We embark on a visual journey in the world of the Iñupiat people, the native inhabitants of northwest Alaska reunited as shareholders of the Akima companies. Textures and characters bring the personal touch to a 3 minutes long video carrying ancestral heritage into modern times.
The very set of values that has guided the Iñupiat people throughout history receives a contemporary treatment with Akima’s earnest approach to business.
Characters were essential in telling the story of such enduring people. We opted for natural tones and warm textures to complement the strong, personal features of each character’s expression. Simple shapes outlined the characters’ silhouette and the traditional clothing - less ornate and more suited for the Alaskan winters. While we used textures to enrich the overall look of the clothing, we counterbalanced the lack of details with strong individual traits for each character, leaving our usual minimalistic take behind. The key to an essential, distinctive style emerged after careful research, merging powerful facial expressions with the compelling narrative.
The creative focus was on conveying the overall feel of the story being told, so we approached this in a slightly different style than our usual bold minimalistic esthetic. We mixed neutral shades with an Illo touch of pink and yellow for highlighting details, while also balancing realistic elements (such as the characters) with abstract and geometric symbols.
Frame by frame textures played a big part in giving the video a warmer, more traditional feel: we drew them all by hand, using our fingers and an iPad to connect the story of thousands of years of tradition with modern technology. This way, we managed to give software transitions and video effects that unique human touch.
The harsh environment is a defining part of the Iñupiat people’s lifestyle, so we aimed to recreate the landscapes that hold such an important role in the lives and the culture of the Northwestern Alaska natives. Distance and scale also played an important role in recreating the unforgiving surroundings and emphasize the solitude and force behind the Iñupiat: animals and characters look small compared to the vastness of the northern scenery.
But, nonetheless, they endure and keep to their values and traditions.
Credits — Creative Direction Ilenia Notarangelo + Illustration Lead Arianna Cristiano + Animation Lead Laurentiu Lunic + Character Design Sofia Buti + Animation David Cubitt + Agency Yes& - Creative Direction David G. Stone + Sound Design and Audio Mix: YouTooCanWoo