Manufacturing and sustainability branding.
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about this?
Are you thinking of big wind turbines?
Or maybe a forest?
Or maybe you’re thinking about that little green recycling triangle where the arrows follow each other?
I wouldn’t be surprised if any of these images sprung to mind. However, it’s all a bit cliche isn’t it.
Whilst these ideas can be part of sustainability branding, there’s got to be room for something more creative, and well, less boring.
When companies are designing their brand in the manufacturing and sustainability sector, it’s easy for them to play it safe. Enter the big wind turbines and classic earthy colour palettes such as green and blue.
Playing it safe isn’t just limited to this sustainability branding though. Healthcare brands do it too, and fall into a rut of being too stale and corporate. But we’ve already covered this in another blog post, so we’ll leave it for now.
Sustainability branding is so important as you’re empowering customers to make a change for the better and do their bit when it comes to the planet.
Is a stale and corporate looking brand going to inspire them to make a change to their daily lives? Whether that’s ditching meat for tofu, or installing solar panels instead of whacking the heating on, you’re trying to change habits which have probably existed for years.
This is why engagement is key as you need to create an emotional connection and show customers the real benefits of investing in your offering.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at some examples of great sustainability branding.
Credit to Under Consideration
The Climate Change Committee
Established in 2008, The Climate Change Committee is an independent, statutory body whose job is to advise the UK and devolved governments about emission targets to improve the sustainability of our planet.
Their aim is to drive change by reducing greenhouse gasses so that we can be better prepared for climate change in the future.
However, their old branding wasn’t inspiring anyone to do anything.
In fact it screamed cliche.
The old logo consisted of 3 colours – grey, green, and blue, all of which were quite dull and wouldn’t make anyone stop to find out more. You could quite easily skip right past it as the design fades into the background without driving any sense of urgency.
Going back to my earlier point, branding in this sector is meant to drive change. It’s about making people act now, and making them realise how their actions are affecting the environment.
I’m not a fan of the old typeface either as you could quite easily miss the lower line of text which reads ‘climate change’. The pale blue colour is too soft and doesn’t stand out against the white background. Considering the fact that this is meant to be the most important part of the brand messaging, you wouldn’t necessarily know what the brand was about.
Instead you might only see the tiered ‘C’ emblem which is far too generic and could represent a number of different things. The messaging needs to be much stronger, more impactful, and needs to truly communicate what the company stands for.
Make way for the rebrand.
The new brand identity couldn’t be more different, and thank god.
It chucks out the rule book and goes against the stereotypical designs used in this sector. It’s bold, bright, and the unusual combination of yellow and purple gives the brand that much needed sense of urgency.
It makes people stop and look, which is the first step in engaging consumers with your brand. It gets the conversation started, and encourages people to find out more. The three C’s are also beautifully designed to show how this organisation helps the planet transition from a warmer climate.
The gradual colour gradient is applied across the three C’s to reinforce the message which acts as a great visual tool and creates synergy between the logo and the organisation’s purpose.
This one had to make our sustainability branding list!
Dogs are canine animals who have historically always consumed meat.
They don’t make environmentally conscious decisions and they’re not aware of the possible damaging affects eating meat is doing to our planet. But their owners are.
Introducing vegan dog food – a healthy and environmentally friendly alternative. When designing a brand in this space, your target market is obviously pet parents who want to make a difference. They have become aware of the need to change our food habits, and that applies to their four-legged friend.
However, for them to invest in vegan dog food and make the switch, they need to be understand how the product will benefit their pooch. When designing branding for our client McKinna, we knew these benefits had to be immediately obvious so that consumers would pick Noochy Poochy up off the shelf.
That’s why we’ve included all of the key nutritional information on the front of the packaging to immediately grab peoples attention. This includes telling customers about the percentage of plant protein and the level of organic ingredients.
We also knew the brand had to stand out in a saturated market so we created a series of playful, cartoon dog characters which immediately tells the consumer what the product is about. They’re fun, charming, and add a sense of personality to the brand as vegan can often be misconceived as boring. These characters also work great in animated video which adds movement and excitement to the brand.
The colour palette is also key, so we chose bright pink as the primary colour. This isn’t an obvious choice in the vegan food market so it’s sets Noochy Poochy apart from their competitors. Pink also works well across various brand touch points, including digital billboards and promotional products.
Credit to Under Consideration
Mandai Wildlife Group, formerly known as Wildlife Reserves Singapore, encompasses five different wildlife parks in Singapore. Each park is unified by the Groups mission to “Provide meaningful and memorable wildlife experiences with a focus on protecting biodiversity in Singapore and the region.”
‘We rebuilt the brand from the ground up, with a new design playbook for biodiversity. Where every decision from organisational change to typography and tone-of-voice was guided by a simple rule – the understanding that wildlife, humans, and nature are simply equal. Placing humans and animals on equal footing, we transform the way we see the life all around us.’
The idea behind this brand is to protect the environment and the animals that call it home. Animals are no less important than human beings and the brand messaging for Mandai hopes to communicate that.
Using slogans such as ‘thanks for helping us help them’ shows park visitors that they are contributing towards something good. They are playing their part in protecting animals who might otherwise be vulnerable.
When comparing the old logo against the new logo, the previous design was a little messy. There’s no denying that it was in fact ‘wild’ but it didn’t really work. The gold colour palette is weak, and some of the lettering looks faded or rubbed out.
It isn’t a logo which captivates you, or represents the wildlife community. Whilst the new logo is very plain and simplistic, the colour green hints towards nature and wildlife from the outset and the choice of typography is very fitting.
Every time I look at the letter ‘d’ I see an open elephant trunk which looks as though it’s just about to grab something off a tree! I’m not sure if this was the look they were going for but I think it’s really clever. It gives the brand an edge and almost a voice, as I can hear the sound an elephant makes just by looking at it.
To tie the 5 parks together, design agency, Anak, created separate illustrations each with their own playful illustrations. This creates cohesion between the individual parks and unifies them under the Mandai Group.
Credit to Under Consideration
Vegan brands have a tendency to be a little dull.
Whilst it’s important to get your key messaging across i.e. you use natural ingredients, it’s important you have a little fun too. There is a stigma around vegan food, as lots of people still think it’s boring and tasteless.
After all, when you’re cutting out real cheese, milk, eggs, and not to mention mayo (my fave!) you have got a big branding task on your hands.
Consumers need to be shown that vegan food doesn’t have to be boring, and that all starts with curating your brand identity.
Native Foods are a company who have nailed this concept. As an all-vegan, plant-based restaurant chain in the US, they needed to stand out in a crowded market.
Whilst their old logo isn’t too far away from their new and improved logo, it was a tad lackluster. Using only black typography with no supporting graphics, it didn’t really differentiate Native Foods from other vegan brands and was quite flat.
Whilst the old typography was playful with the letters all sitting on angle (bar the letter E, don’t ask me why they stopped here), it needed to be warmer.
It needed to invite consumers into the brand and create a more welcoming experience. After all, you want people to try your vegan food which all starts by hooking them in with your branding.
Their new logo keeps to this playful theme but introduces orange as the primary colour. Immediately this conjures up images of fruit and veg, and cleverly the letter ‘V’ is shaped to look like a thick, chunky carrot. Y-U-M.
As part of the rebrand, they’ve emphasised this playfulness even further by introducing a series of ‘vegetable characters’ who have their own arms, legs, and in some cases, sunglasses! This strongly places natural produce at the heart of the brand and gives an almost human touch to the vegetables. In turn, this helps create a connection between the brand and their consumer.
All-in-all, Native Foods is quirky, fun, and different from other vegan brands who stick to a more conservative design.
The reworked brand identity shows consumers that by eating vegan food, you can have an enjoyable experience whilst still helping the planet and being healthy.
Sustainability Branding FAQs
Before we continue our exploration of sustainability brands that have knocked it out the park, we thought we’d take a look at some FAQs.
This helps you find the answers you need to your most burning questions, quickly and easily.
What Are Sustainability Branding Examples?
The brands mentioned in this blog are all examples of sustainability branding. However, there are some other big names who visually communicate their commitment to sustainability on their product packaging. Starbucks is an example of this, as they have a green-white themed logo to represent the environment.
Why Is Green Brand Image Important?
A green brand image takes time and various tactics to to achieve, as it represents the brand overall- not just one product or campaign. This leads to something called ‘green brand equity’ – a company with a green brand image will be viewed positively and trusted by environmentally-conscious consumers.
Credit to Under Consideration
Liv Energy was established in 2016 and specialises in the distribution and implementation of renewable energy equipment and technology, including wind energy and solar power.
When creating the brand identity for the new logo, they wanted to communicate three key pillars – energy, life, and movement, which is represented through the design of their three-dimensional logo.
The chunky logotype was built to represent the blades of a windmill which immediately communicates with the consumer about what the company does.
Now you might be thinking ‘I thought you said windmills were too cliche in sustainability branding?’
And you’re right, I did.
But the way Liv has incorporated these elements into their brand is unique, and different from anything else I’ve ever seen. You can almost see the blades in action which goes back to one of their main pillars – movement.
As a logo this creates a sense of momentum which also encourages people to take action. It’s exciting and as a consumer, you want to be part of it.
Another cliche-esque part of this brand is their choice of colour. They’ve picked blue, which in this sector is to be expected.
However, this particular shade of blue works fantastic against the crisp, minimalist icon.
Across marketing collateral such as business cards and pocket folders, the ‘Liv’ lettering turns silver and looks very cool and crisp. This contrasts well against the blue backdrop and creates a unique blend of corporate identity with a touch of edginess.
Credit to Under Consideration
POWEN is a solar energy service which installs solar panels into homes and businesses across Spain.
It is part of renewable energy firm Fotowatio, and aside from providing a service, it aims to become a source of education where consumers can learn about solar energy.
The idea behind the brand was to ‘give power to the people’ which could be interpreted as meaning both power in terms of energy, and also the power of knowledge. After all, the more consumers know and understand the benefits of solar energy, the more they can start incorporating this into their everyday lives.
What I really like about this brand is the logo.
To replace the ‘O’ in ‘POWEN’, branding agency Saffron created a set of interchangeable graphic elements, each representing a different key message. For example, a flower symbol which represents blossom, or a hexagon shape which represents protect.
These icons can be changed out for different business purposes and add a playful element in an otherwise corporate looking logo. I really like how each icon means something different and communicates a unique message to its audience.
‘Using the “o” of Powen as the container we adapted its shapes to contain different messages, moods and symbols. No longer housed as a signature in a corner, it becomes central to the message across all communications. It provides a reminder of the ubiquitous presence of energy in the lives of customers, powering everything they do, reminding them of its power.’
Visuals are a great way of helping customers to understand something, instead of writing large chunks of text. These simple but effective icons make the brand memorable, and help customers to create a connection between the logo and what the company stands for.
I also love how these logos are created in different colours, inspired by the changing colour of light throughout the day. This again throws back to the entire purpose of the company – solar energy, and brings separate brand assets together into a cohesive format.
Another big tick on our list of sustainability branding examples!
Credit to Under Consideration
Next one is another vegan food brand pushing the boundaries, and we’re here for it!
Vegan doesn’t have to mean bland as you can see by these designs from plant-based brand Nurishh. This is the very first 100% plant-based offering by company Bel UK who also own popular cheese brands Babybel and Boursin.
Designed by This Way Up, the aim was to challenge the plain, unremarkable aesthetics that usually surround vegan cheese brands and to settle the idea that a vegan diet is restrictive.
Instead of purely focusing on the vegan food market, which would have been easy to do, Bell UK wanted to concentrate on reaching a wider audience. They wanted vegan cheese to be attractive to everyone, not just those currently eating plant based diets.
A friendly brand which breaks the typical conventions of vegan cheese.
The packaging for Nurishh is vibrant, bright, and cheerful, and features a very playful typography. It’s certainly not serious and corporate, but instead, makes vegan food look and sound fun.
The typeface has a lovely fluidity as the curved lettering seems to flow nicely into one another. It’s aesthetically pleasing, and looks attractive across a range of touchpoints both digital and physical.
This plays into what the brand was trying to achieve – appealing to a wider market. As the logo can be adapted for various platforms, it allows Nurishh to engage as many consumers as possible, making plant-based cheese accessible and inclusive.
Is vegan cheese the way forward?
Or do you need to see it to brie-live it?
Credit to Under Consideration
HumanForest is London’s first free, shared, electronic bike scheme which contributes absolutely zero emissions to the environment.
They are powered by renewable energy and the battery packs can simply be replaced as and when needed. The name ‘HumanForest’ derives from the idea that by cycling one of these e-bikes, humans will in fact become like a forest.
Let’s step back a minute to make sense of this concept as I’m not just thinking about humans with branches coming out of their arms!
Trees work by removing co2 from the atmosphere, thus contributing to a greener planet. If people ride these e-bikes, then we too, become like a forest. Makes perfect sense!
This name personalises the brand and not only effectively communicates the idea behind the brand’s ethos, but it is rather playful too.
It also creates a feeling of togetherness which makes us more motivated to make a positive change. If we can come together and ride these ebikes, whether that’s with friends, family, or our partner, we can be confident that we’re each doing our little bit to help.
I think that concept alone is very powerful.
To build on this sense of community further, HumanForest have created a set of animated characters known as the ‘treenions’. These playful animations are made up of different shaped trees and shrubs which have their own arms and legs.
They are quite literally, a human forest.
The treenions work fantastic across different campaigns and can be seen walking, running, and cycling across the city of London. They’re brimming with personality and whilst simple in design, they show that people can come together to make a real difference.
Credit to Under Consideration
Now this one has to be my favourite. Both the branding, and the concept behind it, are genius.
How do you make real meat without harming any animals?
How do you make meat without harming any plants?
You’d think the answer to both of these questions was simply ‘you can’t’.
However, Netherlands based company Meatable, are here to tell you it’s possible.
They’re busy pioneering a real meat product that is made by taking cells from unharmed cows and pigs and applying some science to it.
This involves replicating the natural process of meat production by mixing fat and muscle cells in equal proportion that turn out like traditional cuts of meat.
Now I’m not 100% clued up on the science behind it, I’ll leave that to the guys at Meatable, but essentially a lab is involved to emulate the natural process of fat and muscle growth.
At the heart of this brand identity is positioning Meatable as the ‘new natural’. As soon as consumers hear that something is grown in a lab, they’re immediately put off. After all, it sounds artificial and unappetising.
Therefore, the ‘new natural’ centers on the idea of letting cows get back to doing what they do best – grazing in a field and eating grass. They shouldn’t be cooped up waiting to be slaughtered, but should be outdoors where they historically belong.
The new Meatable branding brings this concept to life and shows consumers a world where cows are free from factory farming. Using images of cows lying peacefully on the grass and taking a drink from the river, it shows the life that these animals should be having.
‘We started thinking that ‘without the need to kill animals anymore, they could go back into the fields and retire in peace’.
The language they use is also very clever and directly speaks to the consumer. Some examples are:
‘Holy cow! No harm meat.’
‘Clean meat. Clean conscience. Cleaner planet.’
‘At Meatable we love meat. We see it as an essential part of a balanced diet. What we don’t love is industrial farming. It’s bad for the planet.’
This tells consumers that yes, you can still eat meat, but why does it have to be at the expense of animals?
It’s telling consumers that there is an alternative, and that alternative is Meatable.
The branding for MVV Energie certainly has a lot of energy! Established in 1998, the company is one of Germany’s leading operators of energy from waste and biomass plants.
Their previous, corporate looking logo is a thing of the past as with the help of design firm KMS TEAM, they brought their branding back to life and added shape, fluidity, and some much needed colour.
Now this rebrand might not be to everyone’s taste as it’s quite brave. It’s very distant from what existed before, and looks more like a hand drawn, rainbow signature.
But I’m here for it.
I’m tired of seeing energy companies copying each other or sticking to corporate rules.
At least MMV Energie is vibrant, and will spark consumer interest. Maybe people are trying to figure out what the letters mean. Maybe they’re wondering what this strange, multicolour emblem stands for.
Regardless of what they’re thinking, at least they’re thinking about it.
The cogs are turning and they’re engaged.
The new logo also drops the word ‘energie’ which can be seen in the previous design. I don’t really think this adds much and looks clunky. The letters ‘MVV’ are much tighter and work better on multiple platforms.
Across different marketing collateral, they have used the colourful light orbs that make up ‘MVV’ to add some movement. These stretch across the entire width of marketing brochures and add a sense of energy.
There’s no hard and fast rules. The light orbs simply intertwine themselves between different designs and content unapologetically, which emphasises the idea that energy is everywhere.
For me, I love how daring this brand is as it’s not afraid to push the boundaries.
Manufacturing and Sustainability Branding that Empowers Consumers to Act
Branding in the manufacturing and sustainability market is an opportunity for creativity and innovation.
This is your chance to connect with customers on an emotional level and persuade them to make change. Now this change will depend on the nature of your business and what you’re trying to get people to do.
Hopefully, after reading the above blog post and looking at companies who push conventional boundaries, it has sparked some creative ideas for your next branding project.
Remember it’s about making people stop to understand what your brand does and why they should change their deep rooted habits.
People aren’t just going to give up on real cheese at the drop of a hat you know! They need to truly understand the benefits of your offering, so make sure this is clear. Get inside the conscious being of your audience and show them that there is a more sustainable alternative.
If this sounds like a lot to wrap your head round then you need help from the team at Canny.
We know what it takes to connect you with your core audience so what are you waiting for? Get in touch and let’s see how we can help.
If it helps, why not fill out one of our branding-based templates (the rebranding brief template, or the branding brief template). Both are very handy at mapping out your wants/needs, and can help contextualise better than you explaining it, in some cases.