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Design Agency Profile: Robot Food

7 March 2016
Design Agency Profile: Robot Food
You might well recognise the handiwork of independent brand and packaging design agency, Robot Food. Based in Leeds City Centre, in the hub of creativity buzzing away down in Holbeck’s Urban village, the team of artists, writers and self-proclaimed optimists certainly has a lot to be proud of, and success looks set to continue this year.

Founded in 2009 as the brainchild of Creative Director, Simon Forster, Robot Food works to reposition and develop brands and products, having built an impressive portfolio of high-profile clients including Cadbury’s, Vocation Brewery, and Leeds’ very own Awesome Merchandise. With creativity and personality at the heart of its ethos, Robot Food brings a fresh take to an increasingly demanding marketplace, aiming to add value to its clients, rather than simply fulfilling a need.

Seeing packaging as the link between business and people is the starting point for Robot Food’s work. The team’s proudest moment to date was being appointed by Premier Foods (the owners of brands such as Cadbury’s cake, Homepride and Bisto, to name a few) after a successful creative pitch. It was this win that led to an exciting rebrand project for Mini Rolls, and the creation of Amaze Bites for Cadbury. Those iconic, deep-purple tubs that shout ‘OMG’ from the supermarket shelves? That’s the work of Robot Food, whose fearlessness when it comes to revitalising brands has worked magic with retro-inspired packaging for Bisto Gravy, a colourful new look for porridge manufacturer, Stoats, and even returned to its northern roots with a reinvention of Yorkshire cheese makers, Shepherd’s Purse.

Robot Food - Article

Along with the big names, Robot Food loves to work on projects that have a synergy with its values and spirit. Working with Leeds-based, custom merchandise brand Awesome Merchandise is the perfect example of this: having been trusted with creative freedom on the company’s rebranding, Robot Food created stunning visuals and content that have contributed to Awesome’s sales rising 35% year-on-year since its relaunch.

Another significant achievement for Robot Food was the creation of Vocation Brewery – beer-makers who are now at the forefront of the craft revolution, with beers stocked in Tesco, Byron Burger and Leeds natives such as North Bar and Friends of Ham. This project saw the Robot Food team thinking outside the box, taking inspiration from the complex tasting notes of the beer itself to design intricate illustrations that combine with bold copy to make a unique, recognisable identity.

“We focus on the development of new ideas,” says Simon. “Robot Food is all about uncovering a fresh perspective and working with that to see what we can achieve: we work hard to make ideas simple and brands easy to understand, and at the end of the day, it’s our work that does the talking.”

With an inspired and sociable team, the emphasis on personal expression and having fun outside of work is clearly a key part of Robot Food’s success.

“We have a great team who create a great culture for the agency.” Simon added. “Our central location means that we’re in the mix and enjoy hanging out together – valuing our time and keeping a good work/life balance couldn’t be more important when it comes to creating a good environment for creativity”

Last year, the team started @BeerRunLDS, an initiative aimed at like-minded, local creatives, combining fitness and a mutual love of beer. Meeting in the City on Tuesdays and Thursdays to run, socialise and drink, the scheme provides an opportunity for like-minded people to meet and share ideas. Simon promises that they’ll be starting up again as soon as it’s light enough – so watch this space.

The Robot Food mentality of ideas-driven positivity is adding to what makes Leeds such an inspiring place to be right now. Robot Food exudes a flare flavoured with ambition, and its values go beyond the physical words and pictures that make up the ideas, branding, and designs it produces every day.

By Kate Ryrie
Kate is a Volunteer Writer for Leeds Living covering events such as eat/drink, culture vulture, strictly business and music/dance.
Photography provided by Sodium