Nobell Foods has spent the last six years developing technology to help it create a plant-based cheese alternative, with all of the flavour and textural characteristics of the animal version. Nobell’s use of science and technology to create enjoyment on a human level has inspired its new brand identity and online platform, which fuse digital and hand-made touches to delightful effect.
Creative director Giselle Guerrero was approached to work on the identity, which draws on joyfully chaotic imagery and 8-bit graphics akin to computer games.
At the heart of the new branding is a cartoon mascot drawn in the shape of a pizza slice, complemented by a suite of illustrations by Graeme Berglund that “play with people’s obsessions with pizza and cheese”, explains Nobell’s VP of marketing, Garett Awad. The idea was to create a brand “driven by levity and humour in a time when everything seems to be increasingly negative,” he adds.
Nobell enlisted the developers at Jetskis to bring it all to life with a vibrant website design filled to the brim with animations, stickers, and ticker tapes. The idea was to avoid creating an easily forgettable website that’s been optimised to within an inch of its life, and instead cause “a little bit of friction and a whole lot of fun,” says Awad.
This takes the form of features like sideways scrolling, or a careers page that plays out like an animated comic strip. “We wanted to really try to bring the fun culture we have at Nobell in full view,” explains Awad. “While we are super serious and have some of the smartest people in the world that work here, we also have a ton of fun with zero pretence.”
For the brand team, it was important that these retro digital graphics sit alongside hand-drawn elements to reflect the idea that “you can never remove the human hand from the act of making food,” says Awad.
“It’s how we pour emotion into what we eat, and our fumbling fingers are often the source of the human error that leads to cuisine-altering discoveries. So when we work with designers or artists, we need that hand present, in all its perfect imperfection.”
The visual identity and, in particular, the brand photography were designed to “represent the beautiful compendium of cultures” with links to cheese, he adds. “We wanted to create a brand that celebrated all people, from all parts of the world, because cheese is a universal ingredient that doesn’t belong to any one culture.”
Nobell’s new identity builds on the growing trend for vegan brands to lean into their humorous side. In doing so, it injects some character into a category that can easily feel too serious on the one hand, or too intentionally irreverent on the other.