Cactos’ identity system references upcycling of Tesla batteries

Evolved from the design of Cactos’ energy storage system, Hasan & partners has created a hexagonal graphic device to reference the form of the product.

Finnish design studio Hasan & partners has redesigned the visual identity for Cactos, a smart energy system built from used and upcycled Tesla batteries.

The company uses the second-hand EV batteries – that would otherwise end up in landfill – to create cost-efficient electricity storage systems, which aim to help stabilise national electricity grids. Claimed benefits include lower electricity bills for properties and businesses, as it charges when energy is cheap and discharges energy during the most expensive hours, and the fact that it can store electricity from solar panels and wind turbines to be used on cloudy or windless days.

The system can also act as a back-up power source, using AI and machine learning to monitor live and historic data so it can anticipate when outages might occur.

Using Cactos’ innovative tech as a starting point, Hasan & partners looked to renew its old identity and make better use of graphic assets such as the hexagon shape, which references the energy cell storage unit design. The overall goal was to “make Cactos more well known in its sector” and clearly communicate its benefits to customers in a simpler way, says the studio’s design director Chris Bolton.

Avoiding techy tropes was a priority for the studio. Bolton says the identity “utilises strong tonality in its communication” and seeks to present the product offering in “a straightforward manner”, without communicating “every feature or benefit of the product and innovation”.

Hasan & partners embedded the hexagon shape into the letter o of the wordmark, putting the product design at the forefront of the identity. The hexagonal o is also “at the core” of the identity as a standalone icon, on everything from signage to billboards, according to Bolton.

In a bid to bring “flexibility” to the visuals, Bolton says the design team incorporated “a strong typographic grid”, referencing the idea of energy and electricity grids that are” linked to the Cactos energy cells”.

The studio opted for Lateral by Schick/Toikka foundry for the primary typeface. Bolton says it was chosen for its “adaptability as a variable font”, which is a subtle nod to the fact that Cactos cells are “adaptable and customisable”. He describes it as “somewhat retro” as it bears similarities to “technical Eurostyle typography”. The logotype is an adapted version of Lateral, with redrawn elements that aim to make the wordmark “more ownable” Bolton adds.

SCTO Grotesk was chosen as a “neutral typeface” for small descriptions and IBM Plex as a “finer technical typeface within the identity system”, says Bolton.

Tasked with evolving the colour palette from the previous identity, Bolton explains how Hasan & partners swapped the “muted dull green tone” for a pairing of a darker “Earthed Green” and a bright “Electric Green”. The new shades were chosen to convey the idea of clean electricity and energy, which Bolton says is “an overarching theme within the identity concept”.

As well as “essential identity asset”, Bolton adds that the studio also helped with redeveloping the website and product imagery “to bring a clearer understanding of the cell units and suggested end use”.

“The most challenging aspect was to maintain an ease of use and adaptability for Cactos’ small internal resources”, says Bolton. “As a growing small business with large ambitions, we had to maintain some restraint in our deliverables and asset creation so that they remained useful and serviceable in their everyday business activities”.

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