An organization’s logo is a key aspect of its visual identity and ultimately contributes to relationship building with an audience. To be effective, logos must generally be simple, meaningful and memorable. And they must properly integrate design elements, notably color and form. Some organizations have exceptional logos that enjoy near universal recognition. Think Coca-Cola, Nike and McDonald’s.
Occasionally organizations will update or change their logo. This is often in an attempt to modernize or reflect a changed organization mission or a response to a crisis situation.
But what would happen if an organization changed its logo to be more environmentally friendly?
Sylvain Boyer, a creative director at Interbrand Paris, launched Ecobranding, a project aimed at developing more environmentally friendly designs. The premise of Boyer’s work is to develop designs—and re-design existing logos—in such a way that they require less ink. Less ink results in being more environmentally and in being more cost effective—especially for large companies. In effect, “even the smallest logo tweaks can significantly change the amount of ink used.”
More environmentally, yes. But the key question becomes: Are the forms changed too much for instant recognition and trust?
As an experiment, I asked my two children (ages 7 and 8) to identify the item on the right in the below image (I covered up the item on the left).
They both immediately answered “a McDonald’s cup.” I then tried the same experiment with a class of 400 undergraduate journalism students. The response was the same: “a McDonald’s cup.”
While this is certainly not a scientific experiment, the results were promising: audience recognition with a more environmentally-friendly product.