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How&How ask to get paid in trees for the rebrand and website build of a tree-planting browser extension.

“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 — a London and Lisbon based branding agency.

“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 How&How’s rebrand of Freetree — a simple browser extension (currently in beta mode) that works alongside 40,000 companies (from Lidl to H&M) to use online purchase ‘activations’ to plant trees. In partnership with 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 was Champ, by Typeverything, chosen for its hugely expressive carved inktraps and bouncy vibe. “It felt positive, fresh and playful” explains Cat.

Although there was budget from the client for this project, How&How asked Freetree to waive their fee and ‘pay them in trees’ instead. The team were thrilled that their creativity and hard work helped to plant 60,000 trees as a result.