Field Notes Blog
News and thoughts on UI/UX, web design, and more.
Meet Seymour Sea Dragon and Santiago Sea Turtle! You can see Santiago brightly swimming around town on the 3rd t-shirt illustration in the San Diego Blood Bank's 70th anniversary series. After the Dulce, Diego and Duke Dolphin "Celebrated the Past" and Octavia Octopus "Embraced the Present", we needed a cheerful representative to "Improve the Future". Sea Dragons are amazing creatures that have a cool connection to San Diego. While they are native only to Australian waters, our own Birch Aquarium has a world-renown sea dragon breeding program and from the first time I saw them there, I was mesmerized. Although I had already started a sea turtle design, when Michael at the Blood Bank suggested a sea dragon, I was hooked. So how did the third t-shirt design turn out to be Santiago the Sea Turtle then? And where is Seymour now?
But then, in early testing, we found that people didn't recognize what animal the design was showing. With their brilliant colors and seaweedy bodies, sea dragons truly look like make-believe creatures and they are not yet widely known. After some thought we decided that the world wasn't ready for Seymour so I went back to the drawing board (yuk yuk!) and my initial sea turtle sketches.
Click images to view larger. The Green Sea Turtle is native to San Diego and many people have seen them while kayaking in the Matlahuayl State Marine Reserve in La Jolla. While I've never seen an adult swimming up close, I did hold a baby while visiting a breeding program in Zihuatanejo, Mexico. One night, a big tropical storm blew in and I watched lightning arc across the sea for hours. While walking the beach the next morning, I saw people excitedly tending bathtubs. The baby sea turtles had hatched in the night! The rain makes their trip from the warm sands down to the ocean easier. However, volunteers had collected the hatchlings to feed them and keep them safe until they are large enough to fend for themselves. Holding that baby sea turtle was amazing! As anyone who watched "Finding Nemo" will know, sea turtles migrate long distances. Considering this, it was clear that Santiago was a great name and he met with immediate recognizability. Who doesn't love sea turtles? Can you see how Seymour's layout carried over to Santiago's design?
You never know when Santiago might swim by on a t-shirt while in a grocery store or walking down the street so keep an eye out. Hopefully he'll remind you to make a blood donation at the San Diego Blood Bank! If you can't donate blood you can support this vital community resource by donating money or time. In the meantime, Seymour is still swimming about, waiting for his day in the spotlight. If you have an idea for him, let me know in the comments below!
About the author
As the owner of Pixel Lava Interactive I've helped hundreds of small businesses and nonprofits with websites, graphic design and more. I hope you'll find this blog full of useful information.
~ Ame Stanko