Swooshed

The Social Enterprise Coalition, in conjunction with Rise, has adopted a new certification mark designed to "raise the profile of social enterprise to key audiences." As this Third Sector article notes, the mark has prompted some criticism, with at least one social entrepreneur observing that "the mark would not be beneficial unless it brought tax or financial advantages."

Of course, there are any number of similar marks that have value for organizations without tax or regulatory privileges. Perhaps most famously, kosher marks certify that foods meet specific religious standards, a function somewhat analogous to that of the social enterprise mark.

My own critique of the mark focuses not so much on its utility as its design. The swoosh is a tired visual cliche--if we're trying to signal that social enterprise stands for disruptive innovation, picking a swoosh is exactly the wrong way to go. Instead, the graphic conveys that we are derivative copycats, blindly mimicking the least creative rhetoric of mass commercial culture.