Responses by Max Ottingon, cofounder, Ragged Edge.
Background: The calorie is an outdated way to evaluate food, and we’re misled by the idea that what works for one will work for us all. But while the market capitalizes on pseudoscience, nutrition service ZOE delivers personalized facts, showing members how to eat based on their unique biology. In doing so, it has pioneered the world’s largest nutrition science study: an advancement in understanding that will benefit everybody and every body. To realize this bold change, ZOE needed a brand that would cut through the pseudoscience and overclaims, feeding progress through personalization.
Design thinking: At the heart of the identity fits a single idea: progress through personalization, a direct contrast to the one-size-fits-all quick fixes of the category. It’s encapsulated in the negative space that flows through the Z of the logotype and in the data visualization style and tone of voice grounded in personalized science. The identity’s specific precision is balanced by an all-enveloping warmth, exaggerated by the art direction, the bold use of yellow and a joyful unboxing experience.
Challenges: This is a product heavily rooted in science and data. The challenge was to communicate that in a way that felt warm, inviting and accessible. If we went too far toward the science, we’d risk pushing people away. If we went too far toward making it feel accessible and straightforward, we’d lose what makes ZOE unique.
Favorite details: It would have been easy to fall into direct-to-consumer conventions and end up with a brand that looked nice but blended in. So, we’re proud to have created something that feels highly distinctive in its own right without compromising the integrity of the product. It feels simultaneously scientific and empathetic—an unusual combination.
New lessons: ZOE is the most scientifically advanced nutrition program in the world. To communicate that, we first needed to understand it. That was a steep learning curve—particularly when it came to the copy, where every word had to stand up to rigorous scrutiny.
Specific project demands: What ZOE offers is incredible but isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. So, we needed to communicate its nuances and at-home test in a simple and easy way. That design challenge sat right at the heart of the project.