Made Thought creates bold branding for world's first plastic-free supermarket aisle

London studio Made Thought looked to the style of old propaganda posters when designing its identity for the "world's first" plastic-free supermarket aisle.

The aisle, which opened to the public today, is located within an Amsterdam branch of Dutch supermarket chain, Ekoplaza.

Here, over 700 products stocked on the shelves are contained within plastic-free packaging, which – although closely resembling the look, feel and strength of real plastic – is made using natural, 100 per cent biodegradable materials.

Each item features a logo designed by Made Thought, which was brought on board by environmental charity Plastic Planet to create the visual identity and branding for the aisle.

"In taking on this challenging brief, we wanted to look beyond the overused lines about environmentalism and altruism," said Made Thought founding partner Ben Parker.

"The brief was all about fashioning a new way of looking at plastic and its place in modern life. It was about realising an inspiring vision of the future that transcends the limited modes of thought that have gone before."

Inspired by propaganda-style motifs, the black and white emblem uses the words "plastic free" to form the three-dimensional shape of a packaging box, printed in a bold, plain typeface.

The word "free" is then reprinted underneath itself several times to form larger box shapes.

This bold design is intended to help shoppers quickly differentiate the products that are completely free from plastic packaging from those that aren't, while also being simple enough for supermarkets around the world to replicate.

According to A Plastic Planet and Made Thought, the Ekoplaza plastic-free aisle is the first of its kind and represents a significant shift in consumer attitudes.

"Design can never be truly progressive unless it changes behaviour," said Parker. "Plastic Free Aisles offer a vision of the future that consumers can get on board with."

"They demonstrate that going plastic-free does not mean forsaking choice, convenience or quality. Instead, going plastic-free enhances all those things. [They] are the embodiment of design that changes behaviour for the good of the planet we will leave to generations to come."

Ekoplaza plans to roll out the aisle over its 74 branches across the Netherlands by the end of this year, with a second plastic-free aisle set to launch in The Hague in June 2018.

Designers are increasingly focusing their efforts towards finding alternative and eco-friendly alternatives to plastic.

Dutch designers Eric Klarenbeek and Maartje Dros developed a bioplastic made from algae, which they believe could completely replace synthetic plastics over time, while Design Academy Eindhoven graduate Shahar Livne created a clay-like material using discarded plastic.