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Banjo Robinson

Project Type:
Branding | Print

Client:
Tree Climber Publishing

Kids spend too much time staring at screens. (Heck, we all spend too much time staring at screens.) Banjo Robinson is the perfect antidote to that. Banjo is a globe-trotting cat who sends real letters to your kids as he travels around the world. Actual analogue letters – bits of paper in envelopes. I can only imagine the excitement of being six years old and waiting for my next letter from my mate Banjo, who’s a cat, who might be writing from Brazil, or the Galápagos, or the Antarctic. And fantastically, not only are the letters personalised, kids can then write back to him, with their letters delivered by cat!

The Banjo Robinson subscription service is the brainchild of Kate Boyle at Tree Climber Publishing. She came to me at a relatively early stage of the project, to design the identity and the various printed items that make up the Banjo experience. And also to help find the perfect illustrator for the project – which we found in the person of Migy Blanco, who brought Banjo brilliantly to life.

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I designed a bespoke Cat Mail envelope for the letters, featuring a branded postmark, a couple of stickers from wherever Banjo is writing from, and a few additional stamped delivery marks.

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The welcome pack features a large map of the world, showing all the countries Banjo will be travelling to. A stamp from each country he visits is included with each of his subsequent letters, which can then be stuck onto the map, gradually building up a record of his travels. Each stamp features one of Migy’s gorgeous illustrations of local animals or landmarks. Kids also get Prize Paw Prints to add to the map, getting a special prize once they’ve collected 24 of them.

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Here’s how the map looks once it’s complete:

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Each delivery from Banjo includes a personalised letter, a page from Banjo’s sketchbook to colour in, paper for a reply, a sheet of stickers – including Cat Mail postage stamps, and a Cat Mail reply envelope.

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I carefully specified a typewritten typeface for Banjo’s letters that embodies just the right level of analogue printyness (that’s almost certainly a word).

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I created a set of Cat Mail standard postage stamps, as well as a set of Banjo Robinson stamps. Eat your heart our Royal Mail!

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Kids then write their reply, and leave it under for the sofa for overnight collection by Cat Mail. (In reality, parents collect the letters, building up a magical collection of their children’s writing. But they can also input some of the details from each reply online, customising the P.S. section of Banjo’s next letter, creating a wonderfully personalised experience.)

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It’s just a fantastic thing for kids to get involved with. They’re getting away from their screens; feeling special as they’re getting two real letters every month from a cat and addressed to them; learning about places and animals all around the world; and practicing their reading and writing without even realising they’re doing it. Brilliant! A crikey what a brilliant Christmas or birthday present… (you can subscribe here).

From early tests on Mumsnet, Banjo has already proved to be a massive success:

“Thrilled to bits with it! When I told my son I had lunch with a cat called Banjo Robinson, he believed me 100% and was so excited when I said he might write him a letter. The excitement of the letter arriving, addressed to my child, looking like the real deal, and being fun and exciting was PERFECT!!”

This is just the beginning for Banjo, and I’m properly excited to see where he ends up taking us all.

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