The Wildwood Trust rebrand by Hannah Belton at Ditto Creative.

Wildwood Trust has two parks in Kent and Devon, welcoming over 200,000 visitors each year. These parks serve as a sanctuary for over 200 species, nestled within the beauty of ancient woodlands. Hannah and her team at Ditto Creative have created a charming and wholesome brand that perfectly captures Wildwood’s essence, presenting a friendly and inviting face that resonates with both conservationists and park-goers.

Celebrating and supporting our native wildlife

Hannah Belton

“I vividly remember the heady scent of printer ink mixed with tobacco smoke. Dreadfully toxic but quite evocative! “


What started your journey into the creative industry?

My dad was a freelance graphic designer, so I grew up in design studios and print houses. There was always something quite intriguing about the magic conjured up there and I vividly remember the heady scent of printer ink mixed with tobacco smoke. Dreadfully toxic but quite evocative! I hadn’t planned a career in design, but helped out in my dad’s print business (which is what Ditto was back then) in between doing my A levels and found a passion for it, discovering I had a natural skill for brand strategy, with a keen eye for visuals.


Could you share the pivotal career moments that have led you to your current success?

There has been no one key moment – it’s very much been a story of gradual evolution. Within the business, we’ve always made a conscious effort to constantly refine and be ambitious in the projects we work on. Something we’re very good at in Ditto is making sure that we take every opportunity to learn, and reflect upon each project in terms of what it’s taught us and how we’ll apply that learning moving forward. That could be anything from learning a new creative skill to refining the business side of things.


How were you instructed to work on this particular brand?

We were contacted by Wildwood’s marketing director, who was reaching out to several local agencies to pitch. We met the Wildwood team on Zoom to delve into the project scope, and put together a proposal that would answer their brand challenges. We were really thrilled to be selected as we loved the team and knew that this project was very much one that we could bring value to.


What core message did you aim to communicate through this brand’s identity?

The main objective of the brand was marrying the thrill and adventure of visiting a wildlife park with the gravitas and knowledge of an internationally renowned conservation charity. Wildwoods’ two parks are incredible places to visit and as such, there’s a side to the brand which is a tourist attraction, but so too are they doing vital, landscape-scale conservation projects which need to be recognised in order to garner support. Wildwood’s ‘Wilder Blean’ Bison project was attracting international press at the time, so it was such an exciting moment to be involved!


Where do you usually seek inspiration when crafting a brand’s message?

We tend to turn to the outside world for inspiration. There’s beauty everywhere, and of course the colours, tones, textures and light in the natural world shift through the year which means you’ll never fail to be inspired.


“We have a very structured client journey which ensures feedback is gained when appropriate and the client feels fully involved.”


Can you describe the client management and feedback process for this project?

We have a very structured client journey which ensures feedback is gained when appropriate and the client feels fully involved. Feedback is invited after the initial Creative Vision presentation, and again after the Brand Reveal. We find that these two stages provide the right level of opportunity for client involvement, without the client feeling removed from the project or burdened by it.


How many concepts were presented, and how did you navigate the design process?

Along with a moodboard, we present no more than 4 logo concepts.


What did you find most challenging about bringing this brand to life?

This project was a complete dream in that respect as there are so many opportunities to bring the brand to life. From signage and visitor information to sponsor packs, merchandise and staff uniforms… there are opportunities everywhere!

How do you and your team push past creative blocks or internal disagreements?

We go for a walk! Our studio is based on a farm surrounded by acres of private woodland, which is a source of inspiration as well as a balm for the soul. Stepping outside of the studio (and, crucially, away from our computers) provides the mental space you need to mull something over. We walk and talk, and normally have it all figured out by the time we make it back.


In your view, what elements make a brand’s identity stand out and stick in people’s memories?

I adore the Wildwood monogram – derived from the antlers of Desmond, one of the resident deer at Wildwood’s Kent park – it’s so distinctive. The illustrations are gorgeous too.


“It’s no good to create something clever or on-trend, or something that appeals to your personal taste, if it doesn’t actually achieve the clients’ goals.”


What benchmarks do you use to gauge the success of this and other branding project?

We always ask ourselves whether the aesthetic matches the strategic commercial brief. It’s no good to create something clever or on-trend, or something that appeals to your personal taste, if it doesn’t actually achieve the clients’ goals. If the brand doesn’t have the right feel to meet the objective, it’s not right and will get refined before the client sees it.


How has the creative landscape changed throughout your time in the industry?

I began in the creative industry almost two decades ago, when the concept of branding was so much more basic. If you were a small business, you’d have a smart logo which you’d stick on everything. Now, design is much more experiential and has to perform across a variety of different platforms – both on and offline – and that requires a more diverse and nuanced approach to deliver the desired feel across every interaction. It also offers many more opportunities to be creative!


If you had the opportunity to rebrand any global company, which would it be and for what reason?

I don’t think I’d want to. We love working with smaller businesses because of their heart, passion and authenticity. I tend to think that essence gets lost the larger a company becomes.


What advice would you offer to budding creatives aspiring to break into the industry?

Create your own opportunities. Don’t work for free, but be open to the idea of working for a bit less while you build your portfolio and reputation (which is exactly what we did!). Figure out the clients that fit you best, which allow you to do your most exciting work, and seek them out. And never sit still!


Is there a ritual you have before starting a project?

Not really, but our approach is very consistent to ensure we capture all the information we need and the client feels as excited as we are for the journey ahead.


In an alternate universe where you weren’t in the creative industry, what profession would you work in and why?

When I was little I wanted to be a vet. Though now I think I’d prefer floristry… something where I could be creative and satisfy my desire to create beautiful things.


What’s the most off-the-wall idea you’ve ever had that never saw the light of day?

Too many to mention. Though my ‘2am moments’ tend to offer an alarming level of clarity,. I went through a phase of waking up to write things in the notes section of my phone as I’d never remember those ideas by the morning.


If you were a brand, what would your slogan be?

Never not real.


During a tea break, what are you dunking?

A chocolate digestive, or if we’re having a fancy day, biscotti.