Established in 1895, the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) is an “independent, non-governmental organisation” created “to unite, represent and serve co-operatives worldwide.” Co-operatives from one hundred countries are members of the ICA and collectively represent one billion individuals worldwide from every kind of co-op including agriculture, banking, consumer, fisheries, health, housing, insurance, and worker co-ops. Around the world, one hundred million people work for a co-operative locally. The ICA is also responsible for managing the .coop top-level domain and controlling who uses it. In early 2013, ICA organized a contest where 30 firms competed to design a new identity for the organization and a new global logo that would unite co-operatives worldwide. The winning solution was designed by London-based Calverts — a “worker co-operative with 12 members” — in collaboration with Buenos Aires-based Sebastián Guerrini.
A visual alignment device for any co-operative business, big or small, anywhere in the world. […] The marque is the outcome of six months’ experimentation and research, including a 22-question, multi language open survey, drawing detailed responses from over 1,000 co-operative activists in 86 countries.
A simple and original design with distinctive personality.
The linked “O”s symbolise working together.
Strong symmetry and reflected shapes.
A series of signature images have also been unveiled as part of the new visual identity. These have been developed by BrandOutLoud, a non-profit branding agency based in The Hague, Netherlands. The images subtly show the new identity’s double-O as the core and shows people connecting.
The cliché (and misconception) of co-ops being hippie havens fueled by feel-good-vibes and disdain for The Man was NOT helped at all by the very same alliance trying to empower its members and illuminate the rest of the world about them — the only thing missing from that rainbow logo with doves flying out of it were a tie dye background and instructions on how to grow rastas. In other words, it was a pretty big fail even if we let it pass because of its good intentions. The new “coop” wordmark — serving both the alliance as an organizational mark and as a shareable mark among members — is a much more succinct and useful piece of identification that should help the ICA and its members establish a clearer and more unified presence. The wordmark is simple, small (only four letters!), and distinctive enough that it does have the potential of becoming a globally recognized logo. The logo itself is good but there is a clunkiness to the “p” that throws it off balance. The rounded terminals of the letters are clearly the result of checking the rounded-stroke-ending in Adobe Illustrator’s stroke palette and while it’s usually a permissible way to achieve this effect, here it looks really pronounced and distracting. Overall, though, the intention of the logo is solid and its simplicity should help its embrace from members (who probably don’t care about the technical nuances/nuisances of rounded terminals).
Thanks to Marnie Thorp for the tip.