As the Giant Panda is removed from the endangered species list, creative agency Grey London reimagines WWF’s 55 year old logo to better reflect TODAY’S most at risk species.
Wildlife numbers have plummeted 58% in 40 years and could signal a ‘sixth mass extinction’. As WWF reports cite ‘human activity’, including pollution and climate change, for this decline, could a logo change better shine a spotlight on the most critically endangered animals and help educate people about the major causes of such dramatic population decreases?
The Giant Panda — the subject of WWF’s longstanding and iconic logo — is no longer an endangered species. Instead, it has been downgraded to ‘vulnerable’ after numbers in the wild rose 17% over the past decade. But despite this welcome development, overall wildlife numbers have plummeted 58% in the past 40 years — with ‘human activity’, such as habitat loss, pollution and climate change, to blame. If the trend continues, WWF’s Living Planet assessment suggests numbers could fall even further, reaching two-thirds among vertebrates by just 2020.
“Science has never been clearer in telling us human activities are pushing the planet and its natural systems to the edge” –Marco Lambertini, director general of WWF
Climate change is arguably the biggest single issue threatening ALL of our wildlife today. No matter what conservation efforts achieve, unless we tackle the spectre of climate change, every species is under threat.
This is why creative agency Grey London is proposing a redesign of WWF’s logo — in order to better reflect this modern threat and to educate people on the biggest issue threatening the world’s animal populations today. And what better symbol than the Polar Bear — an animal whose habitat is literally melting away from beneath its feet. Unlike the panda, polar bear numbers are declining, and it is predicted that numbers will plummet by a third in the next 40 years because of melting sea ice caused by climate change. It has become the unwitting poster boy for the phenomenon that could one day wipe entire species out.
Wiktor Skoog, Strategic Design Director at the agency, says “The WWF ‘panda’ logo is one of history’s iconic designs. But with panda numbers recovering and wildlife as a whole under an unprecedented threat, we feel this redesign — as close as stylistically possible to the original — can encourage conversation around climate change and symbolise not just one species, but all of them. It’s something that Matteo [Alabiso, designer] has captured beautifully.
“We know new logos cost money — money which would be better spent on WWF’s many commendable initiatives. This is why we have designed this new logo, which we offer to WWF completely free of charge and inclusive of all rights, usage and intellectual property. If WWF is interested in taking on this new design as its logo, we also offer the organisation an entire corporate identity rebranding, free of charge.”
Since its inception in 1961, WWF has existed under its panda logo, symbolising the organisation’s commitment to protecting the world’s most endangered species. It’s a logo known the world over, and in 1961 was especially fitting: it was based on Chi Chi, a Giant Panda in London Zoo and at the time the only one in the Western world. In September 2016, it was announced that The International Union for Conservation of Nature, which keeps track of threatened species across the world, was downgrading the animal from ‘endangered’ to ‘vulnerable’ — a move which WWF described as putting the iconic species ‘one step further away from extinction’.
The new logo design was conceived and created by Wiktor Skoog, Matteo Alabiso, Andy Lockley, Ollie Dearn and Alberto Conde at Grey London.