Logo Design Love

For graphic designers and all who love logos.

BP logo gets a makeover

At least 504,000 gallons of oil are leaking into the Gulf of Mexico every day. The latest news is that sadly, BP’s “top kill” plan (to plug the leak with “heavy mud”) has failed.

BP logo oil
Image by 361gradmedien.de

Greenpeace has launched a campaign to redesign the BP logo, and there are around 300 entries uploaded to the Flickr set.

Original BP shield logo (below, designed by Raymond Loewy)
BP shield logo

Amended BP shield
BP shield logo

New BP logo (designed by Landor)
BP logo

Newer BP logo? (From the Greenpeace Flickr set.)
BP oil logo

BP oil logo

“Behind the Logo” mentioned elsewhere

The Greenpeace competition is open in three categories — design professionals & students, a public category, one for under 18s. It runs until 28 June 2010.

Logo Design Love: A Guide to Creating Iconic Brand Identities

39 appreciated comments

  1. Glad that the British part of BP isn’t in the logo. What shame that would bring…

  2. You know, Greenpeace’s ‘competition’ actually really bugs me.

    Obviously the mistakes that BP have made are not forgivable and I’m certainly not questioning the fact that people should be angry at them for those mistakes. However, to start defacing logos is rather hypocritical in my opinion.

    I’m sure that the same people who are entering these contests are also the same people who put a few litres of petrol in their cars on a daily basis. I’m sure that the same people use plastic materials as part of every day life. And I’m also sure that the same people would complain even more if BP were not in existence.

    The whole competition for me just smacks of cheap and tacky. “Hey, let’s ruin the big company’s logo because they did a bad thing. Don’t worry though, you can still use their petrol!”.

    I also feel a bit sad, David, that you’d choose to promote some of the entrants of this competition for the reasons above and because I’ve always thought of Logo Design Love as being an accessible way for people to enjoy *good* logo design and indeed learn more about them. I don’t feel that this competition falls into either of those categories.

    Sorry for the long post, but this competition really does annoy me.

  3. Last week, i did my own version for a new BP logo. I don’t agree with Neil Martin on some points. I do agree that we all end up using oil and plastic, but in my point of view, this is a just a critic about the huge amounts of money that were invested by BP in rebranding itself in 2000. What we are seeing is that a lot of big companies are going green on their logos, design and marketing, while the production process is still the same.

    “Don’t go green, if your are not really green”.

    Here is a link to my post – http://www.claudiomendonca.com/rebranding-bp/

  4. I rather liked this one which appeared on Reddit yesterday; not sure if it made it to the competition though:

    http://www.reddit.com/tb/c9ib3

  5. Peter

    Please stop this idiocy you freaking pathetic miscreants. Why don’t you do something positive, like help in the recovery efforts? Poking fun at BP will do NOTHING to help, only pacify your pathetic craving form some misguided need for attention. How about you run it by one of the family members of the eleven men who died in this tragedy? Anyone who propagates this crap is a hypocritical pathetic worthless idiot.

  6. Someone is going to get hate(rs) mail…. lol

    @Mircea, very clever indeed…

  7. Patrick

    Neil & Peter,

    Just because a person drives a petrol driven car to work every day doesn’t mean he or she cannot have structural criticism (or change company logos to enforce their criticism) regarding the way oil companies have been exploiting the world for the past 170 years. One thing doesn’t exclude the other.

    For instance, I don’t have a car but I do travel about 10,000 miles in airplanes every year. But at the same time I also have strong criticism against the oil companies; because really, is there an alternative energy source for traveling, besides spending weeks on trains or boats or not traveling at all?

    Know our history. The big oil corporations, starting in the early days with the biggest oil crook of all, John D. Rockefeller, have been doing anything they can do exploit every drop of oil for their personal wealth and status – not to create a better world. If the oil companies would have wanted a better world (without the pollution and wars that is) than they would not have ignored or obstructed the paths to cheaper, renewable energy sources, for example the ideas of Henry Ford, who in 1925 already said that alcohol was “the fuel of the future”.

    So if you want to blame somebody for being hypocritical, perhaps you should blame BP (and the other oil tycoons) who want to strengthen the marketing-illusion that they are green and “Beyond Petroleum”. Yeah right.

  8. While the spill is a serious matter, it’s human nature to want to poke fun. And I guess since I’ve always disliked BP’s logo, nothing done to it would bother me.

    The BP disaster is a constant conversation in my house because the man is a geologist. He is totally aware of the seriousness of this problem as history is not on the side of BP. Apparently, there are some wells that just need to play out. For years and years. And this may be one of them.

    So while the subject is serious, this competition might be the only smile we’ll garner from it all. Smile away, I say…

  9. Garrett Casey

    What an immature competition. There is no need to deface a company like this. Keep the politics to the politicians.

  10. The competition is a bit toss and so far looking at the Flickr page there is nothing that impresses me… not to mention its more wanky wanky (bad) illustrations than logo design. For me I’d rather BP (if they did) rebrand as something more along the lines of a abstract turbine (with a nod to the existing petal element) along the lines of MBW’s art deco propeller to show them developing alternatives to fossil fuels. Then again that aint gonna happen, so really it don’t matter a toss. Just hope the engineers/ boffins can get a solution sorted before the whole area is trashed beyond repair.

  11. ACK. Sorry that was supposed to be “BMW’ art deco propeller” (been up all night and wired on caffeine).

  12. Patrick

    Garrett,

    Keep the politics to the politicians? Don’t you think there is a conflict of interest in this huge ecological disaster? The politicians ARE the big oil corporations. And if they are not, they are probably Forever Best Friends who attend eachother’s garden parties every month.

    Real change does not come from politicians. Politicians are just puppets.
    Real change comes from the citizens who disagree or stand up against the leading powers (e.g. Russian and French Revolutions).

    And if changing logos is part of their rising up against those leading powers who make a mess on this planet, then who are we to judge them?

  13. Paul Germana

    That is hilarious! I think this was a terrorist attack from american right wing extremists. These people are clearly fascists, who support the union of church and state. They are calling this Obama’s New Orleans. It’s just too convenient a thing for these right wing extremists. Some one planned and carried out this dastardly attack, to make it blow up in Obama’s face. You’d think they’d learn their lesson by now. Obama is here to stay!

  14. Thanks for your thoughts, everyone.

    The Greenpeace campaign is another way to spread knowledge about what’s happening. For instance, I’d be none the wiser about “tar sands” if it wasn’t for this initiative:

    “The site that BP is planning to invest in will produce about three times the emissions per barrel of oil than you would get from normal crude [and means] cutting a swathe through the Canadian boreal forest, destroying the habitat of many plants and animals, and driving many local wildlife species to extinction.”
    GREENPEACE

    Call it wishful thinking, but I like to believe that negative public opinion can help sway these energy giants towards a focus on renewable sources.

  15. Stripeyhorse.

    Its hard to believe that this mess has been going on so long.
    The best logo has to be the oil spill logo above!

  16. Nate

    C’mon guys, there’s no need to deface BP. I hear they’re workin’ real hard on a “big cork” solution. Besides, that oil will never reach the shore.

    And whatever you do, don’t start screwing around with the Halliburton or TransAtlantic logos since they had absolutely nothing to do with this problem.

  17. Garrett Casey

    Patrick,

    I agree that real change does come from the people. I just think this competition is the wrong way to do it, is anybody really achieving anything with it? I think an actual public protest or something of the like would be more appropriat. I’m a designer, and with that I have an integrity to uphold, and I don’t think that trashing someone else’s logo is the best way to do that

  18. I agree with Neil Martin and Peter,
    Why?
    I myself, together with brave men i was helping to clean this cleaning this:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Vtn2xPlsH4&feature=related
    So, the companies who produce the PET are responsible for this?
    Or is the people who are buying shit packed in PET?
    I used to admire Greenpeace before i started to know them better.
    A tree you recognize after the fruits and a man after his actions.
    Being violent and destructive will not lead to a happy ending.
    Being creative and helping to solve problems, yes there is more like a person who really cares about the world and the people around them.
    The contest is getting attention like a fight between stupid kids.
    We know is wrong, but we let it happened, therefore ladies and gentlemen’s, this is how all started in the first place…
    Using cars with petrol is convenient and easy and cheaper than unite for work together, get creative invent stuff and make it work.
    So people, do not lose yourself s in to arguments, I am sure we are so good at this and we are never going to get somewhere…
    BP will sell and Greenpeace will “fight”.
    So nobody will come up with a good plan and invent a car that does not use petrol, so BP, Shell, Aral, Texaco and the others will get out of business?
    This is my humble opinion and now I leave so you can fight…

  19. BP rebranded to evoke a friendlier and more environmentally conscientious position. Given their safety record of late and the growing catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, it seems more than fair to contradict their marketing message and criticize their behavior with tweaks to their logo. More than a news story or a more press release, these images make strong statements.

  20. BP’s identity was one of the first cases of ‘Greenwash’. Originally the ‘Helios’ symbol has the BP logo above it, but in time it would be removed to leave symbol on it’s own (so I was told by someone who worked on it). They were supposed to be focusing on other forms of energy and moving away from Petrol.

    This hasn’t happened.

    BP has one of the worst environmental, ethical and human rights records of any corporation…anywhere.

    They spent more on their branding than they did on alternative energies.

    As far as I am concerned, they get what they deserve. Brands get away with a lot and this is changing in the modern world with the likes of Facebook and twitter. Look at how much the BP share price has gone down. Is this a new openess that will hold brands to account or is this information subject to interpretation, misinformation and abuse?

    Aa a designer, would you work for BP? Or any company that you had ethical problems with?

  21. Patrick

    “As a designer, would you work for BP? Or any company that you had ethical problems with?”

    This is a question that is often (conveniently) forgotten or ignored by people in the design and marketing industry,if not by the majority of employees all over the world who just want to feed their families and pay the bills.

    Personally, even though I’m not active in the design industry anymore, I would not accept to do any work for BP (or any big oil giant) unless it is directly related to alternative energy and/or cleaning up their mess in the Gulf.

  22. Geoff

    Hey Peter,

    Why don’t you go for a swim in the Gulf of Mexico and then get back to us and let us know if you still support BP and their “clean-up” efforts.

  23. Patrick, neither would I.

    Having worked for a number of large brands and peeping behind the curtains, traveling and seeing how a lot of these brands operate and how they treat ordinary people I find it more and more difficult to seek work from large companies. In this age where there is more and more transparency, where media is everywhere and bad press can have a massive impact on share value (look at BP recently!) I’d like to think that the future looks bright and perhaps companies will take corporate responsibility more seriously.

  24. Missy

    Greenpeace and others who are defacing BP’s logo are not responsible for trashing BP’s brand, or ruining their public image.

    BP does not appear to need any help in that department. They devalued their own brand with their reckless and reprehensible practices, and with their hopeless ineptitude in their efforts to repair the damage.

    Look at BP’s safety record, even before this disaster.

    I hope for the swift and total collapse of BP. No amount of good design or public relations b.s. can improve their image in my book.

  25. If you’re looking for BP logo spoofs, check bpfail.com, which is now oilspillskill.com. If you go to the “SHOP” page, there are t-shirts for sale with a modified BP logo on one, and some other designs on the others.

    The original design is a modified BP logo with “Fail” in place of “BP,” as a spoof off the Fail blog (sibling site to ICanHasCheezeburger.com).

  26. This is simply amazing. I love how the design community can be so involved in the environment as well, and really make an impact. This is definitely getting tweeted.

  27. Siobhan

    I’m really really surprised to see so many replies in defense of the BP logo. Actually *shocked* is more accurate. Creative satire has been a function of design since the dawn of civilization. Is it impotent rage? An irrelevant waste of time? I really don’t think so. The function of a logo is to stand as a mark signifying a brand, short-hand if you will, for all that a company says and does. These days big business spends a fortune cultivating “brand evangelists” through clever PR and marketing initiatives. BP spent a fortune creating a green, “eco-friendly” brand mark, but failed to live up to the promise inherent in that design message. In the world of branding, breaking a promise is the greatest sin because at the end of the day, the meaning behind the brand is owned by the public. Sadly, BP’s catastrophic and criminal incompetence has tarnished their brand reputation. A logical outfall of that is that their logo is being literally tarnished through satirical redesign.

    In a preface to Logo Lounge 2, Rudiger Goetz of Simon & Goetz praised the BP logo redesign (the one now being satirized) as being a “good step toward reducing visual pollution.” With news footage of dead and dying animals covered in crude washing to shore, the memory of 11 dead workers, the loss of thousands of jobs in tourism and fisheries because of the contaminated gulf, the brand is tarnished and polluted already. Designers are simply putting the reality in pictures. The BP logo has no culture capital anymore anyway – and that’s not the designers’ fault, it’s directly in the hands of BP.

    Neil Martin is wrong because Neil Martin thinks logos are about design first, and business second, and culture?… who cares, it’s about design.

    Neil, the function of design is communication – not pretty pictures. Right now, BP is communicating that they care more about corporate profits than they do about people and animals. Designers not only have a RIGHT to express frustration through COMMUNICATION DESIGN, they have an OBLIGATION – to all those who don’t have an opportunity to express how they feel about what’s happening in the gulf.

    And I’m not sorry for this long post.

  28. JEANIE MC

    GO GREEN, not BLACK.

    Don’t ‘hate’ BP. If you are hell bent on blaming someone blame yourself, capitalism and greed. Unless you’re carbon neutral – or living in a mud hut somewhere remote and living off berries, perhaps you should consider that all of us- in one way or another are driving demand as consumers. By creating demand for energy – we are driving these businesses to produce more.

    We all have a choice – and we ALL make mistakes. Yes, the Gulf Spill was a complex accident, caused by an unprecedented combination of failures in human judgement, but perhaps a company such as BP may be viewed as ‘human’ too. It has needs in order to survive and meet demands of society, people rely on it for jobs ( BP, undeniably a giant, is located in Europe, North and South America, Asia, Australia and Africa and employs thousands of people in each country who suffer great loss if the company suffers) That said many OTHER catastrophes go unnoticed… the number of oil companies drilling on/off shore who create ‘mini’ environmental catastrophe’s every day, go mostly un-noticed. ( see Alberta Oilsands). The environment gets compromised over and over again until something BIG happens that effects one coastline – and then we focus the blame on one company that operates at the frontiers of the energy industry and bring it to shame. The shame should lie with all of us. It could have happened to anyone – the point is – it happened.

    What BP ARE doing: According to company almost $185 million have been paid in for individual settlement claims, up to now BP has made almost 52,000 payments on 105,000 claims ( taking in to consideration that many of these claims are opportunistic or false) Each claim needs to be investigated and approved, I am personally quite impressed that the company has addressed this many in the given time frame. They have taken the responsibility of paying out the total cost and compensation for damages to the environment and the effected communities, met the disaster head-on. They have shown – and no doubt will continue to prove their dedication – not just by fulfilling legal obligations – but by assuming a moral responsibility as well, which I believe will be reflected in their future business practices.

    BP as a business has in recent years taken a leadership position on key public issues. The company has taken precautionary action to address climate change with a commitment to reduce its own emissions of carbon dioxide, deliver cleaner fuels in 59 cities in the U.S. and more than 90 cities around the world. Unlike most, BP are improving energy efficiency in its own operations through close performance monitoring , they are developing efficient fuels and lubricants, actively promoting natural gas as a key part of the energy future ( – gas is easily the cleanest burning fossil fuel, as well as being efficient, versatile and abundantly available.) BP are also including a cost of carbon in investment appraisals for all new major projects to allow informed investment in fossil fuels, encouraging development of the technology needed to reduce their carbon footprint, and investing in low-carbon businesses. Since 2005 they have invested over $4.5 billion in Alternative Energy, with their activity focused on advanced bio-fuels, wind business in the US, solar power, and carbon capture and storage. They are a leading example of how ALL businesses within their industry SHOULD be moving forward.

    THE BUSINESS OF ENERGY: What’s different today is that energy has become a complex challenge, with strategic, economic and environmental dimensions. 

Energy security, climate change and the energy needed to support economic development and jobs will keep energy high on the public and political agenda for decades to come. The main ways to meet the world’s future energy challenges are through diversity, by accessing the widest range of energy sources. BP is has become instrumental in bringing out the best ways of finding, producing and distributing energy; and efficiency, by making the most of each unit of energy.

    In a press release today – 15 July 2010 BP Selling out of Oil and going into Biofuels!!!!!! Verenium Corporation (NASDAQ: VRNM) today announced an agreement for BP Biofuels North America to acquire Verenium’s cellulosic biofuels business. This acquisition demonstrates BP’s intent to be a leader in the cellulosic biofuels industry in the U.S. and positions us as one of the few global companies with an integrated end-to-end capability, from R&D through commercialization to distribution and blending,” said Philip New, CEO of BP Biofuels. “Our partnership with Verenium has been very fruitful, enabling the companies to develop a leading cellulosic ethanol technology package, driven forward by the skills and expertise of people from both companies. By acquiring Verenium’s cellulosic biofuels technologies, BP Biofuels should be well placed to accelerate the delivery of low cost, low carbon, sustainable biofuels, at scale.

    IN SUMMARY: Human or not – BP has demonstrated it is aware of their responsibilities to those people whose livelihoods and neighbourhoods have suffered, and they are doing everything in their power to put the damage right, in every way possible. They will pay dearly for what has happened to the environment – and so will their employees and the families who rely on BP to survive. The income they would have invested in renewable energy this year may be thrown back into fixing the damage that has been done in the Gulf while other, small-minded companies continue to plunder the earth for oil with even less consideration for the future of this planet and alternative energy .

    The way forward is to drive all oil and chemical producing businesses to revisit their business models in order to ensure that companies work with contractors in ways that mean risks are fully understood and managed in future, and to make sure that the contractors take ownership of how their rigs and equipment are being operated by individual businesses like BP, to become less energy dependant within our own communities, and to for governments to put pressure ( taxation) on ALL operating oil businesses and rigging partners to assist in the clean-up of our current disaster.

    Hate solves nothing. You can fight capitalism and human greed – or you could just Go Green.

    Any of you wishing to volunteer to help with clean up, go to http://www.deepwaterhorizonresponse.com/go/page/2931/46359/ and select a state affected that you would wish to help in. Additional information on help is also available at: http://www.fox10tv.com/dpp/news/gulf_oil_spill/wala-oil-spill-volunteer-opps-lr

  29. Patrick Eckl

    @ JEANIE MC

    I agree with you to some extent but I must mention these points:

    #1. The BP-logo make-over is not solely created as a expression of ‘hate’. Among the people who created these logos were probably some very angry people, but rather than starting riots or bombing BP gasstations they are exploring the possibilities of their discontent/activism using art, perhaps in this case getting inspiration from pop-art, which, depending on personal preference, could be considered either art or kitsch.

    #2. While $4.2 billion sounds like a lot of money, it is only about 5% of it’s $ 82 billion profit over the past 4 years. (Source: http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/bp-oil-spill-cost-0601). Now 5% investments into alternative energy research is not that much for a company whose slogan is ‘Beyond Petroleum’. In fact, and I quote from that source above: “If you assume BP would have made about as much as it has averaged over the past four years, the cost of the Gulf oil spill so far amounts to just under 5% of BP annual profits.”

    By the way, don’t you think it’s ‘good timing’ that within a week after they have ‘successfully’ put a new cap on the well , BP sends out a press release on it’s green policy change? Looks like a Marketing Propaganda 101 text book case to me.

  30. I have to say, when it comes to the BP logo, all my design sensibilities just float away. I haven’t done a redesign because I have come across so many, I just don’t need to. For the most part, the remakes bring laughter. As a human, I know how important laughter is to our health and well-being; as a New Orleanian I know how imperative that laughter is to our survival. If we stop laughing or having some joy, more of us would die from the stress of one disaster after another. So, let’s redesign that demon logo and laugh.

  31. Byron

    In my professional opinion BP has created such a negative association to their existing image, why try change and tarnish what is already represented as world disaster?

  32. Giles

    There’s no mistake that what happened was nothing other than disastrous but will it really help to rebrand? Could they stick (pardon the pun) with the original and well designed identity and prove that the same brand can redeem itself.

  33. Glenn

    BP adopted its new logo before the Gulf of Mexico disaster so that incident had nothing to do with developing it. The original logo with the shield served well for a long time. Then, all of a sudden it had to be replaced. Why companies just be happy with making a profit from what they were originally founded on (selling good products at reasonable prices) instead abandoning every single principle they ever had for the biggest possible profit? What happened in the Gulf of Mexico might have been avoided if there had been principles adhered to.


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