How&How asks to get 'paid in 60,000 trees' for rebranding a tree-planting browser extension

For its playful rebrand and website build of a tree-planting browser extension, creative agency How&How ignored any client budget and asked to be "paid in trees" instead. The work for Freetree, that works with companies as big as Lidl and H&M, resulted in the planting of 60,000 trees.

"Only some people are passionate about climate change, but who doesn't love the appearance and experience of nature?" asks Cat How, founder and creative director of How&How, the branding agency based in London and Lisbon. "We all shop. We all consume. So why not give buyers a fuzzy feeling inside in the knowledge their purchases are leading to more fuzziness outside?"

This was the premise behind its rebrand of Freetree – a simple browser extension (currently in beta mode) that works alongside 40,000 companies to use online purchase 'activations' to plant trees. In partnership with Ecosia – a search engine which plants trees using ad revenue – it turns barren landscapes into lush forests, at no cost to the consumer.

"Freetree hijacks traditional online consumer behaviour, turning guilt-ridden transactional experiences into moments of feel-good fuzziness. By planting trees where they’re needed most, filling open spaces with branches, foliage and undergrowth, Freetree is also making Earth fuzzier too," explains Cat.

Centering around the studio's brand idea of 'unleashing fuzz', the team designed a family of smooth leaves and personified trees, which popped and wobbled under the weight of foliage which grew with each 'click' online. How&How designed an icon which fused the two core elements of the brand – a cursor and a tree, which was then rolled out to make the Freetree website's cursor.

The primary typeface for the identity is Champ, by foundry Typeverything, chosen for its hugely expressive carved inktraps and bouncy vibe. "It felt positive, fresh and playful," adds Cat. The work has now been rolled out across all digital and advertising channels.


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