The World Wide Fund for Nature, known as WWF (it used to be called the World Wildlife Fund and still is in the US and Canada) has a universally recognised logo which remains a potent symbol for the primary focus of the WWF’s work: the conservation, preservation and restoration of natural environments around the world.
“Our iconic logo is at the heart of all our communications and used on every piece of our brand identity,” says Georgie Bridge, WWF-UK’s head of design management. “We strive to ensure that [it] is always applied with respect and in its pure form.”
The original panda logo was designed in 1961 by WWF’s founder chairman, the naturalist and painter Sir Peter Scott and has been redrawn several times in the organisation’s 50 year history, although not since 2000. Design studio ASHA gave the brand a refresh last year in which it introduced a panda stencil, allowing imagery to show through parts of the panda logo that would normally appear black . “The stencil enables the iconic shape to become a lens to help express the breadth of our work,” explains Bridge. “Also, we can use new media and especially the moving image to really bring our work to life and let people see ‘what’s behind the panda’.”
In 2009 British television presenter Chris Packham argued controversially that pandas have “gone down an evolutionary cul-de-sac”, suggesting that the millions of pounds spent preserving the species could be better spent elsewhere. So would the WWF consider changing its logo? “Drop the panda? Absolutely not,” says Bridge. “It’s a superb piece of iconic design and the equity built up over 50 years is irreplaceable,” she maintains. “However, there is undoubtedly a challenge in ensuring that the panda is able to deliver genuine, widespread public understanding of how broad the work of WWF is in the 21st century. That’s what we hope that the brand refresh will help achieve.”