For many people, being inspired by nature is to create/realize something that looks like nature.
For example, it is using the visual forms or reference of something very iconic in nature for its symbolism to create emotions and relate to a concept.
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– Using the green color in a logo to make people think about ecology, sustainability, and nature.
Mac Donald changed its logo’s background in Europe from red to green in 2009 to evolve from the “Bad food” image. It worked well, and now, people have better thinking about McDonald’s food even if nothing changed.
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Another method is using nature-inspired shapes to relate to nature and push notions of sustainability of customers heads:
The silicon-made plates from Nao Tanura, are soft and can be rolled. They are semi-transparent and are taking their iconic shape from the leaf.
They look fantastic, poetic & industrial but are not an ecological way of mimicking the Bamboo leaves plates primarily used in Asia.
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The honey packaging was inspired by the honey cells for the beehive to allow customers to cut and use portions. Here the Famous hexagonal honeycomb structure is used as a visual reference, not because of its unique structural properties.
The sculptural perfume bottles by Igor Mitin showcase an expert level of detail and realism while invoking the calming beauty of nature.
In all the examples above, the ecological feel is created by referring to nature through iconic colors and shapes. But are they solving a structural, technical, biological problem of any kind? The reasons behind the shapes and colors do not even look after; the goal is to create an emotion into the customer’s brain (like a good memory, ecological values) to lead to the purchase decision.
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There is also a big trend nowadays about “greenwashing,” where big companies claim to make efforts for the environment, like recycling a part, using recycled material, giving some funds for some organization. Even if it is generally true, it most of the time does not even cover more than a few percent of the waste created or resource necessary for the existence of their product. The goal of this “greenwashing” is to make people believe that the brand is going green. (like McDonald’s and its green background).
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But being inspired by nature can be a game-changer.
Let’s explore how nature is helping humans to be more efficient and respectful by looking at some projects inspired by nature in the next chapter of Biomimicry and Design.
To be continued.
Thomas DAL, Dean, Strate School of Design