Launched this year, Exo is a new line of protein bars made from cricket flour — slow roasted and milled crickets. Yup, crickets. (They are exceptionally nutritious and are amazing in tacos with a little bit of lime). Each Exo bar contains about 40 crickets and three different flavors are available: Cacao Nut, PB&J, and Cashew Ginger. Created by two nice, young fellows, Exo raised nearly $55,000 in its Kickstarter campaign and hit the market with an identity and packaging designed by New York, NY-based Tag Collective.
There is something exciting about the Exo story that goes beyond crickets. As a branding team that has worked with companies of every size (from mega-corporations to tiny start-ups) we know there is a standard that start-ups are now able to match—specifically in consumer packaged goods. The accessibility of branding teams like ourselves, printers, co-packers and simple e-commerce platforms, is changing the scale at which products can enter the market. Sure, investors help, and it takes a level of know-how / tenacity, but the landscape is becoming friendlier to smaller brands.
The logo is remarkably simple in the right way: exo, all lowercase with the “x” extended to represent cricket antennas. It’s funny how the same concept that was applied to the previous logo of Cricket Wireless, noted this past Monday, turned out so crappy and this one so good. Which proves that concept is all fine and good but execution is what makes you puke in your mouth or not — crickets notwithstanding.
As the head of a branding firm, I could wax poetic about the meaning behind the mark, the inspiration for the color palette, the visual vernacular we formed with the iconography and typography… But when it comes down to it, we are most proud of bringing a new-to-the-world brand to the market in under a year. We built a brand, created copy, designed packaging and developed an e-commerce site — giving Exo all the toolsneeded to roll out three flavors in 10 months.
The bar packaging maintains the simple aesthetic with a nice, big, juicy logo at the top paired with a nutrition-label-like graphic with the product details. This helps the idea of eating crickets feel like a good, nutritious idea. The choice of Base Monospace from Emigre gives it a cool, science-y look that makes it feel like scientists toiled away at these crickets for years. Pairing it with Futura doesn’t seem like the obvious answer but it works quite well. Overall, this is a significantly polished product that gets it right from the start and has all the ingredients in place to make its main ingredient appetizing, attractive, and approachable.