These Come From Trees Sticker

These Come From Trees Sticker
This is the sticker we're hoping can save a couple hundred thousand trees a year. Amazing how the right message at the right time can make the difference.

Quick Facts about "These Come From Trees"

Saturday, March 17, 2007

We're open source now!

The "These Come From Trees" project has now had its first meaningful open source experience. Witness, our new sticker.

To explain this process, a little story. Not too long ago I was at a speaking event at Citizen Agency in San Francisco, an internet company consultancy with a specialty in community. The event happened to be a speaking workshop, organized by Tara Hunt, and given by Lura Dolas. And though the speaking workshop was great, another really interesting thing I came away with was this discussion I had with Chris Messina, another Citizen Agent, about trademarks versus "community marks."

Chris was one of the founders of "BarCamp," which initially started out as a one-off "un-conference" in which the attendees set the agenda on the first day, and where the attendees are also the presenters, in contrast to the typicaly conference model of a series of single speakers presenting slide decks to large audiences.

Chris and I were talking about how when a trademark is freed, either through a Creative Commons license, which we have on the TCFT slogan, or through being designated a community mark, while the original creator loses some control over it, and as such would have more difficulty capturing part of the value created by their idea for themselves, this downside can often be made up for by a variety of things that can help spread the idea that much faster and make it that much better.

These Come From Trees now has its very own example of this. The original "These Come From Trees" sticker was heavy on research and thought, but admittedly light on graphic design. This is largely because Pete is good at research, good at thinking things through, but not all that great on Adobe Illustrator.

Furthermore, Pete's a big fan of fast prototyping, and iterating a design over time to get better as it interacts with the market. Well, the first instantiation of the "These Come From Trees" sticker worked well enough to prove its value in the pilot test, so we went with it.

Well, the other day, out of the blue, we received this email:

Hi Pete,

I came across your blog the other day, brilliant idea. Really like it.

Coincidentally, it’s a case of right time right place for an idea I’d had too. I’ve recently started a blog called Brand Boggler, and one of the ideas I’ve had is something called “Random Acts of Designess”, where designers do random acts of design for an unsuspecting cause they’d like to help.

More importantly though, I wanted to help you, so have done some work on your sticker for you to improve it’s standout and message – self explanatory really. I hope you don’t think this rude, and if you don’t like what I’ve done then no problem, just ignore it. If you do like it, I can easily send you the artwork or make some amendments, whatever you like really.

You can find out more about me and my blog here:
Hope you like the sticker, and look forward to hearing from you.

Guy Paterson

Guy had gone and re-factored our design. He had take what was an amateur attempt, and recognized the value in it, and put his own talent into making it look at good as it should.

It wasn't yet perfect, for example, Guy's from Australia, so he had changed the part that talks about how much paper can be saved a year into metric! But it certainly was a step up from the previous incarnation. So Guy and I continued to iterate the design he had come up with until it got to the point where it adhered to all the requirements we had come up with for the product.

At this point, we've ordered some new stickers, a small batch of 500 of this new design, to make sure that they look as good in sticker format as they do on the screen.

The big takeaway has been how fortunate we are to have licensed this project with a Creative Commons license, because it has let people all across the world interact more meaningfully with the project, and in this one case, have a big input into where it is going.

Now, with this sort of professional design, it makes it all the more acceptable for a large organization to deploy these all across their bathrooms, copiers, and printers. In fact, one of my tasks this weekend is to craft an email to the head of VMware's facilities department to see about getting together to get an officially sanctioned implementation going at the six or so VMware building locations throughout Palo Alto--servicing some 2000 employees, day in, day out.

Should be fun!


henriette weber andersen said...

Hi Pete -

Cool, Tara and Chris are really people who does a huge effort for the communities...

it's great to hear that you where there.. - I have known chris and tara for about 2 years now - after we met at a conference in Paris..


rock on ! - guy the new design is absolutely gorgeous

James Kingsley said...

agreed! the new design is great. the flip of the leaf really adds a casual and exciting mood to the viewing of it...

Sueblimely said...

I came across an image of your sticker in an article on the SMALL(er) BLOG site, which led me here. Being impressed with the concept and the resulting environmental impact I would be interested in publishing an image on my blog, with a link to your site to promote it. A image of the sticker itself may not be appropriate because of its size (and the wording may confuse).

I would like to suggest you have an image available for copying from your blog, along with the link code necessary, to allow other bloggers/website owners to advertise the stickers.

kristenrwc said...

I love the new design! Guy is a genius. I also love his Brand Boggler idea. Can't wait to get some of new stickers.

murgatroid said...

What's wrong with metric? I'm from Australia too and I'm interested in buying some stickers - but we only ever use metric here, never imperial measurements.

Perhaps you could produce metric versions of the stickers for us users of the metric system? Many younger Aussies have no idea how much a pound is


Sarah said...

Any thought of approaching tissue manufacturers to include the design on their boxes? Frugal housekeepers as well as green ones will be attracted to this little reminder on the top of the box, saves us mothers a lot of futile lectures if it's official (ie in print).

Pete Kazanjy said...

Hi Sara,

It would be great if the manufacturers would do something like that. However, I fear that they really have no incentive to do that.

BUT, there are some companies that are making their products' recycled status part of the value proposition.

Take for example Seventh Generation:

They sell recycled paper towels and toilet paper, and have shelf space at some of the grocery stores near me.

Their products are more costly than traditional paper towels, but some people (and growing) are willing to pay more for "green" products, and that's a great thing.

Jessica Schessler said...

Wow! It's great to know that there are still people out there commiting random acts of kindness! :)

Andrew said...

I saw your sticker (the old one) at a coffee shop in San Francisco, although it has recently been removed for some reason... I thought it was a great idea and just got around to looking you up on the web. I must admit, I really like the old sticker a lot more. This new one seems a bit too commercial or something. Is there any way to order the old ones?

thanks and again, great idea...

India said...

Hi Pete

Love the idea. Here in India this may be very useful. Again printing in local languages will make all the difference.

would love to lead your campaign here in India.

I do have a question bout a blog on ur site..
it dont' load.. says forbiddeen, etc.

I visited the site be4 & it had a huge impact on me.. can you help?

Luv n Light


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