Brand refresh: A new beginning

Tswalu is a privately owned game reserve in the heart of the Kalahari, founded by the Oppenheimer family. The ecotourism destination serves as the epicentre of a conservation project to return the Kalahari to its former state. Tswalu consists of three unique business areas, a luxury eco-resort, an artist’s residency, and a research facility geared towards understanding and conserving key ecosystems of the region. The funds derived from the resort funnel directly into the study and preservation of the environment and its inhabitants. The artist’s residency, in turn, provides artists of varying disciplines the opportunity to study and capture the fauna and flora of the region, culminating in an art exhibition to raise funds for the Tswalu Foundation.

Tswalu decided to turn a new leaf and reposition the brand to capture the various areas of the business and promote the understanding, empowerment, and artistic interpretation of the Kalahari ecosystem and the wider communities.

Awards

 

CSS Design Awards 2019: Innovation Design Award (Tswalu website) 

CSS Design Awards 2019: Special Kudos Award (Tswalu website) 

CSS Design Awards 2019: UI Design Award (Tswalu website) 

CSS Design Awards 2019: UX Design Award (Tswalu website)

The Tswalu brand positioning was inspired by two key pillars: the Oppenheimer family creed “To leave our world better than how we found it” and the San people’s ethos of respecting and preserving the land for future generations. In keeping with this methodology, the Tswalu identity captured the three principles of history, art, and conservation. Tswalu’s history is represented by the ancient petroglyphs found on the property. These marks left for future generations mirrored Tswalu’s creed: to leave our world better than how we found it.  

 

This is a new chapter in the Kalahari’s evolution, where people are once again respecting and preserving the land, thus leaving their mark on the area. Art is represented through our exploration of contemporary Bushman art, using modern techniques to reinterpret their history. The final form of the identity is inspired by the Camelthorn tree, a native protected species in South Africa. 

 

The new brand challenges the misconception of the Kalahari as a lifeless desert and positions the region as a lush, green oasis worthy of preservation

The word Tswalu can be translated as 'a new beginning,' a concept beautifully mirrored in the use of a botanical symbol to represent life, growth, and rejuvenation.

The colour palette is inspired by the Kalahari and its natural flora. The dark hills, distinctive red sand, rich greenery, and vibrant yellow flowers of the Camelthorn tree all add a unique colour story to our brand.  

 

The browns are indicative of the perception of the Kalahari as dry and desolate, while the vibrant and rich greens and yellows showcase the reality of the Kalahari’s rejuvenation. 

 

Inspired by the botanical theme of the new Tswalu identity, we incorporated botanical studies of the regional flora into our visual language system, thus visually preserving and celebrating the conservation of the Kalahari.  

 

As a starting point, we approached Gill Condy, a renowned botanical artist and current artist in residence at Tswalu, to create a series for botanical studies to be used in our collateral.

The brand guidelines are inspired by traditional field guides and naturalist journals. These documents are generally used to document the behaviours and characteristics of various animal and botanical species. This pocket guide documents the behaviours and characteristics of the Tswalu brand, including current snapshots and notes for ease of reference.

As part of the brand relaunch, Tswalu partnered with Michelin-starred South African chef, Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen to offer a unique dining experience to its guests. Opening an extension of his renowned French restaurant called Klein Jan at Tswalu. The unique dining experience offered personalised menus as wax-sealed letters to our guests.

Photography courtesy of Rachel L’Antigua for Style | Native and Tswalu Game Reserve. 

Video courtesy of Tswalu Game Reserve. 

Digital