You may have noticed that bees have been popping up here and there and the Fox is Black recently. Why? Quite simply: they’re important, not only to our own well-being but for that of the greater Earth too. Unfortunately in recent years their numbers have been dropping and their environments disrupted. Barnes & Webb of London have come up with a wholly creative solution that attempts to mitigate the issue. Their service offers bees right in your backyard and all the delicious honey that comes with doing so. What grabbed my attention was their detail to design, branding, and the arts, as they cleverly combine the three in order to uplift their service and aid the honeybee’s plight.
Apes curamus et nos curant (we look after honey bees and they look after us); the tiny insects are integral to the environment but also economies. In the past 60 years, the number of honeybee colonies has fallen drastically from six million to two-and-a-half million present. According to the US Department of agriculture, one mouth in three benefits from honeybee pollination. That’s huge. How huge? As of June, President Obama launched a task force tasked with protecting the bees, investing $50m into research and action to combat the decline.
Environmental responsibility is becoming a popular public affair and more light is being shed on the honeybee issue. It’s businesses like Barnes & Webb that demonstrate, quite optimistically, how we can tackle these topics with a flair of creativity.
Barnes & Webb install and manage beehives across London, providing raw, local honey and all the pleasures of urban beekeeping without any of the hassle. The concept is more or less as a result of a key insight: you don’t have to have 100 acres to help the honeybee. Every lawn, every yard, and even rooftops can pitch in. When it comes to honeybees, the smallest change can affect the global food supply—so customers can rest assured knowing they’re making a valuable contribution.
The creative approach trickles down into the product itself too. The package design is smart, clean, and minimal, which makes a traditional product feel modern and makes honey and the honeybee stand out on your shelves or kitchen cupboards. Engaging and proactive.
Aside from the packaging, Barnes & Webb work with local talent to further help their brand stand out and place the honeybee on a pedestal. They’ve collaborated with designer Anthony Burrill to produce a one off print and identity, which the brand uses extensively, from posters to advertising. They’ve also seen commercial work be produced on behalf of Olivia Whitworth, an English architect turned illustrator, who adds charm and personality to the company’s image.
The fun doesn’t stop at their packaging or advertising—just last week over 30 artists and illustrators created unique artworks that went on display and were auctioned off to fund the company’s not-for-profit campaign activities. Of the talent featured was Burrill, Edward Monaghan, Jean Julilen, Essy May, Adrian Johnson, Robert Hunter, Jody Barton, Stevie Gee, and more.
Connecting bee lovers and keepers, artists, designers, environmentalists, and the wider public, Barnes & Webb use these events to ultimately raise awareness on the issues faced by the honeybee and other important pollinators. They believe in “combining the creativity, knowledge and passion of individuals and organizations to create initiatives that benefit the bees and our environment. A powerful network for positive change.”
While it’s often easy to get cynical when it comes to environmental affairs, Barnes & Webb’s approach is refreshingly optimistic. Their service demonstrates that the issue can be aided with creativity and design.
Whether we like it or not we have a duty towards the planet, as recent years have seen us leave a negative impact. What many forget is that we therefore have the power to incur the inverse and work towards responsibly inhabiting what we’ve come to know as home. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, right? I believe Barnes & Webb are on the forefront of this positive change, their approach will serve to hopefully inspire others.