As designers, we know that inspiration is all around us. We also know that sometimes you have to dig a little (or a lot) to find the tiny kernels that you want to keep!
When the three of us first began to talk about partnering and creating a new company, the goal was simple: to increase our flexibility and offer more services to our (awesome) client base. Of course one of the first questions to arise was “What do we call ourselves?!” Naming can be really difficult, especially in the current marketing environment that leans toward overstimulation. How do you find the perfect name to represent everything you want to be as a company?
In the end, Annatto was born. But why? And how?
Our naming process starts simply – lots and lots of word lists. Stream of consciousness lists, design related or not, sometimes nonsensical… any word that pops into our heads is fair game. In addition to pulling from personal knowledge, we also check Latin word roots, foreign languages, popular phrases, thesaurus suggestions, and so on. When our brains feel numb, we walk away. And maybe pour a drink.
There was a lot of crossing off and narrowing down, laughing and head-scratching, but eventually, the potentials are narrowed down to a shortlist. More research follows – similar spellings, market comparisons, and focus groups are involved. With each possibility, we start to think about the overall feel and how it might look, constantly re-evaluating to make sure that it follows the brand personality that we are working towards.
At some point in our research, we began to read up on the origin of color (because let’s be honest, color is fun). This led us to an interesting article about a library that houses physical samples of some of the world’s most rare color pigments. Colors come from so many different things – plants, bugs, mummies (seriously) and more. It opened up a wide range of subjects to explore, and we dove in. As you know, we eventually settled on Annatto, a red-orange color pigment derived from a plant and used for many purposes throughout history and now.
So now what? You’ve got one word. How does one word become your brand? The answer is found in a combination of details—some big, but most small—that come together to create the big picture. Obviously, as designers, color comes into our work in countless forms. But what about beyond that? How does it translate into other areas of our brand? Do you just make everything orange? Of course not! Branding is never that simple, nor should it be. While you will see shades of oranges throughout our branding, the literal definition is not the basis of our brand. You’ll see allusions to color in our text, our process, and our business practices. Not just a color that you can pick from a crayon box, but color as a building block, as an emotion and a personality. As a distinction and a compass guiding us to those important qualities that make each project and client unique.
We are colorfully creative. In ways that you can see with your eyes, and ways that you cannot. That is our work. That is us. That is Annatto.