Barnardo's illustrative animation of a true story shows the joy of adoption

Nice and Serious creates a positive and playful animation for the charity to tell one mother's story


Barnardo's approached Nice and Serious to make an animation that communicates the benefits of adoption for both children and perspective parents.

"Not many people realise that Barnardo's can play a key supportive role in the adoption process, so the charity wanted people understand that if they are considering adoption, Barnardo's can help," said Creative Director Matthew Harmer. "In particular, Barnardo's wanted to target people who had been unsuccessful with IVF treatment."

After watching the film, people would be encouraged to visit the Barnardo's website to get more information about the subject.

“After an initial conversation with Barnardo's, we realised that there were already some amazing true stories of successful adoption. Since we prefer communicating through stories, we decided to base the animation on one of these.”

Harmer continued, “However, even though this was a true story, we wanted to do something different with how we told it.”

Nice and Serious chose therefore to tell this mother's story with a classic dramatic arc - exposition, complication, journey, climax - but not reveal the fact the child was adopted until the end.

Her story, told in her own words, was then brought to life with a colourful and textured style on animation that reflected the mood of different parts of the story.

“In the case of this mother's story, she had endure many complications with having a child,” said Harmer. “So much of her story was sad but, thanks to Barnardo's support, she was able to turn this around and her story ends happily.”


Reimo Oun was tasked with design and animation on the project.

"The story is about adopting a child and that's why I wanted to keep the overall style little bit 'childlike'," he explained. "This applied to both the illustrations and the colours too. I really tried to keep that positivity and playfulness in there because adoption is actually really beautiful and wonderful thing. Giving a child a new life."

Oun used a variety of tools to create the animation, including paper, pen, scanner, and Photoshop and After Effects.

"I drew quite a few details in the animation on paper," he explained. "These I scanned in and cut open in Photoshop, and then imported them into After Effects for animation."

"The paper texture on the background comes from wanting to bring in the warmness of paper, to emphasise the personal and private aspect of the story and adoption."

Advertisement. Article continues below

"As a key element of the piece, we choose not to reveal that the child had been adopted until the very last sentence in the film," said Matthew Harmer. "We felt this highlighted the fact that, ultimately, a family formed through adoption is no different to any family, the joy of bringing a child into your life and the family bond that is created is the same regardless of the means."

"Another consideration was that we wanted the mother's story to dominate, not Barnardo's' story," he continued. "We therefore chose to not mention Barnardo's at all in the narrative, only only feature it in the call to action at the end of the film."

"Too often brands feel that they must explicitly highlight themselves in their communications, but we feel this can be too heavy handed and cause people to switch off from the content."