Brilliant Planet’s identity by Wildish & Co. dispels the tired tropes of sustainability branding
Out in the remote desert of Akhfennir, Morocco, Brilliant Planet is making space for a better world. The venture capital and Innovate UK-backed project uses algae to capture and convert CO2 into stable biomass, ultimately resulting in a twofold effect – de-acidifying local seawater while sequestering CO2, thereby removing it permanently from the atmosphere. The company collaborated with London-based creative agency Wildish & Co. to reimagine their voice and identity, and communicate their complex systems through a sharp, fresh tone.
The team at Wildish & Co. had a big task at hand – to capture the essence of the impactful work at the heart of Brilliant Planet, but also to redefine sustainability branding by navigating familiar eco-tropes and the pitfalls of greenwashing. They centred the identity on an animated brand mark, that shifts and morphs to reflect the many processes and stages of algae carbon capture, rooting the symbol in the core function of the company. The dynamic symbol – that transitions from the shape of a circle, a diamond to a cluster of circles – does many things, from hinting at the individual elements that are key to the company’s scientific recipes, to the promising, ‘blooming’ growth of both the algae and Brilliant Planet as an innovative force in the sustainability sector.
The mark is accompanied by editorially-led typography, that marries the pared-back sharpness of Greed Semibold seen in headers, with the utilitarian tonality of Tobias Regular, used across the informative text. “We paired the two typefaces to give the brand a nice balance and grown-up sensibility,” explains Managing Director, Sam Fresco. “Greed provides the strong, bold, impactful chunky headers, whilst Tobias provides the more reserved, quiet feeling through its delicate typeface.” The editorial leanings of the treatment across the visual language are also reflected in the use of capitalised, bold subtitles, followed by dense and serifed blocks of copy.
The colour palette, too, was considered carefully. “We wanted greens and blues that felt plucked from the sea or from the algae ponds, to create a brand that felt rooted in its cause,” adds Fresco. The fact that the team travelled for seven hours to venture deep into the Moroccan desert to shoot a striking suite of photos – seen across the design system – at Brilliant Planet’s algae facility also helped. The team pulled a family of rich tones from this world – from the sweeping vistas of the desert to the vibrant hues of the sea and the algae blooms. Each colour was paired with a pastel counterpart, to allow the system a degree of flexibility and freshness. “The palette was chosen with intentionality at every step, reflecting both Brilliant Planet's ethos and the nature of their work, while also standing out in a sea of generic ‘green’ branding,” adds Fresco.
The photographs shot on site add a cinematic sensibility to the identity, while also allowing the macro and micro details of the Brilliant Planet’s world to coexist seamlessly – from the scientists and workers who fuel the company’s processes, to the vast landscapes and close-ups of algae in water – reflecting the brand’s dual essence that rests on both the raw power of nature and the sophistication of cutting-edge science. This idea of a modular world, with diverse facets, is also mirrored across the identity, capturing the many moving parts that come together to form the whole at Brilliant Planet.