Greenpeace launches a provocative logo design contest. Not for Greenpeace itself, but for a re-design of the BP logo, formerly viewed as a poster child for environmental design. Part of an ongoing campaign to protest British Petroleum and the Alberta Tar Sands.

In a fairly bold move, environmental activist group Greenpeace has launched a new design contest, inviting designers, oil industry experts and the general public, to redesign British Petroleums‘s logo as part of an ongoing protest against BP‘s extraction of oil from the Alberta Tar Sands in Canada. On the heels of the recent explosion and subsequent sinking of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil rig three weeks ago, as well as the growing oil spill disaster in the Mexican Gulf, Greenpeace seem to be using the current media attention to publicize their cause, as well as grow some interest in the contest.
greenpeace-BP-design-contestThey’ve also launched both a webpage (above) and a section on the Greenpeace Facebook page that details the ideas behind the drive, the goals of their efforts as well as more mundane stuff like terms and conditions.

The contest was launched shortly after Greenpeace climbers scaled a balcony above BP’s London headquarters to hang a giant flag bearing a reworked BP logo. That came after the publication of a full page ad in the UK paper The Guardian announcing the effort. Greenpeace also projected the words “YOUR LOGO HERE” on giant fuel storage tanks in one of the company’s massive oil refineries.

According to the contest website, the initiative will run for six weeks, ending on June 28, 2010, and like most logo design contests, this little pearl features prizes for participants. Besides having their winning logo used in various Greepeace campaigns, winning designers will pick up a day of training on a Greenpeace speedboat, a design masterclass with design agency Airside, or one of 50 goody bags. According to Executive Director of Greenpeace UK, John Sauven, the contest rationale goes something like as follows:

“BP’s famous green logo is there to distract us from what this company really stands for. This company has chosen to extract the last drops of oil from deep sea wells and the tar sands of Canada, instead of developing the clean technologies that can actually help beat climate change. That’s why we’re calling in the experts. We’re hoping that the design community and the public will help us come up with a logo that will actually reflect BP’s obsession with dirty oil.”

The BP logo was designed by leading agency Landor and is featured as a blossoming flower on BP television commercials. Up until now, the design has been lauded by designers as a great example of a logo that reflects environmental responsibility. Alas, that image has come unglued for BP in the last few months, and this snarky little contest certainly can’t help.