How do you hide a battleship? Why do submarine crews let in seawater? Why did crews welcome cats on ships? The Wonder team came up with some pretty imaginative answers…alas none of them were right and we looked to IWM North’s major exhibition All Aboard: Stories of War at Sea for the solutions. In turn, IWM North looked to Wonder to design an innovative marketing campaign for the exhibition.

All Aboard was IWM North’s first ever large-scale exhibition on life at sea, commemorating some of the most dramatic moments in British sea-faring history using a plethora of media to bring to life the adventures of bravery and survival. With such rich exhibit content and compelling interactive features, IWM North endeavoured to highlight the appeal to an overtly family audience.

We responded with a contemporary illustrative approach, combining friendly hand-drawn illustrations of a submarine, ship and cat, with a bold use of colourful vector waves, shapes and seawater. The visual design was highly inviting, jolly and upbeat without belittling the subject matter – not a pirate or a sinking ship in sight. It provided both parents and children with a sense of the exhibition experience: discover, learn, explore, see, hear and smell the Stories of War at Sea. We also adopted the use of a Tondo typeface to inject family friendliness into the type treatment.

Outdoor advertising splashed the campaign across Greater Manchester in 48, 6 & 4 sheets, boosting the impact of the marketing strategy across online & press advertising (including wrapping the Guardian newspaper) and promotional print for racks and schools.

Branching the campaign into UK schools and learning groups, a ship shaped wall planner displayed a timeline of War at Sea using the same distinctive set of illustrations combined with a vibrant colour palette, dramatic photography, and a solid grid structure, for absorbing and easy to digest content.

"It has been a pleasure, as always, to work with Wonder on the marketing campaign for our latest special exhibition All Aboard: Stories of War at Sea. The creative is really bold and eye catching, with a real sense of fun which highlights the family friendly nature of the exhibition." Sam Howard, Marketing and PR Co-ordinator, IWM North

"Wonder's work for our special exhibition: All Aboard, Stories of War at Sea, was a perfect match for the family audience we were targeting, and worked superbly across all our marketing collateral, driving up visitor numbers." Head of Marketing & PR, IWM North