Visual identity and digital portfolio for a contemporary bonsai artist.

Ryan Neil is a horticulturalist, artist and visionary in every sense of the word. After years studying in Japan, he’s stunned the Bonsai world with a uniquely ‘American’ approach to the artform that boldly challenges tradition.

With a vision of his trees living amongst contemporary masterpieces in modern art museums, Ryan needed to create a distinction between himself as an artist and his livelihood as a teacher and bonsai professional.

Working alongside Adam Bagerski at the Portland-based This Design, we set out to create a visual identity that captures the tone of Ryan’s work without overpowering it. The result is a simple, dynamic wordmark accompanied by a minimal visual toolkit that acts more as a signature than a 'brand' for the artist.

Building upon solid brand foundations, I designed and art-directed the digital portfolio showcasing Ryan’s favorite exhibitions. Custom-built from the ground up, the modular site functions as a simple, intuitive page-builder. Kendall Strautman engineered this approach to enable the creation of unique pages without development knowledge while retaining the freedom of a fully-custom React application.

The site makes no compromises on any device. Mobile-specific images shine on modern devices while a fluid typography system and layout architecture create a truly immersive experience on larger displays.

Credits: Brand work completed while working at This Design with Creative Director Adam Bagerski. Engineering and writing by Kendall Strautman. Photography and Cinematography by Ricardo Nagaoka, Arthur Hitchcock and Josh Sales.