Visuals are a big deal when it comes to communications in cellular agriculture.
In the early years, articles about “lab grown meat” were either accompanied by appetizing images of animal-derived meat (with no clarification in the text), or graphic illustrations that appealed to our worst fears about the intersection of science and food (imagine steaks with syringes in them or hot dogs in petri dishes).
Both types of images are inaccurate, inappropriate, and most importantly, misleading!
Ultimately, false images do not help the field move forward, and in many cases, may even hold the field back.
Search results for “cellular agriculture” from a stock image database.
Recently, we have seen more images of prototype products from startups.
While these images are much more appealing, they are promotional. There is little transparency about the prototypes that are being shown, such as what they are composed of or how they are made.
These images make sense in some marketing and inspirational contexts but are not ideal in others, especially where neutrality and transparency are critical.
Images of cell ag prototypes that were crowdsourced from companies for my 2021 TED talk: How we could eat real meat without harming animals
In 2015, New Harvest commissioned diagrams from illustrator Nick Counter to create images that were both approachable and appropriate to stir the public’s imagination about cellular agriculture.
The hope was to refocus cellular agriculture around process rather than product; and use illustration to highlight the speculative nature of the manufacturing concepts.
These first diagrams were widely used in the cellular agriculture community and beyond, spurring new versions and informally and inconspicuously inspiring a much-needed visual language for cellular agriculture.
Below are a few New Harvest-inspired images we found in the wild:
Figure 1 from Using Vertebrate Stem and Progenitor Cells for Cellular Agriculture, State-of-the-Art, Challenges, and Future Perspectives in Biomolecules
Figure 1 from “Meet the Meat :The Future of Food” in Esco VacciXcell News
Figure 1 from “The eco-friendly burger: Could cultured meat improve the environmental sustainability of meat products?” in EMBO Reports
As part of our contribution to the recently announced textbook, New Harvest commissioned another set of open source images for the community to use freely in their reports and presentations.
Not only are we sharing the full diagrams, but we are also sharing the individual assets and image components so you can make your own diagrams, too!
A handful of the newly commissioned, openly available isolated diagram assets to be used for your own reports, presentations and diagrams.
Many, many thanks to Richard Carlson and Erin Culley for contributing through support of the textbook project.
And of course, a huge thank you to Nick Counter of Counter Illustration for the incredible science communication work you have done for New Harvest, the cellular agriculture community and beyond.
Go ahead and use these images freely!