Throughout the 20th century Carlsberg’s logo has been carefully modernized based on the idea that it originates from the curvy shapes of an elephant. The story goes that the trunk, tail, tusk and feet of an elephant inspired the legendary Danish artisan Thorvald Bindesbøll in his design of Carlsberg’s logo in 1904.
In search of his own source of inspiration for the Carlsberg Foundation’s new visual identity, our design director and founding partner Bo Linnemann dug into Carlsberg’s historical archives. Bo wanted to find out more about the elephant tale. He found it a bit odd that Bindesbøll could be inspired by an animal when Bindesbøll’s other work from that period was inspired by plants and flowers. His hunch was right, and more evidence pointed toward the hop plant – the main ingredient in beer brewing – being Bindebøll’s main source of inspiration rather than the elephant.
Alongside Bo’s art historical investigations we developed the Carlsberg Foundation’s strategic framework. In close collaboration with the foundation we defined their brand essence, key messaging and the overall vision that drives their work. With the right source of inspiration at hand and a strategic framework, we developed a customized typeface and logo for the Carlsberg Foundation. The design is elegant, yet distinctive, clearly reflecting the craftsmanship as well as the pride and history of the foundation. We have implemented the design on several touch points, including their 171 page annual and their website.