Bakken & Bæck combine nature and tech in their clean identity for climate start-up Carbo Culture
European tech and design agency Bakken & Bæck have delivered the brand identity and website for climate tech company Carbo Culture. “At the core of Carbo Culture as a business is its patented Carbolysis process and the high-quality biochar it produces,” Creative Copywriter Callum Copley tells us, touching on the innovative carbon removal process that has been developed by the Helsinki-based start-up. “Biochar is incredibly stable, meaning it doesn’t rot or degrade for centuries, unlike biomass, which lasts a matter of weeks or months. As a result, the carbon is trapped for longer and, in the process, it’s prevented from entering the atmosphere as CO2.” In this way, he adds, biochar has the effect of ‘removing carbon’ that would've otherwise contributed to the greenhouse effect, worsening climate change.
Inspired by the unique structure of biochar, Bakken & Bæck delved into this visually, ultimately deciding to zoom in and work with hexagonal shapes. “We used a series of dots to create a double ‘C’ letterform and accompanying grid, reflecting the carbon bonds in the material,” Copley notes. To compliment this, Manrope Medium was chosen as the primary typeface, versatile not only in design, but from a practical point of view. “From engineers to mechanical technicians, everyone in the team is hands-on, working on presentations and visualising data, and therefore we needed a typeface that was available across different platforms and software,” he reveals.
Throughout the accompanying visual language, Bakken & Bæck combined scientific and industrial references with human and nature-focused media. Documentary-style imagery sits alongside and contrasts with more technical elements such as diagrams, 3D renders and data visualisations.
Turning to the colour palette, it was decided to carry through the brand’s existing orange colour due to already established recognition and the fact that the industry tends to opt for greens and blues. Despite this, “we had to be careful when experimenting with this colour,” Copley reveals. “We wanted to avoid connotations of fire or burning, as this could suggest possible inaccuracies around the company’s activities, implying that it produces CO2 – which it does not. The sky blue tone provides a nice contrast to this orange and, from here, we explored ways of expanding on these two colours with new tones, plus additional secondary and tertiary colours.”
They also introduced black as a primary colour, representing carbon, alongside some earthy brown tones to reflect the biomass used at the company. “We iterated on different shades of each colour and the various combinations to find a palette that was balanced, with certain colours being singled out for specific uses, such as highlights in diagrams or as backgrounds for presentations,” Copley concludes.