Custodians of the planet

Mlinda* is an environmental foundation based in Paris, currently quite small but with big ambitions: to change the way we produce and consume. Their founders, from both art and finance backgrounds, were determined to use their family trust to make a positive impact on the world.

Brand strategy

After multiple meetings and workshops, we and Mlinda co-authored a clear statement of what they aimed to do.

The earth’s resources are being depleted faster than the earth can regenerate them. What we consume and how we produce it is endangering our planet. People either seem to know and not do anything about it, or do not realise what is really happening. The greatest opportunity for change is at two levels: changing consumption by transforming individual behaviour and rethinking production through systemic change in companies and institutions. We have to find ways to alter these patterns of behaviour that are taken for granted, yet are destroying our ability to survive as a species.

Brand identity

We developed an unusual approach to their name that illustrates ‘reduction’: their logotype gradually contracts from a series of repeated characters, down to one – a metaphor for exactly what they hope to achieve as an organisation.
Building on this key property, we developed a growing toolkit of words that could be used both negatively (ie ‘exploit’ or ‘poison’) or positively (‘innovate’ and ‘sustain’).

We’ve developed guidelines to help the organisation do this for themselves in the future. In parallel, they now have an image bank of both positive and negative imagery that can be combined with the words.

This all comes together in their fully responsive website, grabs from which are shown here which also draws on a pictogrammic and illustrative style that follows the approach of the logo.

So far their main projects so far concern rural electrification and transportation projects in India, but a new project has also started in Paris that will create an ethical investment portfolio.

There’s also a plan to give out second-hand books to friends and opinion formers – books that have had a big impact on the team in Paris and the kind of knowledge they’d like to share.

*In case you’re wondering, Mlinda means ‘custodian’ in Swahili, and is pronounced ‘muh-linda’


2015 Brand Impact Awards | Not-for-profit | Shortlisted


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