The Tidyman logo has been around since the 1960s, or so the story goes.
No one has been able to track down exactly who designed it. Now, with the relaunch of the “Keep Britain Tidy” recycling campaign, design aficionados are on the hunt to track down the true origins of the logo.
Skillshare, an online learning community of over 2.5 million students, and Eunomia Research and Consulting, an independent environmental and commercial organization located in the U.K., have teamed up to see if they can solve this cold case.
In the ’60s, the logo was assumed to have been inspired by a U.S. design, potentially in collaboration with Keep America Beautiful and the American Brewers Association. That partnership was partially funded by Budweiser, produced by Anheuser-Busch.
According to previous investigations, Keep America Beautiful wasn’t aware of the logo when it was first used and didn’t keep a record of it anywhere on its website; the American Brewers Association, now the Beer Institute, had no record of any historical uses in its archive. And Budweiser similarly has no record of the logo before the 1970s.
Peter Jones, a consultant with Eunomia, had “no idea it would be this difficult to track down its origins.”
“I would guess at the time the Tidyman was created, no one involved knew just how widespread and long-lasting a logo it would be,” said Jones. “It’s hard to realize the significance of the work you’re doing.”
“We brought this challenge to our users in an attempt to get the community involved with what’s happening in their everyday lives,” said Alyssa Demirjian, Skillshare’s director of content and partnerships.
Skillshare offers over 15,000 classes, most of which are attended by design enthusiasts.
“Uncovering the power of design empowers everyone, even if you’re not a designer by trade,” she said. “This is one of many examples that shows the real world impact that design can have.”
The search kicked off in February, and no major leads have been discovered just yet.
“The image is recognized and understood by everyone,” said Jones. “The designer, whomever they may have been, gave us a logo that has had a longer and more useful life than most, and it would be great if we could recognize them for it.”
“Perhaps there is someone out there who knows more of the story, or who even has some of the original artwork or documents from the project,” he said. “The interest lies in solving the mystery, and being able to give credit where it’s due.”