The simplicity of
The simplicity of
The story of the embryo started in 1996 after I won the pitch for rebranding a beer brand called Ursus. At that time, I was the only employee and designer of the agency, which was founded in 1994 in Cluj-Napoca. By the way, I started studying design in 1990, I finished university in 1996 and, between ’92-’94, I was already working part-time at an advertising agency in Cluj.
Up until that moment, the identity under which I presented myself was a simple “scribble” of the name Branzas Design, with the specification “Brand and Identity Consultants”, using Pantone Orange 021 and Cool Gray 2, colours that we use to this day. In my birth certificate, my last name is actually spelt Brînzaș, which is an adaptation (made by the authorities of that time) of my family name, which has always been written Brânzaș. I kept the letter “a” from the Romanian “â” and deleted the tilde from “ș” to make the name easier to be pronounced by foreigners. “Brand and Identity Consultants” was an idea I later came up with after talking to several British marketers, as I considered that it represents me extremely well.
The idea to outline a visual identity for the agency came after discussing with the management team from Ursus and with other clients, about specific projects with more and more complex requirements. This outlined the focus of the agency, which I later defined in a much simpler way: “Designers and Consultants”. Why in this order? In those days – 1996 to 2000 – the biggest need of the market was design. Companies were more willing to take risks and to invest in marketing. At that time the notion of brand was barely starting to come up in the public discourse.
The design was (rightly) seen as a vector for capturing and retaining consumer attention. During those times, a characteristic of the clients (regarding their attitude towards design) was generated by how they were referring to other competitors. I noticed in many of them a sense of pride in building something bigger and better. The idea of a brand or of a long-term investment even was still not well established in the mentality, budgets or in the management procedures of Romanian companies (they only thought about the present moment or, at most, the next day). Of course, the multinational companies, which were already present in Romania, had a special approach, but there were not many at that time. However, they were visible, and this fact contributed enormously to the way Romanian companies started to approach this domain. Many of them started to learn from these foreign companies.
All these factors led me to choose the tag “Designers and Consultants”, a descriptor as explicit as possible for what I was doing. Not long after, the idea of the embryo was born, and the exploration stage of different concepts didn’t take that long. The embryo is “something” that exists due to the interaction of two parents (in this case, the designer and the client), on the verge of becoming a new life form that will develop over time. At some point it takes shape and it starts to develop characteristics, values and attributes. Reciprocity, care, growth, childhood, maturity were and still are keywords and values in our vision. Brands – in my opinion – have a life which is very similar to that of people.
From those times until today we have kept our embryo and used it consistently together with the colours Orange 021 and Cool Gray 2. Orange for life, creativity – the colour of the sun. Gray, for rigour and statute. Orange – for design, grey – for consultants. The fact that the visual representation of our little embryo looks like the letter ”B” (the initial of the agency’s name) is no coincidence. In the beginning, we used the Square 721 fonts, then the Swiss family. Now we are using Akkurat.
After all, brands are meaningful stories made by people, for people.