I first worked with Jason more than a decade ago, and for nearly as long. He was driven and action oriented and we shared an energetic and creatived doer approach to the problems we worked to solve with our clients and the teams we built. When he came to me with his newest venture Anthropogenic, he came with a mission, product vision, and a co-founder as creative and energetic as he was. In walks Will, and by walk I mean joined a video call for us to be introduced (why fly across the country). I knew almost instantly that with the knowledge and passion that was being shared with me that they would be successful, and I wanted to be a part of it.
When discussing our initial design direction, branding, and a general approach to design and teams with Will he off handedly mentioned his idea of a whale for the brand or logo - and those were the first ripples of an idea. The visual stuck with me deep in the back of my mind, but something about it resonated and those ripples became waves.
When researching concepts and diving deeper into the space, I began to literally see whale tails in sankey charts and graphs of data, they were everywhere! I thought there must be something to this, why am I seeing that everywhere? Of course whales, such as the gentle giants of the sea, such a recognizable representation of nature and climate, maybe there was more to it?
One evening when packing up some shelves for a renovation, I found a paperback copy of Melville's classic, "Moby Dick". I began to consider maybe the whale WAS the icon? Is it iconic enough to be the logo mark for Anthropogenic, does it fairly represent what we are trying to achieve? As I thumbed through the book, I began to believe that the whale was the visual representation we needed.
From the perspective of Ishmael, the whale is a representation of the force of nature, which humans have long tried to conquer. The hunt for the whale can be interpreted as man's place in nature, or that we are meant to reign over nature by taming or conquering it instead of living in harmony with it. Ahab and Starbuck saw it as evil or something to be exploited. The symbolism of Moby Dick as the leviathan, a monster that cannot be defeated by man, the indomitable force of nature aligned with the struggles we face as humanity and ultimately the mission of Anthropogenic.
There is more within the pages when you consider the symbolism of the color white. White represents the purity of nature, undisturbed and pure. As we started to explore the ideas for logos, the whale was at the center of our explorations (and an often used slack emoji). What we began to realize was that the symbol, the meaning behind it was larger than a company brand or logo.
How could something this important just be a logo mark? It transcends the face of a company, the white whale was the visual representation of our mission to reach net-zero, or even more importantly net-negative. We chose to reserve the symbol of the whale to represent our ultimate challenge and goal, which is not just Anthropogenic, but for all of humanity.
We dove deeper into how we could visualize how as a species, as a society, we were united and shared in our success or downfall. What was the common ground? We are all inhabitants of a shared home, planet Earth, the "pale blue dot." This shared planet, this shared goal for humanity, that was where our brand must move towards. That was the beginning inspiration for our current logo mark and a tale for another day.