CBeebies Land at Alton Towers
Alton Towers came to us at TBWA Manchester to help them create a website for the new CBeebies Land opening in their amusement park. The brief was to promote an exciting and magical experience for children, whilst still housing a lot of practical information for parents. This involved the development of the main informational website, and several promotional tools including an interactive map.
Exploring the land
The slogan for the CBeebies Land launch campaign was 'Explore the land'. To represent this, I wanted the website to have a sense of movement and intrigue. Using assets supplied by Merlin and CBeebies, I composited together a magical scene which was used as the backdrop of the website. To get a feeling of movement, we used a HTML5 parralax effect. Elements such as the butterflies and flowers seemed to spring out at you as you moved your mouse.
Bringing together two brands
The biggest challenge of the project was to successfully bring together two different brands. Alton Towers and CBeebies both have a bright and exciting look and feel, and both needed to be equally represented. I had to carefully choose which elements to use from each brand to create a complimentary visual language. One decision was to use the Alton Towers purple as a base, against the more bright and colourful CBeebies colours. I also made careful use of the brands main typefaces. This required creating a typographic system so that these two fonts would not sit too close to each other.
An Interactive Map
To build excitement for the launch, we developed an interactive map. This encouraged families to explore CBeebies Land before their visit and get excited about the experience ahead. The maps purpose was two fold: Get children excited and provide a useful tool for parents to plan ahead. We couldn't discount the fact that visitors would use the map as a navigation tool whilst inside of the park. This meant visitors could be using loading the map using 3G speeds or less. This required working closely with the development company to ensure fast download speeds, whilst not compromising on the fun aspects of the experience.
Animation and Interactivity
The design needed to work responsively, whilst still including elements such as animation and sound. When users zoomed and panned, characters and people would pop in. More information about the attraction was available by clicking a character or logo.
As part of designing the maps UI, I created a set of weather icons. When visitors access the map, the weather is displayed for that day. The icons needed to be detailed and make use of shading, to fit in with the look and feel of the map design. I found this an enjoyable challenge as a designer, as I was able to draw and refine the icons from scratch.
A special invitation
Further to the main website, we were asked to create something that would build excitement for the launch. Art Director, Mark Daws came up with the idea of personalised video invitations. I worked on the visual design, compositing and iconography.
Parents were able to complete a short form to generate a personalised video invitation featuring either Postman Pat, Iggle Piggle or Tree Fu Tom. The videos themselves where filmed at Alton Towers, using green screen. The children's names were overlaid at the end of the video using HTML5 technology. Once parents had filled in the form, they would recieve an email with a link to their video invitation. I used the 'Explore the land' imagery, along with images of the character or show to bring the designs to life. This helped the experience to feel more immersive and magical.
A successful launch
The website proved sucessful, with high traffic volumes building up to and after the launch of CBeebies Land. The "Special Invitation" tool gained a lot of social traction, and was used, shared and enjoyed by many families. The rich and exciting visual direction was a key factor in engaging visitors and entertaining children. CBeebies Land was one of the most visited attractions of the year for Alton Towers.