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Ecobranding: When Logo Design Helps the Environment

As sad as it is to say, the truth stinks. Sometimes, literally.

Today, there are increasing amounts of pollutants being dumped and pumped into both the air and water, negatively affecting our ecosystem. With people becoming more aware of the actual damage being done to our planet, generations have begun taking proactive measures to live a more environmentally conscious lifestyle.

The number of ways to make even the slightest difference are growing every day – some more extreme than others. If you can change one routine in your life to be more environmentally friendly, you’ve done your part. Whether it is wearing vegan clothing, using recyclable materials, composting, adjusting personal diets or using alternative transportation methods, the ways in which to reduce waste are endless.

Even within the marketing and advertising industry, we can do our part with a number of creative practices to ensure our methods are not negatively affecting our environment.

From a design standpoint, eco-friendly logo planning goes beyond earth tones and organic free-flowing fonts. Ecobranding for logos use significantly less ink without compromising the actual look and feel of the logo. Companies both large and small can benefit from being more ecobrand aware. Showing concern for the environment and taking initiative to do something proactive is a strong selling point. Personally, I would be more likely to choose a company if they promoted a strong focus on environmental stability vs. one that does not.

Let’s look at Starbucks as a great example of this concept put into practice. The coffee purveyor is one of the most widely known corporate chains in the world. The iconic twin-tailed mermaid logo is printed billions of times to brand all things Starbucks. Despite only being comprised of white, black and Starbucks green, one would assume the printing of the logo to be relatively harmless. But, once taken into consideration the amount of times the logo is reproduced, it can have a profound effect on the environment.

Since the conception of the logo in 1971, the mermaid has evolved over the years from a more illustrated look incorporating text, to a streamlined design losing both the word mark and the star icons. Though the logo was not well received by fans and design experts, Starbucks, knowingly or not, decreased the amount of ink used in the production, thus creating a much more sustainable brand.

Who knows what Starbucks plans do in the future, but after looking at its logo, the company could go even further in achieving the most conscious ecobrand by simply removing the green circle behind the mermaid and reversing the green to white. (Hey Starbucks, you could also be saving some major cash while making an even bigger environmental impact).

Making a brand more eco-friendly doesn’t need to consist of an over-the-top rebrand. The solution can be as easy as taking a solid, filled-in mark, like the McDonald’s arches, and creating an outline and leaving the center unfilled. The arches remain, but the logo becomes lighter, thus using less ink in production, while also decreasing the overhead cost in producing the logo.

Thinner typefaces, no type at all and the reduction of color – these are all ways in which we can be more environmentally conscious and economically savvy.

I challenge you to see what can be done to make your company’s logo the most ecobrand-friendly as possible.

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