To connect. To inspire. To move forward. Together, twenty five countries at a time. That is the mission of CEE Changers. Ours was to create the brand symbol that would tell the tale visually.

To connect. To inspire. To move forward. Together, twenty five countries at a time. That is the mission of CEE Changers. Ours was to create the brand symbol that would tell the tale visually.

The Task

CEE (Central and Eastern Europe) is a part of Europe that stems from Eastern Germany and Austria, spreads to the south towards Turkey and Greece and then stretches all the way up in the north to Ukraine and Russia, coming to a total of twenty five diverse countries. CEE Changers is an online community that aims to work actively with that historically problematic diversity and in fact make good use of it. Created for the startup activists, the platform aims to bring all of them closer, and foster a new habit of sharing, problem-solving and cooperation that transcends national borders. With roots from the very region, CEE Changers is created “by the community for the community.”

Our task was to craft a brand symbol that unites those ideas and then implement the visual language on the community’s website.

The Process

To discover the depths of the CEE Changers brand was to rediscover our very own roots too. Even though most of the countries from CEE are neighbours, the collaboration or connectivity has never been a defining characteristic of our, at times, troubled relationships. Change, innovation, success, idealism: all these words sounded like a breath of fresh air. But we needed to link them beyond their direct meaning in a brand mark with a higher spirit.

We immediately set on a discovery journey for the common denominator. In symbolism, in language and in history…

More than half of the CEE countries are of Slavic descent. We could not skip that. We began at the Slavic neopaganism. Slavic artistic visions are believed to have existed even before Christianity but there is almost no written or archaeological evidence to showcase them. Yet what is clear is that nationalism, concern for the environment, warrior themes and indigenous values were prevalent subject matters.

We did not stop at the past though. We were working with the concept of “working together towards a common goal”, a rather modern concern for the more than 200 million inhabitants of the CEE region. We pushed ourselves to the core value of collaboration. We worked with typography because we wanted to see where the two distinct alphabets, latin and cyrillic, could have a contemporary date.

The search iteratively revealed the spirit of CEE Changers. We found three forms that embodied that spirit. We called those Collaboration, Network and Local Meets Global. It was time to make a choice.

We were fascinated by the Slavic roots connection, but inside we felt it did not do justice to the noble and almost avant-garde philosophy of CEE Changers - moving beyond centuries of differences, the region could work together, building a whole, which is far bigger than the sum of its parts. That togetherness, we mostly found where the two “C”s of Collaboration intertwined. Their seamless symbiosis accurately expressed the idealistic nature of CEE Changers, while the commonality spread even as far as languages and alphabets go. Collaboration and change were forever connected. Tied as good partners, we made the final decision.

Once we had the brand symbol in place, we moved on to match the colour scheme that would best suit the brand identity and context. We went through a few variations, leaving powerful colours behind due to their cultural baggage in the region and skewed towards the stability and respect of blue. But it could not be any blue. It had to be bright and humane just as the relationships, the platform of CEE Changers, was aiming to foster. The chosen shade of blue communicates credibility and trustworthiness, yet does not suffocate with unnecessary stiffness and formality.

Using the light blue colour as a starting point, we chose the secondary colours for brand extensions and CTA. We experimented and settled on green, red and dark blue, but we left the door open for more colours to come in. We wanted to remain flexible and open-minded because we could only dream what would come next from the future changers of the region.


How do you feel about your brand symbol? Let’s dream big and brew it together

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