Contributed by Chris Nutter, communications director at Chermayeff & Geismar.
Since it was founded in 1987, Conservation International has been one of the most influential environmental groups in the world, successfully convincing governments, corporations, and the public at large to help save “hot spots” of threatened biodiversity around the globe, in the process protecting half a billion acres of wilderness. However, with the planet’s extinction rate estimated at 30% to 50% in this century, the group realized that basing their appeal to the world on protecting the environment, as an end in itself, has proven to be not enough.
To confront this reality, Conservation International is fundamentally redefining itself as an organization that protects nature for the well-being of humanity, basing their appeal to save the environment on the idea that humanity needs nature to survive.
With a monumental shift in strategy at hand that augurs for a seismic change in the environmental movement as a whole, Conservation International’s old mark — an illustration of pristine wildlife (see below) — no longer communicated its identity, or its mission. So the group came to Chermayeff & Geismar — which designed iconic logos for organizations such as National Geographic, PBS, and the Smithsonian Institution — to create a symbol that matches its new message.
Old mark (below left) and new (below right)
Principal partner Sagi Haviv’s solution — a blue circle underlined in green — symbolizes our blue planet, emphasized, supported, and sustained. The mark can also be seen as a unique human form. As a result, the new mark works both as a powerful brand signal for Conservation International, and a critical new mission message.
“The new symbol for Conservation International is an instance in logo design where the power is truly embedded in the simplicity. Yet it is expressive enough to help the organization redefine itself, and therefore has the potential to become a true international icon. It was a perfect fit.”— SAGI HAVIV
Conservation International will begin implementing its new identity in Fall of 2010.