For the love of trees

Most designers we talk to love print - books, magazines, posters, you name it. Trouble is, often they love trees too, and our planet seems to be running out of those. There's a conflict there but London studio MARC&ANNA have been working to put things right by designing a series of posters and flyers for The Tree Council, a charity whose aim is to plant and look after trees in communities around Britain. Hats off to the studio for doing it pro bono as well.

Aside from amusing puns on the posters, the clever thing about them is that the back of each piece sports a convincing bark pattern. "Essentially the Tree Council are looking for support to look after trees in various ways, so the idea of handing someone a rolled up poster that looks just like a tree or sapling seemed apt and funny," says studio co-founder Marc Atkinson.

With halftones, a limited colour palette and distressed type, they went for an un-fussy, lo-fi look. "Initially we wanted to silk screen everything but the print run ended up being too large. We still wanted a low key feel to suit the recycled Cyclus Offset paper though, and we didn't want the final materials to feel glossy, or expensive," he adds. "We went for colours that felt natural, complimenting the green of the logo. The copy itself has a bold, no-nonsense tone, so we chose a bold woodcut-looking typeface to reinforce that."

When the studio was founded back in 2005 by Marc Atkinson and Anna Ekelund, they sent an email to The Tree Council offering to work for them. Seven years later, out of the blue, the reply came, and that's how this campaign got started. The charity are pleased with the work, and have been emailing tree-based puns to Marc and Anna ever since.

"We did the whole job pro bono, with The Tree Council paying for print costs only," concludes Atkinson. "We work for a lot of charities as it is something close to our hearts – though most are bigger than this one – and it felt really nice for us to be able to offer something completely free. There was certainly a lot of creative freedom for us so it was a good trade-off. They got something for no money, and we ended up with a nice project and a great working relationship."

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