Canadian dog brand Earth Rated has received a holistic overhaul from design agency Layer, encompassing new canine-friendly branding and a range of toys designed for more "stimulating, long-lasting and enjoyable play".
The extensive two-year project saw Layer, led by designer Benjamin Hubert, expand the brand's product portfolio beyond commercially compostable poo bags to include a range of other dog-walk supplies designed with sustainability in mind.
Among them are toys made from natural rubber and new poo bags made from 65 per cent post-consumer recycled plastic, which the brand says will "give a second life to more than five million pounds of landfill-bound plastic every year".
To match the toys, Earth Rated's revamped brand identity was designed to eschew many of the tropes associated with traditional pet products.
Instead, it balances restrained graphics with bold colours including pops of yellow – one of the few hues that are on the visible spectrum for dogs.
"The dog accessories and toy market is a crowded space," Hubert told Dezeen. "There are a lot of products available of mixed quality and usually overly or loudly designed."
"We've focused on creating simple products that achieve a better standard of design, both more beautiful but also more useful and ergonomically beneficial for both pet and person."
Moving away from the brand's cartoonish canine mascot, Earth Rated's new brandmark is rendered in a simple sans serif font with the silhouette of a dog and its wagging tail integrated into the negative spaces of the T and H.
Earth Rated originally launched in 2010 with its flagship poo bags made from polybutylene adipate terephthalate (PBAT) – a biodegradable fossil plastic that the company claims can be broken down in an industrial composter in as little as 45 days, provided that the facility accepts pet waste.
Since this is rarely, if ever, the case in the UK and the US, the company worked with Layer to develop a new poo bag that would have a lower environmental impact while using less virgin plastic.
The newly launched refuse bags are made predominantly from recycled plastic waste, which Hubert says makes them less resource-intensive.
"Over the lifecycle of the bags, this new material choice is the more sustainable," he explained. "They use less energy, and are less reliant on fossil fuels because they're not creating plastic from scratch."
The bags come in a refillable dispenser with a detachable silicone strap, designed to enable easy disassembly and recycling once the product has reached the end of its life.
"The strap is made from silicone but is secured in a way that uses no glues, over-moulds, screws or permanent fixtures," Hubert said. "Both types of plastic are designed to be extremely easy to both assemble in production and separate at end of life."
A similar philosophy was applied to the five dog toys, all made using Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC)-certified natural rubber from Vietnam save for the frisbee, which is made from a recyclable thermoplastic elastomer (TPE).
The toys themselves were designed to "subtly reimagine classic typologies" and include a chew toy with a twisted form designed for paws to grasp, and a ball composed of two intersecting forms to create an unpredictable bounce pattern.
Both the ball and the frisbee are finished in yellow, so they are easy for dogs to see, catch and find in the grass.
"Doggy and people ergonomics were key through the project, as well as design for more stimulating, long-lasting and enjoyable play for both parties," Hubert said.
"We designed from the outset with simple geometries, single materials and simple manufacturing processes. That keeps costs down at scale, but challenged us to think of ways to improve product archetypes without adding extra complexity."