I don’t know if it was Sherwin or if it was William, and quite frankly, it doesn’t matter ’cause they’re six feet underground. What matters is, above ground no genius at Sherwin Williams has spoken up to say, “Hey, maybe this pouring paint over the earth thing isn’t such a good idea in this day and age. Cars might want to drive into our van as we cruise around town showing people we pollute the earth with paint. For the safety of our drivers, I think we should consider a rebrand.” If Mama Nature had a say in this, I’m sure she’d start it off with a good, hard spanking.
It’s a classic case of whisper down the lane. People got Sherwin Williams’ message at first, but 105 years later it’s not even relevant. Their original logo was a chameleon laying on a painter’s pallet, but they replaced it with the “cover the earth” logo in 1905 to appeal to the aspirations of rapidly growing companies. Businesses controlled their transactions. As such, the air was thick with immortality, innovation, dirt, and capitalism. Treating the earth with respect certainly wasn’t considered. So it’s understandable there were different mentalities and perceptions.
However, for ninjas like us, their logo is completely offensive and appalling. Sherwin Williams should take us to heart, ’cause nowadays consumers control transactions. We are much more selective and environmentally conscious in our decision making. So naturally, a logo with paint pouring over the earth can only send the wrong message to today’s audience. Does the red symbolize the murderous effects of paint pollution on ecosystems? Perhaps. Regardless, we want to “color our worlds”, not destroy it. For the sake of the brand, it would be wise for Sherwin Williams to explore other design identities that communicate this message more effectively. Hopefully one of these days they’ll stop getting high off their paint and make a move.
*Many thanks to A.G.D. for sparing a Sherwin Williams’ driver his life, and instead, venting to Straight Twisted so we could write about it.