Here's a ridiculous fact I just learned: Printer ink costs twice as much as Chanel N°5. Hold that in the back of your mind for a second.
Now imagine you're a multi-billion dollar fast food chain with more than 36,000 locations worldwide in more than 100 countries. Your golden arched logo is emblazoned on millions upon millions of beverage cups, French fry containers and takeout bags. Don't forget about print advertisements, business cards, corporate marketing collateral, too. Every single one of those items will ultimately get thrown in the trash. That's a lot of ink -- twice as costly as Chanel N°5, remember -- going straight down the drain.
But your logo is a huge part of your brand recognition, so what's the solution? Paris-based creative director Sylvain Boyer has a game-changing idea that's equal parts radical and practical.
He calls it Ecobranding. Without compromising the integrity of the logo, Boyer simply reduces the amount of ink required to print the logo. If implemented, it could help big brands vastly reduce the amount they spend on ink to print their logo -- and it's nicer to the planet to boot because using less ink reduces water consumption.
Boyer has tried this design treatment with several iconic brands such as McDonald's, Apple, Coca-Cola and Nike. All the logos are still recognizable. They're just less wasteful because printing them requires far less ink.
The McDonald's logo, for example. Boyer keeps the outline of the golden arches, but fills them with white space instead of wasteful yellow ink. He estimates this treatment would reduce the amount of ink McDonald's uses by 34.11 percent.
From birth announcements to McDonald's
Boyer is a creative director at Interbrand Paris and spoke to AdWeek about how the project came about.
It started when he designed a full-color birth announcement for his daughter. Then he found out how much it'd cost to print. Way too much. He scaled back the amount of color he used and voilà -- the end result was not only more cost-effective, but more eco-friendly, too.
"When a designer designs a logo for a major brand, this logo will be reproduced millions or billions of times, and all this has an ecological and economical impact," he told AdWeek.
Thinking big beyond the logo
Boyer isn't actually working with McDonald's or the other brands whose logos he re-imagined. These were examples to display the impact his more eco-friendly logo design approach could could have.
Originally Boyer had envisioned launching an agency that'd focus on the "ecological transformation of the brands." He'd help companies strategically and thoughtfully create design assets that would be more cost-effective and eco-friendly. This would entail not only streamlining the logo design, but also recommending typefaces that use less ink. Other ideas include smaller business cards, AdWeek reports.
When Interbrand, the brand consultancy where Boyer works, caught wind of his project, they wanted in. They want to bring Boyer's methodology into their suite of services and have already redesigned a logo for one client that reduced ink usage by 50%.
"Eco-Branding could change the way we design brands in the future and make the world more sustainable," Boyer says on his website.