Hortus Botanic Guardians

Brand identity


In botany we recognize epiphytes: organisms that grow harmlessly on living plants, without extracting nutrients (unlike parasites). The new brand ‘Hortus Botanic Guardians’ is such an epiphyte. It lives on carrier brands in order to grow together.

The Dutch Association of Botanical Gardens (NVBT) asked us to develop a name, logo and identity for shared activities of the 25 associated gardens in the context of the Year of the Botanical Gardens (2017). The follow-up question was to develop a campaign to raise awareness about the importance of biodiversity conservation and simultaneously draw a new and younger audience to the botanical gardens.

The budget was limited, the ambition big. And contained a paradox as well, since the value of the botanical gardens also lies in their tranquility. Therefore, we reversed the question, from ‘how to take the people to the gardens’ to ‘how to take the gardens to the people’.

At the time a project to unlock the gardens collection was already underway. So we decided to focus on the mission of the botanical gardens: ‘to preserve and protect biodiversity’. And developed the Hortus Botanic Guardians brand, along with Globrands and TheBrandHotel.

For the logo we were inspired by the Fibonacci numbers, which are omnipresent in nature, from the leaf arrangement in plants to the placement of sunflower seeds. We developed a logo that acts as an ingredient brand. It’s easy to apply and does not compete with the brands to which it is connected.

For the visual identity and campaign, we followed the ‘Guardian’ theme. A world of coats of arms and stained glass unfolded, which lead to a colorful and kaleidoscopic, Gilbert & George-esque style, which reflects the symmetry and vulnerable balance of nature.

Joining other brands

By displaying the Hortus Botanic Guardians logo on their products, or even adopt the visual style, organizations show that conserving biodiversity is important to them and they become a Botanic Guardian as well. By doing so, the botanical gardens and their mission are introduced into the brand environment of people who may never have heard of a Hortus. Like a seed it is being distributed. Until it sparks curiosity and comes to life.

^ The first products in Hortus Botanic Guardian style: Frozen Dutch ice cream with surprising Rhubarb-Coconut and Licorice flavors.

Mock-ups of products with Hortus Botanic Guardians logo and design function as a discussion piece. They help encourage businesses to join the campaign and become a Botanic Guardian.


 Joke ’t Hart, NVBT

Hugo van den Bos
Geert Docter (Globrands)
Peter Clercx (TheBrandHotel)

Creative direction
Rogier Bisschop

Tabi Aziri