What does a sustainable company look like? We don’t mean in terms of ethical practices or company policies or even what your company does but rather from an aesthetic point of view. The visual impact of your branding plays a significant role in how others view your company, so it’s vital that you make the right first impression.

From your logo to your site’s layout and image choices, sustainable brands should create a visual representation that reflects their concerns. Not sure where to start? Take a look at the Natural Foods WooCommerce Theme and then widen your branding considerations with inspiration from these great and green sites.

The Whole Image

If any company has ever made a name for itself through a focus on sustainability, it’s Whole Foods Market, and its website demonstrates just why it’s been so successful. The Whole Foods logo features a seed-like “O” in the word whole that appears to have sprouted leaves, showing the brand’s commitment to healthy, fresh products. Other images on the site feature fresh produce and recipes in progress. Whole Foods Market has long mastered green representation.

Simple and Serene

Another commonality among many green and sustainable brands is the use of serene, nature-based imagery in their logos. In the Art of Living Retreat Center logo, for example, you’ll find swans and a sun that perfectly complement the mountain scenes featured in pictures across the site. The effect is not all that different from the globally recognizable panda featured in the World Wildlife Fund logo. Using an animal in your logo tends to indicate a close bond between your brand and the natural world.

Sustainably Small

One of the simplest ways to signal that your brand is sustainable through your logo is by using the color green – but of course, green alone isn’t enough. OMandala, a Chilean yoga brand, brings a subtle green to its logo, which matches its overall brand concept. The same goes for EcoElectrons, a South African company working on alternative energy solutions.

Plenty of other companies, of course, use green in their branding to different ends. You’ll often find green in the logos of golf-related brands with no sustainable ethos or used by realty-linked brands trying to help their clients achieve that “grass is always greener” lifestyle. They may benefit from a broader reading that implies sustainability, but it isn’t their mission.

In order to differentiate your brand from these not-so-green companies, you may wish to include some additional natural imagery on your site or in your logo. Many sustainable companies choose to include leaves, water droplets, and even arrows, as derived from the recycling symbol, in their logo designs. However, as shown in the examples above, animal imagery can also help signal your commitments, particularly wild animals, as opposed to domestic animals.

At the end of the day, your actions will signal your commitment to sustainability much more powerfully than your logo, but you can’t engage people without appealing to their first impression, which is what makes branding so important.

Fly your sustainability flag high, then, by getting your logo right.