The Tree Council

Sowing the seeds of a new future

The Tree Council was established as a charity in 1973 following the success of Plant a Tree in 73, a national campaign to replant the British countryside after the devastation of Dutch elm disease. Its success led to the creation of an annual event for planting trees called National Tree Week. It has been celebrated in November every year since.

Around the world, planting trees heads up the list of ways to help tackle carbon emissions, but globally many species face extinction as habitats change or disappear – and alarmingly, an increasing number of tree diseases are emerging. Ash Dieback, for example, will claim the lives of millions of our treasured ash trees over the next decade. For these reasons, The Tree Council felt it was the right time to review their brand presentation and underpin the key objectives that, as a charity, it wanted to achieve in the years to come. We were appointed to help it do this.

Initial meetings with the marketing team, CEO, volunteer Tree Wardens and stakeholders armed us with an understanding of the workings and ambitions of the charity. We returned with observations and design concepts that uprooted the charity’s existing brand image. In its place, we introduced a set of refreshed brand values – and a captivating brand identity with a new logo and tagline at its heart.

Whereas previous Tree Council logos were contained in a box or roundel, our new design has the freedom to work in different colours and be used in different ways. It retains the charity’s central focus on a mature tree (in our case, a shape inspired by rowan and beech trees – two British species vital to our landscape), but now cleverly integrates it in the design as part of the letter ‘l’. We also like the fact that the letter ‘i’ suggests a person sitting under the branches.

The new tagline ‘Working Together for the Love of Trees’ perfectly captures the collaboration that runs through the charity and its quest to create partnerships and practical solutions for the benefit of trees. As part of our design process, we also reorganised the charity’s colour palette in an effort to add greater impact to the brand. Our introduction of earthier tones are a tribute to nature, especially the magnificence of trees through the seasons – from vibrant green to burnt orange to deep russet.

The rollout has meant implementing the new brand across a range of communications (with the emphasis on a phased approach to avoid needlessly disposing of existing materials). Over the past eighteen months, we’ve designed new stationery, produced sub-branding for the charity’s Tree Warden programme, helped deliver a new website, supported the charity’s planting programmes during the COVID pandemic and overseen the application of the identity for campaigns such as Orchards for Schools.

The brand process has been a richly rewarding experience for us. We’ve come to appreciate the vital role The Tree Council plays, we’ve learnt so much more about nature and we’ve been part of helping bring people together to achieve amazing things for British trees. That’s a lovely feeling to take into the studio every day.

Work scope

  • Brand identity
  • Logo
  • Tagline
  • Brand guidelines
  • Copywriting
  • Stationery
  • Literature
  • Display banners
  • Advertising
  • Branded apparel
  • Website page template designs
  • E-flyer naming and design

Happy client

“Working with Blackbird Brands has been rewarding and fun. Nick steered us confidently and creatively through our rebrand process, taking on board our priorities, our challenging timeframes and our need to consult with a wide range of stakeholders whilst finding ways to push our thinking further. He is calm under pressure, detail-oriented and takes time to really understand not only your mission but the spirit of your organisation. We are delighted with the results and look forward to continuing our relationship.”

Holly Chetan-Welsh, Head of Comms and Partnerships