Graphic of iconic logo species

I got a little frustrated last time doing research for my species timeline infographic because when I googled ‘apples in London’ I got well.. ‘Apples in London’! Some of the brands just have taken over nature it represents. So this gave me the idea to make a graphic about animal and plant species that have made it to icons and write down some of my thoughts about it. 🤔

It’s quite common to choose an element of nature in a brand. It’s often considered a fresh and effective way to communicate the brand message, even if the company itself has nothing to do with nature.. But should it be like this? Here are some of the examples of companies and organisations using nature in their branding.

Apple. There’s a lot of symbolism related to apples and no wonder it has become one of the most known species ever envisioned over history of company branding. Apple has build a whole industry around apple, although their logo is probably only connection to nature..

Shell. The origin of the Shell is related to company’s seashell business more than century ago. Although a controversial business idea, it was very popular with Victorians and the name remained, when company evolved to one of the a largest oil companies. Still controversial.

Twitter. Twitter Bird is inspired by mountain bluebird living in western North-America. It’s a lovely icon and perfect for a company who has built its success on ‘tweets’, but sometimes it’s just better to switch off and go listen the birds in nature instead!

Penguin. Penguin is a book publisher but penguin icon is a classic, loved by many readers around the world. Unlike apple, googling penguin results a modest company ad not overshadowing the real birds company identity was inspired. This is the way to go!

World Wildlife Fund. Probably the best logo use of nature, where all the elements have perfectly come together. The core idea of the logo is to represent the conservation of endangered species and giant panda is a perfect choice to communicate the message across cultures. Love it!

Air Canada. The maple leaf is a symbol of Canada, representing it’s 10 species of maples and it’s obvious why the company has also adopted it for its planes. But, especially in current climate the air transport and nature just do not connect..

Abercombie & Fitch. Seems the existence of the moose brand has no other reason than to be an alternative to Ralph Lauren’s polo pony. However few years ago the company decided to ditch the logos for American market. Maybe others will follow.

Timberland. Timberland brand is for outdoorsy people, therefore the tree seems to suite rather well. However Timberland means land covered with forest suitable or managed for timber.. so in the light of new environmentalism perhaps not the best use of land.

Jaguar. Jaguars represent speed and durance and are beautiful creatures, perfect icon for a luxury car brand. However, it’s another identity that has pushed nature back on internet with the aim to sell more cars we probably don’t need in the world right now.

Tripadvisor. The goggling owl on the Tripadvisor logo is quite suited for the night owls browsing through the hotel and restaurant reviews. The stylised owl is quite known these days and proudly displayed everywhere to attract unsuspecting pray.

Rainforest Alliance. Another great nature logo use for environmental NGO. The frogs are symbols of healthy natural environment and found nearly everywhere on the planet. Promoting sustainability Rainforest Alliance frog jumps out from all responsible products.

Playboy. Well….

The logos in this artwork are redrawn and for illustrative purposes only

Author: Helen

Graphic designer inspired by travel, outdoors and sustainability