Biodiversity through graphic design

Written by travis | June 25th, 2009 | blog

How can graphic design and corporate ethics save a bunch of cute, furry (and some not-so-cute and some not-so-furry) animals while at the same time promoting conservation and biodiversity all across the globe? is based on an honest and simple principle: “Save Your Logo creates an opportunity for companies represented by a plant or animal in their logo to contribute to the conservation of that species.”

A recently established and accredited non-profit, Save Your Logo is hoping to team up with brands who use plants and animals in their logos to raise funds to support those very same animals that adorn our polos, book spines and hockey teams. Corporate contributions will be held in trust in an endowment fund managed by reputable organizations such as the Global Environmental Facility, the World Bank, and the International Union for Nature Conservation and the Endowment Fund for Biodiversity. And better yet, the organization “will create the first global observatory for biodiversity using a multimedia platform to communicate about it programs, creating a community of people interested in plant and animal biodiversity and the health of the planet”. The goal here is to create community and promote biodiversity, which in the end is for everyone’s sake. A better planet for plants and animals means a better planet for people.

Of course, the design community knows full well that these corporate logos are not mere decoration, and that these icons and representations stand for a lot more than the simple images they appear to be. Case in point, the penguin. In everywhere from books, to software, to clothing and (once again) hockey, this awkward, docile and OMG cute! bird has represented a certain flightless tenacity, calmness and cool. Meanwhile in the deep deep south, these birds toil and struggle for survival in the harsh Antarctic cold as numbers dwindle and the polar ice melts beneath their feet. Of the 17-20 species of penguin still alive today, three are considered engandered (including colonies of the much-beloved Emperor Penguin). As recently as this year, scientists estimate that, “By the end of the century there could be just 400 breeding pairs of Emperor penguins left standing, a dramatic decline from the population of about 6,000 breeding pairs that existed in the 1960s”.

Yes, I’m being dramatic, but do these companies not have an obligation to support the animals that have supported them and been their very identity for so many profitable years? (And at the same time, is it not in their best interests to not have to rebrand because the face of their corporate image just became extinct?)

In many other cases the predominant images we have of many successful companies and organizations rest on the shoulders of animals: what is Disney without the mouse, what is John Deere without that yellow deer leaping swiftly across a green field, or Energizer without a bunny rabbit? And how many times have professional sports teams plastered the images of just about every living animal on the planet on T-shirts, jerseys and countless other pieces of merchandise? These companies, organizations and teams owe much of their success to these animals, and it’s about time to give back.

This of course speaks to ethical concerns within large corporate structures that commission these designs and promote these brands, but does it also speak to designers who use images of animals seemingly ad nauseum for these corporations? As corporations rampantly try to prove their responsibility to the planet and all living things on it, they should realize that it’s not just us people it’s affecting, but our animals (and graphic design!) too. In the end, it is designers who create the shapes and images, and for that we are responsible as well. The Save Your Logo campaign gives these companies a shot to give back to the animals that have given so much to various brands all over the globe.

Two brands (Lacoste and MAAF Assurances) have already joined in, but below in the comments I bet we can generate a list of a lot more that should.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

One response to “ Biodiversity through graphic design”

  1. mutuelle says:

    Merci pour ce post intéressant. si vous continuer ainsi je vais devenir un lecteur fidéle