The IP Tree is Felled

International Paper has a new logo to mark its 125th anniversary, and it’s a bit of a curious design. Gone is the incredibly recognizable “tree-P” created by Lester Beall and Richard Rogers in 1960. In its place today is a cryptic, equity-be-damned, design.

The company’s website and press release don’t offer much information, not even who created the design, so we’re left to speculate. Positives include

• the letters I and P, made from eight rounded-off parallelograms;

• a forward-pointing arrow formed from the bowl on the P;

• affinity between some letter forms and the green “leaves” (?); and

• green = trees/environmental consciousness.

At the very top of the “hmmm” list, however, are these notes:

• The green shapes look like Dumpsters (messaging that runs contrary to the company goal of “meeting today's needs for renewable, fiber-based packaging and pulp”;

• The positive and negative spaces may allude to something in the papermaking process, but this is inside knowledge that most people don’t have; and

• The entire logo is shaped somewhat like a four-legged creature.

It’s possible that the new design hearkens back to IP’s 1950–1960 design. It has the same graphic rhythm and interplay of positive and negative space, plus both designs have the same basic shape. There’s even the suggestion of trees in there. As always, time and Twitter will tell.

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