Kong Studio produces animation for Waltham Forest council explaining their information rich ‘State of the Borough’ report. The animation, designed by illustrator Natasha Pollack, includes the voices of local residents in the charming and accessible explainer animation.
In late 2020, Waltham Forest council wanted to find out about existing inequalities in the borough. Although Covid and lockdown had brought some communities together, it was making inequalities for others even wider, particularly for young people seeking employment.
In June 2021, the ‘State of the Borough’ report used existing research from a range of local and national studies to understand in detail the full impact of inequalities faced by many Waltham Forest residents. The ‘State of the Borough’ animation was commissioned as a communication tool to reach more residents on social media. The video will help increase the reach of the report and highlight how residents can get involved.
Animation seemed the best way to consolidate an extensive and complex piece of research into an easy to digest format. Local residents participated by adding their voices to the short film, with all script readings recorded using their own smartphones.
The design by illustrator Natasha Pollack brings a warm and inclusive element to the animation. Her soft hand drawn style creates a friendly and engaging aesthetic, while the people within her world represent the diverse population of Waltham Forest.
I found designing the characters and backgrounds for ‘State of the Borough’ particularly enjoyable and it proved to be a project with a positive and important message. Kong Studio gave me the creative freedom to develop the characters in my signature style.
Representing a diverse palette of people was an interesting creative challenge. The colour palette given by Waltham Forest proved to be a huge bonus in designing the characters to reflect the area’s ethnic mix.Natasha Pollack, Designer
The result is a piece of content that everyone in the borough can engage with while highlighting the issues reflected in the report. The main point is that structural inequalities do exist and only by knowing and understanding can we start to tackle them.
The State of the Borough report is complex, unsettling and of absolute importance. It’s something we feel privileged (if somewhat daunted) that our very own Waltham Forest council would ask us to work on. However, thanks to Natasha’s design, I feel the animation adds a tangible, hand-drawn humanity that will resonate with its audience.Bill Elliott, Kong Co-founder