January, 2015

Beta App

Press Secretary at Animat Habitat

OAFA — Before any good people run from a nerdy word like beta, there are fifty invites for early supporters who get behind the scenes in wildlife art, and who want to take part in a beta group that sees and reviews the White Elephant comic book and companion app before its publication. Part of the goal of the beta group is to share the app with a broad demographic — to gather a balanced range of feedback. The idea of a focus group at the prototyping stage of a project applies in particular in the design of an interactive experience, and the standalone comic book as a feature of the app is going to come to a point where select pages are ready to share. This presents an opportunity to invite you to preview the art and story before its release in full on the app store. This open invitation to the beta is an opportunity to provide constructive feedback to help make a better experience for everyone who sees the comic book and companion app later on. We invite you to get behind the scenes at animathabitat.org.

And one more thing.

White Elephant app cover art. (2014) © Animat Habitat™

Companion App Art

Elephants are a keystone species in Africa. They are a symbol of the continent. Elephants are also a universal symbol of strength and wisdom. This is a reason why they appear in the logo of so many corporations, and that is why the projects that are uniquely focused on such an iconic animal are imposed to establish an alternate graphic style in order to stand out in the noise of busy marketplaces. The cover art for the companion app for White Elephant is designed in part in opposition to the clarity that comes with line-art and vector graphics, which saturate the world of icons and logos and so on. The look is drawn instead from the texture and contrast in the pages of the White Elephant comic book. The image of a sand-covered and in part dissolved silhouette of an elephant shifts any attribution of elephant characteristics further from a corporate interpretation, and closer to a graphic abstraction of the plight of elephants in the wild — to the strength and wisdom that is faded, year after year, lost with the hundreds of thousands of elephants killed for their tusks.

White Elephant app cover art (2014) © Animat Habitat™

In a book of photographs of the life of elephants: Remembering Elephants (2016) by Margot Raggett, in the foreword written by Virginia McKenna OBE, founder of Born Free Foundation, the tragedy of the ivory trade is put simply: “The life of all elephants simply must have more significance than a small sad fragment of carved tusk on someone's mantelpiece.” The goal of the app and the art of White Elephant is simply to share this message. Please pass it along.

No one in the world needs an elephant tusk other than an elephant.

This article was edited September, 2016.