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Common Packaging Logos and Symbols


There are many logos and symbols to be found on packaging. Each of which may communicate a different message to the consumer, some indicate the materials used, others indicate if the product could be harmful and some inform us of standards the product has met. Below are a number of the most common logos and symbols found on packaging.


CE logo
The CE logo stands for Conformité Européenne which is French for ‘European Conformity’. If a product is to be sold within the EU then it must meet certain standards laid down by the EU. Only when these standards have been met can the CE logo be displayed.





The e mark
The e mark is placed on pre-packaged goods to indicate they have met EU rules regarding weight and volume averaging.





The Mobius Loop
The Mobius Loop is used to encourage the recycling of a particular product where the facilities are available. On some occasions, the logo may carry a numerical value inside the loop. This is to indicate the percentage of recycled materials that have been used to produce the product.





Green Dot logo
The Green Dot (which is not always green) or Der Grüne Punkt as it’s known in Germany, is a European based environmental initiative. If a product carries the Green Dot logo, consumers know the manufacturer of the product contributes (financially) to the cost of recovery and recycling of the materials used. The manufacturers pay a license fee for the use of the logo with the fee varying depending on the country, the collection costs, sorting methods, the amount of material and the type of material used in the packaging, such as, paper, plastic, metal, wood and board. Ultimately, the initiative aims to encourages manufacturers to cut down on packaging as this saves them the cost of licence fees.





Tidy man logo
The Tidy Man logo was first introduced in the 1950s by a beer company in America. The aim of the logo was to educate and encourage consumers to dispose of their litter in a sociable manner. By placing it in a bin. Due to the success of the campaign in America, the logo was adopted in this country by an environmental organisation which was part funded by the government. The logo was re-branded with the slogan, ‘Keep Britain Tidy’ and has been running successfully for the past 50 years.





Trademark symbol
Trademarks are used as a distinct way of representing goods or services. A trademark can be a word, a phase, a slogan, a colour, a sound, a gesture, a name, a sign, a logo, a symbol, a form of packaging or a company name. If the item is a trademark then it will usually carry the TM symbol, however, this offers no legal protection. For legal protection the TM would need to be registered.





Registered trademark symbol
For added legal protection some companies will register their trademarks. A small ‘R’ will indicate if the item has been registered.





Resin identification logos
There are many types of thermo plastics used in packaging and to aid with the recovery and sorting of these plastics, most manufacturers use a resin identification logo somewhere on the product’s surface. Sometimes these logos are printed on the labels and other times they are moulded into the surface of the plastics. It is important to point out, these logos do not indicate that the plastic has or can be recycled. They are solely to help with recovery and sorting which can lead onto recycling.





Recyclable aluminum symbol
Aluminium used to package foods and beverages has a high value as scrap metal and can be recycled economically. This logo indicates which material has been used to manufacture the product and encourages the recycling of the material.





Flammable symbol
This is a hazard symbol. It informs the consumer that the substance contained in the packaging will ignite if it comes within contact of a naked flame.





Irritant symbol
This hazard symbol has a dual meaning. If the symbol is displayed with the word ‘harmful’ next to it, then it may cause some health risks if it is inhaled, ingested or if the substance penetrates the skin it. However, if the symbol is displayed with the word ‘irritant’ or the letter ‘i’ then it means the substance may cause inflammation if it repeatedly comes into contact with the skin.





PAO symbol
The ‘Period After Opening’ symbol or ‘PAO’ symbol is found on cosmetic products and informs the consumer of the number of remaining months which the product can be used once opened.





5 a day logo
The government guideline recommends that consumers should aim to eat five portions of fruit or vegetables daily. Products that claim to contribute to this recommended amount may choose to display the logo if they meet the necessary standards.





Fragile symbol
This pictogram is usually displayed if the product contained in the packaging is fragile or likely to break if care isn’t taken.





Corrosive symbol
This is a hazard symbol. Substances that will cause irreversible damage on contact will display the corrosive symbol.





Vegetarian logo
The vegetarian logo promotes meat-free products which are suitable for vegetarians and vegans. There are a number of organisation which monitor and set standards for food manufacturers, hence the variety of vegetarian logos on packaging and on restaurant menus.





Toxic symbol
If a substance is deemed to have a harmful effect on the environment or could endanger human and wild life, then the packaging may carry the hazard symbol for toxicity.





Copyright symbol
The copyright symbol can be attached to published pieces of work to prevent other people from using the work without obtaining permission. As long as the work is original and tangible then it can be copyrighted. Published pieces of work include: music, films, literature, imagery, drama and films.