2020

NYX Marketing & Communication Awards (Marcom) Gold Winner Winner

Meerkat Life—Hunting, Burrowing & Surviving the Desert Heat

Entrant Company

ECOS Communications

Category

Design & Print (NEW) - Other Design & Marketing

Client's Name

John Ball Zoo

Country / Region

United States

Experience Level

Agency

How to design effective educational experiences at zoos?

It takes knowledge of many different fields! For starters, it helps to have a solid understanding of human psychology, wildlife biology, and captive animal care. How do visitors move along the walkways, and what draws them to different animal exhibits? What are the animals likely to be doing? What activities will be stimulating for kids of various ages?

In addition, it’s essential to know about designing attractive graphics using fun photos and illustrations that appeal to kids and families (always a major segment of zoo visitors). Appropriate font sizes and background colors, a “layered” layout approach, lively text—these aspects of design are all critical.

For John Ball Zoo’s Meerkat Exhibit, we created a series of educational panels and small “surprise” sculptures that work together for an engaging family activity.

See the sign about how meerkats hunt (Hunting the Meerkat Way). Meerkats collaborate to hunt and stay safe from predators, with individuals taking turn as lookouts. The instructions here encourage visitors to “go hunting” themselves by looking for 12 common prey items—these are actual-size custom bronze sculptures “hidden” along the path, but easy to find.

See the sign about meerkat “mobs” (It Takes a Village). Meerkats live in extended family groups and divide up tasks for a smooth operation. Drawing comparisons between animal behavior and our own human experience helps make connections for visitors with the animals they’re observing.

See the sign with an illustration of an underground burrow (Built for Desert Life). Carefully crafted interpretive signs allow visitors to “see” what’s not visible or easily understood. It’s about providing a view into what’s unique and captivating about a particular species.

See the sign with the angry meerkat faces (Mob Attack!). Meerkats team up to defend themselves from formidable foes, like large snakes. The prompt at the bottom of the panel invites visitors to try on their own “Outta here!” expressions.

Credits

Sculptor
Mic Carlson
Illustrator
Katie McKiernan
2020
gold
winner

Entrant Company

Living Online

Category

Website - Consumer Product / Services

Country / Region

Australia

2020
gold
winner

Entrant Company

Eduardo Miguel González, Arquitecto

Category

Content Marketing & Writing - Feature Article

Country / Region

Spain

2020
gold
winner
North Face

Entrant Company

Miami Ad School Miami and San Francisco

Category

Advertising (NEW) - Advertising / Other

Country / Region

United States

2020
gold
winner

Entrant Company

Ronit Plank/And Then Everything Changed podcast

Category

Audio & Podcasts - Audio & Podcasts / Other

Country / Region

United States