Design Council refreshes its Design for Planet logo

Inspired by a design from the Design Council Archives, the logo is a more climate conscious iteration and hopes to better encompass the council’s mission

Two years ago the UK Design Council announced its mission to Design for Planet, a call to action for designers to “make mother nature their key stakeholder” and provide a platform for designers, visionaries, business, communities and government.

Back in February, the Design Council released a renewed brand identity and pledged that part of that work was understanding “climate conscious graphics” and how to incorporate that into their comms, and so the Design for Planet logo has now also had an update.

Previously, the logo was a neon yellow circle but on reflection the council realised that it requires more energy to render digitally than less saturated colours, and it couldn’t be colour-matched for eco-friendly printing. In addition, the colour also had legibility issues for visually impaired audiences.

To help with refreshing the logo, the council brought in Bill Wallsgrove, head of ideas at agency Brandad. Wallsgrove started by looking at the Design Council Archives which are held at the University of Brighton, where he is a visiting lecturer. There he came across a copy of the council’s Design magazine from 1955, which had a cover and feature announcing the new symbol for the soon to open Design Centre in Haymarket.

Design for Planet previous logo

The logo for the centre was made up of an eye and arrow symbol, which was designed by Hans Schleger, who became an integral part of London’s early 1930s avant garde design community and helped spread modernism across Britain. Inspired by Schleger’s process, Wallsgrove suggested recycling this classic design, a move that seemed in keeping with the principles behind Design for Planet.

The Design Council designers then went on to fine tune the archival logo and modernise it. “The semiotics of Schleger’s logo cried Design for Planet to us in three ways,” says Design Council designer Niall O’Connor. “The Arrow, movement, progress, momentum. All things that the design sector needs to turn climate aims into reality; the Eye, humanity, inspection, reflection. It represents that design is a human process; and the Pupil. The centre of our logo shows focus on the matter at hand and an Earth shaped circle highlights this direction of attention perfectly.”

The spirit of the original has been retained but some of its “mid century contexts” have been removed, for instance the arrow now has slightly rounded corners on its points, and three curved edges have been added to the left of the logo to create a softer rendering.

In terms of colour, things have been kept simple but clean. For the centre of the eye, the team have chosen P-139-7 C Green, which is printable in CMYK gamut to avoid printing with extra shots of white or fluorescent inks. “Digitally there is huge scope to play with what we show in that central space, be it snapshots from nature or brilliant examples of designs that are helping planet Earth,” adds O’Connor.

The new logo has been released ahead of the Design for Planet Festival, which will take place at the University of East Anglia, on October 17-18.;