Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts


Art and Design

First Advisor

Roger Baer


There has been resurgence in the social significance of sustainability with the recent concerns of global warming, although sustainability is not a new idea. Environmental concerns began on a national level in 1970, but it is again a `hot' topic, and businesses want the appearance of being ecologically friendly. It has become fashionable to be "green" or to give the appearance of being "green."

A visual identity does more than represent a company, product, or service; they trigger emotions, create desires and forge communities. A logo is just one element of a corporate identity system, but it is arguably one of the most important. Successful logos share several qualities: they are distinct, they are decipherable at any size, they have the capacity to be used in color or black and white, they translate well across a broad range of media, and they hold the possibility for animation. Logos communicate a corporation's visual identity on a qualitative level in order to improve the image of the company.

This thesis utilizes studies in Psychology, branding, and explorations of logos-both style and classification-to create a proposal for a standard process when designing "green" corporate identities.

The purpose of this study is to create a process for designers to use when creating visual identities for "green" industries. These identities should be unique and memorable without using clichy images or colors and which communicate the message of the product, service, or company. This study will examine the re-branding process and different methods of classifying trademarks and logos; such as style, material and referential qualities, and motifs. Responsible analysis of present trademarks and logos will show that the most successful marks are those where careful research of the corporate identity was completed.

In most cases, the designer is working with a product that is not a concrete image, such as energy or electricity, or with images that are not aesthetic, such as biowaste. The results will show that to create a distinctive logo designers must look at the processes involved in the production of these commodities.

Fulcrum Bioenergy is a relatively new company (2008), which uses a thermochemical process to convert municipal solid waste (garbage) into cellulosic ethanol that is used in fuel for transportation vehicles. The name of the company, Fulcrum, originated in a brainstorming session, not exactly because of the process the waste goes through to be converted to ethanol, but because they see the biofuel industry as a pivot and their company as the "fulcrum" leveraging new technologies with the social and environmental benefits of using garbage to create ethanol. A fulcrum is something that supplies the capability for action and each step of the thermochemical process is viewed as a fulcrum. The triangular shapes of the symbol within the logo (Figure 1) have a duel meaning: they represent the shape of a fulcrum and reflect transformation (the symbol is an abstract butterfly).


Copyright Owner

Beverly Lynn Krumm



Date Available


File Format


File Size

108 pages