Celebrated this past November 25, 2014, for only the second time, the Tusk Conservation Awards recognize individuals who “have undertaken outstanding, inspirational conservation work throughout Africa”, specifically in regards to the protection of endangered species or threatened habitat. The awards are organized by Tusk, a nonprofit organization devoted to funding conservation, community development and environmental education programs across Africa. The identity for the awards was designed pro-bono by London-based The Partners.
To create an emotional connection with Tusk’s roots, we looked into the cultural influences across the continent. Taking inspiration from tribal art, we designed a unique graphic pattern that encompasses the four letterforms of T-U-S-K in black, white and orange geometric shapes. The pattern echoes traditional African designs and informs the confident style of the brand that is ownable and celebratory in character.
I’m a sucker for patterns, you all know that. So a pattern with custom and novel typographic shapes is like grabbing chocolate from a barrel for me. Convincingly hinting at African textile and painting patterns, the Tusk Conservation Awards pattern reveals a wordmark that is completely unexpected, beautifully abstract, and despite the letters each being wildly different they are unequivocally part of the same language. I really like the boldness of the wordmark on its own and its ability to transform into a completely abstract pattern that works well at large or small scale and viewed in a tight close-up or revealed in full.
In the program, the letters are blown up really big and work great as overlays with the black and white photography. The wordmark, going edge to edge makes for a great cover.
[We] worked with the Tusk Trust team to commission a number of traditional beaded wristbands in the brand’s signature patterns. The wristbands were hand crafted by the Mamas of the Enkiito village, Kenya, using environmentally friendly and reclaimed materials, and will be worn by nominees and celebrities to help raise awareness of the cause.
The bracelet is what seals the deal for me in the efficacy and relevance of this logo and identity. Forget if it will fax. When trying to be genuine to a time and place, maybe the right question is “can it be adapted to the local materials, crafts, and traditions?”. Overall, this is just a wonderful approach, executed with great precision that manages to be true to the subject of the Awards while also presenting a sophisticated presence for the high-rollers who support it.