MOUTHWASH Studio’s playful identity for Woset taps into the boundless joy and wonder of childhood
From a charming collection of breezy clothes to toys sculpted from scraps of waste wood, everything at Woset is handcrafted to spark curiosity and nurture the imagination of little ones. When the brand turned to their LA neighbour MOUTHWASH Studio to create an identity and a website that would reflect their playful, dynamic world, they already had a rich backstory in place – Woset is home to twelve wonderful characters, from a large dog called Ramsey to Juan, a friendly caterpillar. As MOUTHWASH Studio began dissecting the brief, these characters took centre stage in their design strategy.
Drawing notes from children's literature, especially the fantastical worlds conjured by writer and illustrator Maurice Sendak, Woset’s identity leans heavily on the illustrations of its many characters. The layout of the website, especially the homepage, feels like a page pulled from a children's storybook, with new Woset-dwellers popping up with every scroll. Crafted to spark joy in children and adults alike, the characters – illustrated by Hastings-based artist Jay Cover – appear across nooks and corners of the website and even on cotton shirts and trousers.
The freewheeling spirit of the illustrations echoes in the handwritten wordmark, also designed by Cover. “We suggested subtle elements, such as tilting the ‘S’ to make it feel slightly more playful,” explains the studio. Macan, a crisp sans-serif from TIGHTYPE grounds the otherwise whimsical design direction. “You'll also notice other elements of play in our motion execution as well, where you see some of the Woset characters interacting with core elements of the brand identity,” adds the studio. Little snatches of motion – designed by animator Zac Waxman – bring the Woset world to life. As the website loads, Emell, a hat-wearing dog digs through the ground and hoists up the ‘O’ of the wordmark; on the homepage, a tuft of grass or a curling hair on the head of a towering character called Jonee quivers gently, as if caught in a passing breeze.
While the brief called for deep collaborations and winding research, it was while designing the ‘Play’ page on the Woset website that the designers at MOUTHWASH Studio were able to tap into the playful edge of their creativity. Created as a virtual playground that introduces children and adults to Woset’s many inhabitants, the page allows viewers to colour line drawings of the characters – using an earthy palette of colours one would find in any wild garden – and also complete ‘join the dots’ puzzles to reveal little backstories of each character. An explorative exercise that doubles up as the cherry on the cake, the ‘Play’ page augments the dynamic identity, and the sense of wonder and playfulness that is synonymous with the world of Woset.