A new Instagram account, TrueColors.official, is filled with logos of famous brands, including adidas, Starbucks, Under Armour, Microsoft and Netflix. These versions, however, look a bit pale.
Completely devoid of color, the marks appear in white and varying shades of gray. Some almost disappear into their backgrounds entirely. The point? “What if brand logos were as white as their leadership?” reads the account description.
"True Colors" is a side project from a pair of Goodby Silverstein & Partners creatives, Copywriter Trevor Joplin and Art Director Eleanor Rask. On the account, they've already featured 21 whitewashed brand logos, accompanied by the percentage of white leaders who make up each brand's corporate board. The higher the percentage of white corporate leaders, the more the symbols fade into obscurity.
Joplin and Rask debuted the project last week, and the account already has 2,342 followers. The pair have a running list of others to tackle, including those submitted by followers.
Since the death of George Floyd, companies have been called out for the lack of diversity of their employees and corporate boards. Many have made pledges to do better but, as it stands, the overwhelming majority of business leaders are white. Joplin explains that the project is a call-to-action for brands to take concrete steps when it comes to acting on their support for racial justice and diversity claims.
“Over the last few months, the biggest brands in the world have all of a sudden started to take a stand against racism," he says. "But honestly, we kind of called bullshit on that because we know that the overwhelming majority of executives at these companies are white. We felt like somebody needed to do something to hold these companies over the fire, so we decided to simply ‘white-out’ the things these companies seem to care about the most—their logos. By creating True Colors, we are forcing companies to take a look in the mirror.”
To create the images, the two start by converting all logos to pure black, and then apply the percentage of white people in power as the opacity for a white overlay. For example, since Amazon’s leadership is 87 percent white, the opacity of its logo’s white overlay is 87 percent.
Out of all posts so far, adidas is the closest to vanishing altogether for having a corporate board that is 100 percent white. Netflix and Lululemon logos are nearing depletion since 94 percent of people making the decisions at the companies are white.
The account also highlights companies with more diverse leadership so other brands can take note, Joplin says. On the other side of the spectrum, Uber, with 50 percent white leadership, is seen in a shade of gray, similar to its rival, Lyft, which has 55 percent white leadership.
Every bleached image stands out against a rainbow background for contrast. Each post also includes a link to each company’s corporate makeup.
“All of the data we’re pulling is public information, stuff that anybody can Google,” says Joplin. “These big brands are posting their own photos on their own websites, and they somehow don’t see anything wrong with the blatant display of whiteness.”