Inside the Making of the Non-GMO Project Logo

December 4, 2013

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Barry Deutsch, Founder of Deutsch Design Works

Have you ever wondered how the Non-GMO Project Verified seal was developed? As the Non-GMO Project begins its fourth year of tremendous growth both as an organization and in the number of verified products, we thought it would be fun to reflect on the life of our logo and seal artwork. Deutsch Design Works (DDW) was the talented creative company that generously donated their time to generate the now well-known artwork, as well as the Non-GMO Month banner that headlines October festivities every year.  We caught up with DDW’s team—including principal Barry Deutsch—to gain perspective of how the process evolved to become the celebrated butterfly icon used today.

Please describe the history of the relationship between DDW and the Non-GMO Project.

Through our work for the Strauss Family Creamery in 2004, we made contact with the Non-GMO Project at the Natural Products Expo. It was a natural fit as the non-GMO issue was of personal interest to Barry. His passion for nature and the environment had only increased after a recent visit to the Monarch butterfly overwintering site in northern Mexico.

Had you ever worked on a non-profit product label?

­­Much of our mission-driven work has involved Northern California environmental groups, like the Turtle Island Restoration Network, River Otter Ecology Project and Ceres Community Project/Wildbrine Foods. Internationally speaking, we’ve designed the logo for the ProTerra Foundation. Our packaging design work for companies like Annie’s Homegrown has given us the ability to communicate the issues of “organic and sustainability.”

What considerations went into the design process?

We bring a disciplined approach to our passion. Our process starts with strategic thinking and trend analysis regardless of the project.

In this case, we focused on how to tell a story about purity, simplicity and naturalness and applying these qualities to a healthy food environment.

Practical considerations included size and legibility on a busy package, as well as being able to work on any product in the grocery store. The logo had to work in multiple colors as well as one and represent both the Non-GMO Project itself and the seal of “Verification.”

How many seal concepts were developed?

The initial exploration netted about 6 different options all of which incorporated natural elements like trees, leaves or vegetables in different treatments including type and illustration. We explored a range of tones from a “call-to-action” to “natural, feel good” and the more “scientific tone” to reinforce the Project’s credibility.

Some examples of the original concepts that were explored:

Concept design while developing the Non-GMO Project's seal for verification. Concept design while developing the Non-GMO Project's seal for verification. Concept design while developing the Non-GMO Project's seal for verification.
Concept design while developing the Non-GMO Project's seal for verification. Concept design while developing the Non-GMO Project's seal for verification. Concept design while developing the Non-GMO Project's seal for verification.

The final mark is successful because it works on many levels, some of which is subtle. It’s credible, approachable and deeply layered. Starting with a Monarch butterfly perched on a green blade of grass, which is also a check mark and even a ‘V’ for verification. All positioned on a blue-sky background resulting in a powerful blend of eye-catching, positive colors that portrays “a better future.”

The final designs for the verification seal and logo:

Non-GMO Project Verification seal Non-GMO Project logo

How do you feel when you are out shopping and you see the Non-GMO Project Verified label?

Proud! Proud that we were able to contribute to “truth in labeling” and informing consumers though graphic design, which is what we do best. Creating a symbol that’s clear, charming and accessible to everyone is our contribution to healthier food products.

We’ve noticed use of the logo is expanding to products not initially anticipated such as biodegradable bags and a wide range of vitamins and supplements. This illustrates the growth of producer and consumer awareness. To see something we worked on for months sitting on the shelf is incredibly rewarding.

 

More about Deutsch Design WorksAs one of the country’s leading packaging design firms, DDW has been around long enough to know a thing or two about what a client needs—and more importantly, what’s going to make their customers notice, smile, share and buy. Smart brand strategy. Thoughtful design. Amazing relationships. These are powerful ideas woven into the way the staff works. DDW is an expert in strategic branding and sustainable packaging, and the company has a deep passion for making packaging that jumps off the shelves. The result? Award-winning package design that turns heads and boosts sales. Deutsch Design Works

The courtyard at the offices of Deutsch Design Works is noted by employees as one of the most inspiring features of working for the company.

The courtyard at the offices of Deutsch Design Works is noted by employees as one of the most inspiring features of working for the company.