A day full of corporate identity at CXI Conference

On Wednesday 8 June, we attended the largest corporate and brand identity conference in Europe: CXI_16 Conference. Which, like the last two editions took place in Bielefield, Germany. This year a new location was chosen, a former train repair station. The conference’s has a unique concept: client and agency stand together on stage. They not only present their project, but also report on their cooperation. With around 600 students and professionals from design agencies to corporate brand managers, the location was packed and ready to get some behind-the-scenes insights.
Opening titles CXI Conference

The six duo presentations provided a rich variety of corporate identity and branding challenges. From ‘how to create a new look for a city?’ (City of Bo­chum × Group Bochum) and ‘how to keep pioneering in a fast changing market?’ (Swisscom × Moving Brands) to ‘how to show the invisible strength of the client?’ (Clariant × Mutabor, GORE-TEX × Why do Birds) and ‘how to develop an identity for ballet and opera house in two cities connected by a river?’ (Deutsche Oper am Rhein × Markwald Neusitzer). To end with ‘how to create a Minimal Viable Brand when building a new company?’ (Flyiin × Think Moto).

Walter White, the main character in Breaking Bad, said “Chemistry is the Science of Change”. This quote used by Barbara Tischhauser Bandli, Brand Manager at Swiss chemicals group Clariant and Sven Ritterhoff of Mutabor reflected not only to their topic, but was something we had seen all day on stage. The chemistry between agency and client when they spoke about their joint project, was really special to see.

These are our key takeaways from CXI Conference:

Stimulating & Engaging.

Each duo presented an unique insight in their collaborative journey while creating a new brand identity. Some were extremely visual, showcasing all projects they have done together. Were other focused more on the process. All speakers were good presenters, the quality of the talks was high, stimulating and engaging.

Stand out!

Two sessions stand out for us: First: The audio branding approach of Why do Birds for GORE-TEX. The taught us to see a brand as a living experience for all the senses. Why do Birds created an audio branding based upon three sound principles: 1. Inside-outside (inside: warm and dry), 2. Soundscape (natural tones), 3. Rhythm (made by walking).

Second: Marco Spies (Think Moto) and Stéphane Pingaud (Flyiin) gave us gave us insight in creating a Minimum Viable Brand, a branding cousin of Minimum Viable Product. It is about starting to build a (disruptive) company, as they are doing at the moment. Spies showed 3 essential steps in creating a MVB:

  1. Brand = Product, to be. Formulate the basic brand values + personas, user journeys and first drafts for a visual language.
  2. Brand = Company, to be. Create the brand personality and design four design approaches.
  3. Apply. Choose an identity, create the service, get investors on board and you are ready to go! The launch of the beta version of Flyiin is planned for summer 2017. We can’t wait.
GORE-TEX audio branding.
Logo proposals for Flyiin. Final design is bottom right.

Impeccable Organisation.

Last but not least, the conference started promptly at 10 am with a short introduction by Karin Schmidt-Friderichs, the moderator of the event. And all presentations flowed smoothly one after the other, with no technical problems. Professor Robert Paulmann (Bielefeld School of Design), together with his students, organized a well curated, in-depth conference, with an exciting concept. A small remark: the conference was almost completely in German. Luckily we understand German, but if you are visiting from abroad next year be aware to know your languages! However when you are interested in, or work in the field of corporate identity / branding CXI is definitely an event to visit. CXI_16 was a great experience and we look forward to the next edition.

Neon-Moire at CXI conference 2016 11 IMG 2241
Neon-Moire at CXI conference keycord
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City of Bo­chum × Group Bochum
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Swisscom × Moving Brands
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Letterpress samples by Letterpresso
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