1. August 19, 2014

    Here’s a sneak peek at our 450 North can designs. These bad boys made it through TTB approval and should be out in the wild later this year. 

  2. August 15, 2014

    After designing their salmon share box, we tackled Sitka Salmon Shares' broader seafood box. Building on our ongoing branding work, this badboy more clearly highlights Sitka, AK and includes a fun seafood pattern of some of the species you can expect throughout the season. 

  3. August 11, 2014

    We’re proud to share our branding work for Union 50

    This new bar is just north of Mass Ave, on East Street, and has one of the coolest interiors in town. From the outside, the building is somewhat nondescript, but stepping inside reveals an expansive, amazingly-designed space, thanks to the cool folks at Phanomen Design.

    In addition to a great menu and cocktail list, Union 50 transforms into a small concert venue later in the evening and has become one of our favorite places to wind down after a long night.

  4. August 3, 2014

    We wrote another branding article for Craft Brewing Business. This one’s about about when a craft brewery should rebrand and how it should go about doing so. Check it out on their site or read it below if you don’t feel like clicking the link.


    This piece is aimed at established breweries. Whether you’ve been brewing for five years, or for 25, rebranding can be an important step to reflecting positive changes and growth to your audience. But it’s not something to be taken lightly and there are some important factors that should drive the decision. Let’s talk about some of these reasons as well as additional issues to consider before undertaking the process.

    Starting off, businesses don’t rebrand just for the sake of rebranding. “Hey, it’s Tuesday. Let’s spend $50K!” There’s got to be a problem you’re trying to solve, or an opportunity you can’t pass up. Some reasons a brewery may consider rebranding:

    • Your homespun look, while adored by many longtime fans, may not properly reflect your core values to new customers.
    • Your identity, packaging and/or website are dated. It happens.
    • Your website is barely usable and it’s got you thinking about other communication tools.
    • Your competition is aggressively marketing and selling more beer than you.
    • You’re going to be distributing in a new market (or you’d like to).
    • You’re repositioning (new beer styles, new location, new concept/etc. )

    One of the most important things to consider when looking to rebrand is taking stock of your brand equity. Basically, this is all the positive connotations, messaging and positioning you already represent to your audience. This translates to your visual identity system as well — do you “own” a certain color, typeface, texture or other visual element? Think New Belgium Brewing Co.’s iconic cruiser or Anchor Steam’s anchor and ribbon illustration.

    Taking stock of your brand equity is important because it gives you a foundation for moving forward with the rebranding process. What elements are absolutely critical, and which can be jettisoned? If an update is in order, what elements do you need to maintain to ensure your current customers aren’t lost trying to find your beer on tap or on shelves?

    Brand equity is determined through a larger brand audit process. This entails reviewing all of your communication channels, tools, messaging, audience(s), broader positioning and your brand essence. We wrote a piece on defining your brand essence a couple weeks ago.

    And all of this is assuming you still want to maintain some elements from your initial branding. But what if you’re looking to start with a clean slate? Maybe your head brewer, due to a series of unfortunate life choices, had to fake his own death and move to Rio. Maybe a brewery across the country decides to sue you because your name kind of sounds like a one-off seasonal they brewed back in 2002. Look, it happens.

    No matter the reason, if you’re looking to completely start from scratch, it’s largely the same process as defining your brand essence, only you’re not so much looking toward the past as you are toward the future and where you’d like to position your brewery.


    1. Try to pin down exactly why you want to rebrand. What communication problems are you facing on a daily basis? Get this into writing and ask other people on your team for their input as well. If you need to rebrand bad enough, you won’t be the only one who knows it.

    2. What does your brewery stand for? Does your logo design, packaging and website reinforce this message? How about your advertising?

    3. A brand audit can be a great way to begin this process. Hiring a design firm is critical in this process.

    4. Check out New Belgium’s recent rebranding for a great example of maintaining existing brand equity and the charm of their old packaging while positioning as a top-tier craft brewery.

  5. July 25, 2014

    Today marks CODO’s 5th anniversary, and that’s a nice round number. Five years ago, when Cody and I graduated from Herron and founded this business, people told us that our first anniversary would be a momentous occasion because, “Only 1 out of X businesses survive their first year.” Then, we heard it was actually 2 years. And then 3 years, and then 5 and 7 and 10. The goalposts will probably never stop moving, but I feel like this anniversary is a pretty big deal.

    The biggest thing this number represents is that internally, I feel like we’ve matured into whatever it is that comes after the start up phase—a teen business? Tween business?? That’s it folks, CODO has matured into a beautiful tween branding and web design firm. You’re probably wondering what that means. So am I, and I apologize. 

    Anyway, 5 years is a big deal for us, and rather than go on and on with weird, poorly constructed metaphors about success and maturity, I’ll just give you a run down of some of this year’s highlights. 

    The biggest thing we’ve done this year is hire Ryan Herrmann. Aside from being one of the funniest people we’ve ever met, he’s an incredible talent and is already fast on his way to becoming one of the area’s best designers. 

    Around this time last year, we survived a significant office robbery. Don’t worry, we recovered. And thrived, even. 

    After a two month marketing campaign, we launched Indianapolis’ most popular new food truck.

    After designing and launching dozens of client websites, we finally managed to launch CODO’s new responsive site. It’s not even six months old and we’re already toying with the idea of redesigning it altogether. We’re our own worst clients. 

    We won a Gold ADDY for our package design work on Bone Snapper Rye Whiskey. Now, we can join the thousands of design firms across the country that tout being “award-winning.” Ahhhh, victory! 

    We’ve been taking a new Nora brewpub, Big Lug Canteen, through our Hands-on Branding process since early summer. In addition to being fun to hang out with, these guys have hired us to name their brewery, design tap handles, beer labels, a responsive website and all the related ephemera you can think of. We feel this way with nearly every project, but Big Lug is shaping up to be some of the best work of our careers.  

    Our early package design work for Sitka Salmon Shares earned our team a trip to Alaska and since then, our branding, fully-custom e-commerce responsive website, marketing and print design have received an absurd amount of national, earned media (both for CODO and Sitka Salmon Shares) across many lifestyle publications, industry-defining design blogs, as well as a prominent feature in Entrepreneur Magazine.

    Additional highlights include branding Indianapolis’ newest Cultural District, Market East, as well as launching Ex. Ex., Midwest, a magazine examining midwestern food culture.

    On the digital front, CODO continued designing beautiful, robust responsive websites and this year saw the launch of several gorgeous ones for clients including: Daredevil Brewing Co, Sitka Salmon Shares, the Indy Food Council, Fresh Bucks Indy and Tree House Yoga.

    We’ve seen a big spike in paid speaking engagements across the country, including traveling to Wisconsin to present to the Stephens Point AIGA chapter as well as host an all-day workshop on our Hands-on Branding process. This thought leadership has also translated into writing on branding and positioning for the craft beer industry blog, Craft Brewing Business.

    And perhaps the most exciting thing as we head into our 6th year is that we essentially blinked and ended up working with 6 craft breweries—5 from Indiana and a brand new, yet-to-be-named production brewery in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. 

    As always, thanks to everyone who’s hired us, spoken highly of us, checked our egos, referred us, and kept up with us as we continue building this business. And thanks to our family and friends that continue to put up with us—it means a lot. Follow along as we mature into a healthy twenty-something design firm, or whatever it is that comes after the tween phase.

  6. July 24, 2014

    Here’s a sneak peek at the Ex. Ex., Midwest print proof. 

    Wanna eat pizza, drink beer and get your hands on our first print run? Then come to our kickoff party at Pizzology Mass Ave

  7. July 24, 2014

    CODO Design is now five years old, so we’re celebrating the only way we know how.

  8. July 22, 2014

    We’re taking a new brewpub in Nora through our Hands-on Branding process and are having fun exploring block printing for the broader art direction. 

    Any day you get to sketch cheeseburgers is a good day. 

  9. July 15, 2014

    If you own a riding lawnmower, there’s a good chance it runs on a Hydro-Gear transaxle. Hydro-Gear is one of the largest transaxle manufacturers in the world and we’ve been helping them reposition and better define their brand messaging to continue reaching B2B market as well as speak more directly to consumers.

    Here’s a peek at some of the design pieces we’ve been making. This one introduces their new ZT 4400, a rugged commercial unit.

  10. July 7, 2014

    Fresh Bucks is a new program that incentivizes SNAP users (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) to shop at local farmers’ markets, giving them access to healthy, local food while supporting local farmers. Win, win! Initiatives like this have been gaining steam across the country as states start to tackle hunger and local food issues more holistically. We were approached by the Fresh Bucks coordinators to handle brand strategy, identity design, advertising and responsive web design in support of the program rollout. 

    After a lengthy research phase, there were two aesthetic options we developed with the Fresh Bucks team, each conveying a different message. The first was a cleaner, more “official” government look—something folks receiving SNAP and other support would recognize and trust. Think clean type, color-coding and large photographs.

    The second visual direction was based more on the approachable farmers’ market vibe. Think slightly roughed-up typography, burlap, DIY illustrations and Birkenstocks (still reading? just checking). Anyway, this direction screams “farmers’ market,” but is it appropriate? Everyone on our team has been fortunate enough to view farmers’ markets as a part of our weekly shopping routines, call it a luxury. But is this messaging appropriate for people who may not know much about farmers’ markets? How about for people who live right in the middle of a food desert? 

    Working with the Fresh Bucks team was great because we didn’t have to tip toe around these concerns. So while we all felt both options were contextually appropriate, we decided to take a sample from each direction to a food bank for some further research. There, we asked around forty people, “Which one of these would you pick up? Which one of these makes more sense? Which one of these do you trust more?” and so forth. The results were very one-sided with the majority of SNAP users preferring the more “official” government aesthetic. 

    From there, we were off to the races, designing mailers to go out to the SNAP database (approximately 95,000 postcards!), developing print literature to be handed out at food banks and churches, developed loads of signage components for farmers markets (both for the Market Master and for participating vendors) as well as wooden nickels for the redeemable cash system itself. We also designed a series of IndyGo bus ads to further reach potential audiences.

    We coordinated a photo shoot with Kelley Jordan to showcase the type of food you can get through the program and the majority of what we designed was translated to Spanish and Burmese. We’ve used Spanish translators in the past, but Burmese was certainly a first. 

    The photos above are some of the print pieces and wooden redeemer nickels. So much thought went into the responsive website that we’re going to break that out into its own post in the next few weeks. In the meantime, you can view it here.

    The farmers’ market season is young, but we’ve already been hearing some exciting usage numbers from the Fresh Bucks team. Stay tuned and we’ll develop a more thorough case study later this year.