Hello! Don’t we look nice? We’ve been working hard on our glow-up all year, and now we’re ready to show it to the world!
We started off with a tiny marketing team and a few ideas and ended up with the cool website you’re looking at right now, plus the brand new brand video you can watch below. Go on, press play!
The story of our new brand is really the story of how Cobrainer has grown into the group of awesome people we are today. We needed a new look to go with our transformation, something to help us show the grow, if you will. Our company was small but expanding and we realized that our brand identity didn’t quite fit our ambitions anymore. Our motto was also very focused on what we can do but less focused on what is most important to us: people!
The decision to rebrand came as our CMO, Julian, joined the team. One of the first things he had to think about was how ambitious this glow-up needed to be and what our goals were. These kinds of projects don’t just happen on a whim, after all.
<h2 class="c-blog_head" id="Part 1: Creating A Rebrand Out of Thin Air" data-headline="Part 1: Creating A Rebrand Out of Thin Air"><span class="first_id_number"></span>Part 1: Creating A Rebrand Out of Thin Air</h2>
As you’ve just witnessed in our little video, the new Cobrainer brand tells the story of who we are and what we’re about. In order to get to that point, we had to figure all that out ourselves: Who are we? What is our purpose? How do we want to present ourselves to the world?
We started thinking about these questions last year when our marketing team was made up of two (awesome) people and our whole company was made up of less than 50. We were in love with the phrase “true calling” at the time (we still are), and we defined our purpose (the “why”) as: Empower everyone to live their true calling.
Our new brand had to be able to do a few different things. It had to convey this idea that we are helping people to love what they do in life and work, while also showing the harmony between technology and human creativity. Oh, and most importantly: It had to be fun!
With Julian onboard, we talked with our design agency partner, Superside, about all our possibilities. That meant, among tons of other things, deciding what kind of characteristics our brand should have. We wanted to be very simple (not complex), modern (not old school), a bit playful (not too serious), friendly and personable (not authoritative or overly professional), mainstream (for everyone) but play the rebel (breaking the status quo). *Rolls up sleeves*: Brainstorming time!
Have you ever tried to create something out of thin air? It’s not easy. It involves lots of not-so-great ideas, half-good ideas, great ideas that don’t fit, and more than a few crazy ideas thrown into the mix too. Julian likes to think about it like sculpting clay. You start out with all this stuff like a giant blob of clay, and you mold it into shapes, cut off the parts you don’t need, and sculpt your ideas until they begin to take an interesting form. And that’s what we did.
<h2 class="c-blog_head" id="Part 2: The Giant Worm & Other Adventures" data-headline="Part 2: The Giant Worm & Other Adventures"><span class="first_id_number"></span>Part 2: The Giant Worm & Other Adventures</h2>
Before we knew it, our marketing team had doubled in size and we had a set of brand colors, some first concepts for design elements and even the makings of our brand logo. We were on our way!
There were a few concepts that started to take shape which we thought could represent us and what we do. One of them was to use geometric shapes to represent the math and programming that goes into our tech at Cobrainer. These were a plus sign, circle, sidebar, chevron, pixel (square) and asterisk. We use them in a lot of different fun ways—and they helped us realize something else… but more on that later.
The other concept we liked, but hadn’t quite figured out yet, was using a squiggly line to represent all the unique growth paths that people take in their careers and life in general. We also thought it could show the lovely randomness of how humans work in contrast to our technical world. Cool, right? As an idea, totally. As a design—not yet.
We started out with what we affectionately named “the giant worm” (You can see why below). That wasn’t quite right. Especially when it was used as a design element in photos. It looked like it was going to eat people. Not great. We moved on to a smaller, flatter version we liked better. But then we noticed that it looked weird if used the wrong way—like cutting through people. In the end, we settled on “The Line” that you’ll see everywhere in our new brand: A fun, dynamic squiggly that follows us on all our growth adventures.
Speaking of adventures, creating our logo was another one. We wanted to find a design that would convey the “true calling” idea that we started with from the very beginning. It needed to express how inspiring it is to find and follow your own unique purpose in life; to follow your north star. We went through dozens of ideas with that in mind, hoping one of them would stick. It was when we looked at all the brand stuff we had already figured out that we finally found it: the asterisk.
So why the asterisk? It all makes sense now! It represents that north star, for one thing, but it’s deeper than that. It’s also a multiplier, showing us that human potential is endless, and it serves as our reminder that there is always more to people than meets the eye. It also looks like a spark—which is all we need to start something new and exciting together.
<h2 class="c-blog_head" id="Part 3: The Mountains & Finding our Voice" data-headline="Part 3: The Mountains & Finding our Voice"><span class="first_id_number"></span>Part 3: The Mountains & Finding our Voice</h2>
At this point, we’ve pretty much got our rebrand design figured out. All the cool elements are there, our squiggly line is looking good, our colors are bright and energetic—great stuff. At the same time, we were beginning to figure out how we talk as a brand: Our brand voice.
Just as we needed a brand design to determine what we look like, we needed a brand voice to decide what we sound like. We already knew what our personality is: Curious, innovative, optimistic, inclusive, energetic.
So how does that translate into words? We don’t want to nerd-out too much on you (as most people aren’t dying to know about intentional word choice or sentence structure), so to keep a really long answer short: You’re reading it! This is how we sound. We communicate the way we talk, we talk to people at eye-level and we keep things interesting and fun. Ta-da!
Our New "Why"
Our new brand was really coming together at this point, but we still weren’t done. After all, our brand needed to represent all Cobrainers, not just our marketing team. And our company had grown from around 40 to over 70 by this point! We needed to come together and explore who we were as a team to answer that all-important question again: Why do we exist? What is our purpose?
At Cobrainer, when we need to make big decisions or get inspiration, we go to the mountains. So in the spring of 2022, we drove over the Bavarian border to Austria! Surrounded by the Alps, we spent two days in workshops that helped us explore our “why” and define our company values.
This is where it became apparent that our “why” had slightly shifted since we first began our rebranding project. We still believe in the power of living our true callings, but our focus has pivoted to something a bit more tangible and down-to-earth: personal growth. We want to live in a world where everyone has the freedom to grow in life and work; it’s about the journey, the squiggly line. So our purpose as a company should reflect that:
Figuring out this major piece of the puzzle helped us to (re)write our brand story to reflect the things we care about most: People and their awesome potential to grow. Now we’re ready to share that inspiration with you. Let’s get growing!