old to new is drastic but because the new identity has such a unified, strong point of view that is perfectly suited for its audience and is wonderfully executed. The “Zoo” element is playful and bold and, well, it just screams “zoo!”. The custom typeface stops just short of tacky and provides a lively and uniquely identifiable element that ties everything together.
The San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park has changed its name to San Diego Safari Park. After extensive research, we have determined that this name reflects the experience the Park has to offer and builds upon the strong, recognizable San Diego zoo identity.
— San Diego Zoo Safari Park
As the identity extends it becomes even stronger, establishing the “San Diego Zoo” as the parent brand and letting the typography unify the two brands. If I had one minor complaint it would be that in the words “Safari Park” all the “A”s are exactly alike and it would have been nice to see some alternates to keep it looking more organic.
For the nonconsumer-facing conservation research institute, the identity maintains an organic connection to the overall visual system while representing its ethical, professional approach.
— Landor project page
The final piece of the puzzle is for the adult-driven institute and Landor found a really nice way of bridging the kid-friendly identity with a serious execution for the research institute.