wonderfully similar . beautifully different

distilling characters down to their essence: those things that make them who they are


inspired by a piece of art you see every day. as ubiquitous as it is modest.

one doesn’t even think twice as you pass it by at work, at the train station or at lunch in a restaurant. this artwork has been around since the 1960s and has become something as essential as, well, going to the loo.

the story

it came about when the DRU design studio was tasked with re-designing the corporate identity for british railways.
they created a bold new look for all signage, out of which has come one of the single most remarkable designs in daily life:
the bathroom figure;
an icon that broke global communication boundaries by distilling hundreds of translations into one visual message.

the process

this got us thinking.
what if this bathroom figure was just the beginning? what if it could symbolise more?
the persona project takes mass designation to individual design.
we use this bathroom figure to abstract characters down to their essentials: those components that we love the most, that make them who they are
think Jimi Hendrix with his crazy ‘fro and left-handed strat, Mandela with his salt-and-pepper hair and colourful shirt,
or samurai-sword-wielding Uma Thurman and that yellow jumpsuit.

each work is hand-drawn to highlight the unique attributes and peculiarities that we all have, but portrayed on a form that represents us all.


as always, thanks for all the beautiful things:

Design Research Unit, Esther Mahlagu, Bill Watterson, Jack Kirby, Gary Larson, and all the people, characters, bastards and geniuses we have the pleasure of drawing

closing thoughts

drawing is very easy when you don’t know how.
drawing is very hard once you do.
but, it is important always