A Bond-inspired identity for the world’s first AI-powered insect mini-farm

Ascend Studio has branded a Cambridge-based biotech company which hopes to reduce waste in the food production industry.

Ascend Studio has created the branding for Better Origin, the world’s first AI-powered insect mini-farm, which hopes to revolutionise the food industry.

The work includes a logo and wordmark, as well as a new name which seeks to establish the company more closely to a lifestyle brand, instead of resorting to environmental clichés.

Better Origin was founded by Fotis Fotiadis and Miha Pipan as a way to reduce waste in the food production industry. By 2050, it is estimated that global food supply will need to increase 70 per cent to meet demands. At the same time, the industry is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the UK.

Better Origin’s proposed solution is the X1 system, a refashioned shipping container that turns food waste into animal food by introducing fly larvae (maggots) into the mix. It uses AI for this process, as the technology mimics the roles that insects play in the cycle. It also means that farmers don’t have to oversee the entire process.


Simplicity-first

To convey these complex ideas, simplicity was key according to Ascend Studio creative director Paul Croxton.

The London-based studio first worked with the company on the new name. The previous name Entomics was derived from the Latin “entomos” and was too focused on insects, Croxton says.

The updated positioning hopes to establish the brand as “the missing link in a broken food cycle.” Better Origin hints at the disruptive qualities of the brand, and the potential change it could spark within the industry.

The chosen name also hopes to appeal to a wider audience, from farmers to supermarkets and everyday customers.

From there, a circular logo with a dividing horizontal space was created. This builds on the idea of the brand as a new starting point, and is also suggestive of the food production cycle.

Croxton also hopes that the lower semi-circle hints at the process that happens underground too as a nod to the company’s earthier, more “nature-based” work.


A more “palatable” identity

Icons have also been used to make some of these more natural parts of the process more “palatable”. There are pared-back illustrations of chickens, maggots as well as fish skeletons, which can be incorporated onto products and used for messaging.

On the brand’s website, these are used to educate people on the production process, for example. The smooth rounded edges are an attempt to align with the typefaces in use.

For the headline typeface Styrene A from Commercial Type has been used. The bespoke wordmark is designed to complement this and has been inspired by the font. The circular logo has been incorporated into the wordmark as well as other visual assets across the identity.

A monochromatic colour palette has been adopted to create a more James Bond-themed look, in line with car brands and tech companies, Croxton says. A mint green shade has been added for an injection of colour, which is used throughout the application for variety.

Photography has also been implemented thoughtfully and sparingly. On the packaging for food products such as poultry feed and salmon feed, there are close-up, almost-lustrous images of brightly-hued feathers and fish scales.

These are part of creating a more lifestyle feel for the brand, Croxton says. One example of packaging shows how chicken eggs could come with a Better Origin label — showing that they had been produced with the less wasteful production.

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