COP26 Glasgow: what does the climate change summit’s logo mean - and who designed it?

The COP26 logo has been appearing more and more in recent weeks as the Glasgow climate change summit approaches - but what does it stand for?

The COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow kicks off on Monday (1 November), with the UK Government hoping to spark major global action on emissions reduction.

The 120 world leaders who are set to attend will be joined by around 30,000 other delegates for a gruelling two weeks of talks and events at the largest COP event since Paris in 2015.

As the conference has picked up more and more headlines over the last few months, you may have noticed its logo on the news.

But who designed it - and what meaning is it trying to convey?

Here’s what you need to know.

Sir David Attenborough pictured with the COP26 logo before the climate change summit was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic (image: Getty Images)

Who designed the COP26 logo?

The COP26 logo was designed by London-based design consultancy Johnson Banks.

Set up in 1992 by British designer Michael Johnson, the firm has been responsible for the visual identities of major companies like Virgin Atlantic, charities such as Shelter and Unicef, and organisations like the British Film Institute (BFI).

On its website, Johnson Banks says it works “with people who want to do big things”.

“Together with our clients, we explore fundamental questions – what they do, how they do it, who do they do it for, and why. Then we find answers they can use.

“We don’t just help brands change. We help them change the world.”

Set up in 1992 by British designer Michael Johnson, Johnson Banks has been responsible for the visual identities of major companies like Virgin Atlantic (image: AFP/Getty Images)

What does the COP26 logo stand for?

The brand Johnson Banks has created for the COP26 climate change conference is titled: ‘The Climate has no Borders’.

Its principle logo depicts a green, blue and white marbled sphere that resembles the earth’s continents and oceans.

The positioning Johnson Banks said they had agreed on with the UK Government was ‘hope with a sense of urgency’ - a mantra that also defines the UK’s approach to the talks.

According to the designers, the logo “illustrates that the climate has no borders, alludes to currents and weather systems – and is intentionally beautiful.

“It deliberately avoids directly using recognisable country shapes and is designed to fascinate people, wake them up and compel them to take urgent action to save our precious planet.”

They said they were determined to give the COP26 conference a “memorable, distinctive and inspiring” identity as efforts for previous editions of COP did not have “particularly strong visual identities”.

An animated version of the logo has been developed by Johnson Banks in collaboration with fellow London creatives The Mill.

These designs will appear in official backdrops, conference literature and are already prominent on the COP26 website.

Johnson Banks said it would be pushing the UK Government Cabinet Office to ensure that all materials used at each COP26 event are as sustainable as possible.

The agency also said it has undertaken its work on the logo on a not-for-profit basis.

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