For more than 50 years, the Marcal brand has been synonymous with 100 percent-recycled paper products. Paper made from paper, not from trees.  Today the vision remains the same-to help to conserve resources, protect our environment and keep the air our families breathe cleaner and healthier. Toward that end, Marcal is restaging its Small Steps brand of recycled paper products, with a new positioning that celebrates its unique environmental commitment.

by Jackie Delise

Since 1950, Marcal has been making paper from recycled paper, not from trees. Today the company’s eco-friendly vision remains the same-to help conserve resources and protect our environment. 

Marcal’s Small Steps line debuted in 2009, focusing squarely on the company’s green heritage. The line of 100 percent recycled bath tissue, paper towels, napkins and facial tissue is manufactured without chlorine bleaching and is hypoallergenic and virtually lint free. It’s also made entirely from recycled paper-mostly newspaper, magazines and office paper collected curbside from residential neighborhoods across the United States. 

“It’s these values that let consumers feel good, knowing that they are taking a small, easy step that can help make a big difference and without having to pay a lot more,” says Marcal’s CEO, Tim Spring.

The brand estimates that if each American household were to buy just one roll of Small Steps paper towels and bath tissue, it would help save 1,000,000 trees. Marcal is also committed to sustainable manufacturing, and its products are distributed to grocers and other retailers for home consumption and to distributors for use in hotels, restaurants, hospitals, offices and factories.


Marcal worked with the Zunda Design Group to restage the brand and to create a newly designed logo, brand identity and packaging graphics. Objectives were to celebrate the brand’s unique and sustainable positioning, to redesign the packaging for the full Marcal product line, to reflect an enhanced “green” brand positioning platform and to differentiate the brand versus its mainstream competitors.

“The packaging strategy was to create designs that communicate the brand’s environmentally centric heritage of saving trees by creating products made from premium recycled paper,” explains Marie Zunda, Zunda Design Group.

The new Marcal logo is reduced in size and set in a white typeface. A leaf-shaped background anchors the logo with a visual device that is suggestive of the environment, adding a more natural dimension. The descriptor, “Saving trees since 1950”, complements the logo and reminds consumers of the brand’s commitment to sustainability.

The Small Steps sub-brand creates a platform for the product positioning to more fully resonate with consumers-by purchasing Marcal brand paper products, they’re assured they are doing their part to help the planet. The Small Steps logo is designed in two colors-green to denote nature and brown for earth and the environment.

A green shade tree on the packaging, designed in lieu of a more traditional flag or burst, communicates a consumer call to action to “help us save 1 million trees”. It’s perched atop a graphic lock-up of “100% premium recycled paper”, keeping the green positioning consistent and prominent.

Simplicity is communicated with a color palette primarily composed of a soft yellow and green, depicting a sunrise and a field of yellow flowers, all of which frames the lower portion of the package. “These flowers symbolically represent the “spring renewal” that is consistent with the practice of turning what was once waste paper back into something vibrant and useful,” says Marcal chief marketing officer MJ Jolda.

Visually re-staging the brand, which had traditionally been a price brand in the category, resulted in a brand block of color at retail that adds a more distinct image than the competitive set.

The launch is being supported with a fully integrated plan including a national advertising campaign and strong promotion plan to drive trial. A new web site was also designed to create a hub that communicates brand equity and provides a destination for consumers, media and retailers to find additional ways they can take “small steps” to live a greener lifestyle.

Generations of consumers have chosen the Marcal brand for its quality and durability. They can now feel good knowing they are doing their part, through their purchases, to help save the environment. It is a small, easy step that can help make a big difference for generations to come.

Jacqueline T. DeLise is vice president, new business development, at Zunda Design Group. Reach her at 203.853.9600 or