This is a very old entry — images are small, formatting is off.
Bioplastics are an environmentally friendly alternative to regular ol’ plastics. Made from renewable resources like vegetable oil, corn starch, or pea starch, or corn, tapioca, potatoes, sugar and algae. Some bioplastics are even designed to biodegrade, which basically means you can toss the thing into your backyard (or better yet, your compost) and it will eventually become not the thing it currently is. Bioplastics got a bit of a public boost when Pepsi announced that it would launch a pilot bottle in 2012 made out of “bio-based raw materials, including switch grass, pine bark and corn husks”. Looking to capitalize on the popularity of this growing trend is Cereplast, a California-based company that designs and manufactures proprietary starch-based, sustainable plastics. In January of this year, Cereplast launched a contest to design a new symbol to represent bioplastics. Yup, you know where this is headed.
Cereplast proudly states that they the modeled the contest after the 1970 contest from Container Corporation of America that led to the design of the now ubiquitous recycling symbol designed by student Gary Anderson — now one of the main judges of the Cereplast contest, along with Karim Rashid and Dr. Michael Thielen, Publisher of bioplastics MAGAZINE. The contest attracted 1,500 submissions and 2.8 million (?!) public votes filtered the selection down to 200. You can see these on iizuu (which has one of the worst interfaces I’ve seen in a long time). The winning design was announced on Earth Day Eve, April 21, 2011 at a Cereplast gala event. Student Laura Howard’s work was selected and she won $25,000 — as well as the honor to “irrevocably assign and transfer to Cereplast all right, title and interest in and to the symbol, including but not limited to any and all copyright and trademark rights in the United States and worldwide”.
So, yes, logo contests bad. We know. Let’s move on to the logo itself. (Although wouldn’t $25K come handy right about now?). The idea of the logo is that it will be used on products that are made out of bioplastics so that consumers know what they are buying as well as know whether the product can be composted or just recycled. Cereplast hopes this symbol has the same instant recognition as the recycling symbol. And you know what? I think it might just be possible. Laura’s symbol isn’t perfect — neither is Gary’s recycling logo — but it’s not bad at all. It is very simple with just two elements and it can reduce very well and work in one color on any substrate. The hexagon as flower manages to convey that whatever product you are holding in your hand is the result of a manufacturing process but that, hey, it’s plant friendly! The true success of this logo however relies on public awareness and adoption but for some reason Cereplast is using it as its own logo, at least as seen on press release pages and their favicon, and that’s completely the wrong message. Sure, I understand they want to get the credit, but no one wants to universally adopt a corporate logo (unless it’s Nike or Apple, I guess) so Cereplast needs to set the logo free.