Posts about Branding


How to Design & Lead a Brand Experience Workshop in 6 Steps

Most stakeholders aren’t versed in the language of branding. That’s dangerous because word of mouth and first-hand experience have more of an effect on user love than celebrity endorsements or well-toned advertisements. Branding is more important than ever. How do you get stakeholders into productive conversations about it?

Problem: Finding the brand through trial and error

You could take the trial-and-error tack: just make stuff to see how they react, and go through round after round of presentation and feedback, each time learning a little bit more about what the brand is supposed to be. But this is expensive, tedious, and demoralizing. It’s like hacking away at a beehive to make a sculpture. You end up with a lot of stings.

Solution: Get those brand attributes out and vetted with a Brand Experience Workshop

Cooper has faced this challenge with its clients head on for 5 years with a workshop to solve this problem. It’s fun and works like a charm. Here’s an introduction to how it works, followed by some tips and tricks to making them awesome.

A Brand Experience Workshop in 6 Steps

The workshop should feel pretty magical to the participants, and of course that takes some work on your part, but it’s worth it. Find below the key six steps.

Read More


Six (6!) new ways to push your practice

You asked. We answered. Bringing you SIX new workshops and courses in customer experience, brand strategy, leadership, product definition and design, research, ideation, personas and more—each chock full of skills for taking your professional game to the next level (and maybe even the level above that). Stay current, get smarter, make an impact, effect the bottom line, and teach your team a thing or two (or ten) about your new-found knowledge. We've saved you a seat.

Read More


Visual Design for White Labelled Products

Designing a product with the intention of being “white labelled” means that you are creating a software for a client to incorporate into their existing (visual language) system. Every now and then design consultants are hired by another consultant to work on a third party’s existing system. This what you call a super white label. Here, you not only have to consider your client’s needs, but your client’s client’s needs, too. It can be easy to start designing with everyone’s goals in mind and eventually lose focus, leaving no one satisfied in the end. These are some basic tips I’ve found that to help start and manage a white labelled project. 


It can be easy to start designing with everyone’s goals in mind and eventually lose focus, leaving no one satisfied in the end.

Read More


Raising Funds and Raising the Bar: Hats Off to Practice Fusion

When Practice Fusion recently announced it’s spectacular $70M financing round, cheers went up not only throughout the healthcare sector, where the company is one of the fastest growing health tech pioneers, but also within the halls of Cooper, where the design and prototype for Practice Fusion’s 2013 IxDA award-winning ipad app was born.

Stefan Klocek, former Cooperista and now Practice Fusion’s Senior Director of Design, had a critical role in the development of that iPad application while at Cooper, and now that he has joined Practice Fusion, he took a moment to get on the phone with us and share his unique inside perspective on the impact design can have on businesses.

“It’s not been hard to trace how Cooper’s original design for Practice Fusion’s mobile platform became a seminal turning point in how our business makes products today,” Klocek said, after we exchanged verbal high-fives. “Following the Cooper engagement I’ve been able to see firsthand how the organization shifted its perspective from design being something added on later, to actually driving decisions around branding and product development.”

And Practice Fusion’s investment in design is growing. “Our design team went from 5 to 17 people in six months," Klocek added. "The original mobile app project that Practice Fusion worked on with Cooper really demonstrated to everyone here the value of design, ultimately driving decisions to rebrand our website and redesign our flagship product.”

To which we say, huzzah!

Big congratulations to Practice Fusion for continuing to raise the bar and the standard of data management for healthcare.

When Practice Fusion recently announced it’s spectacular $70M financing round, cheers went up not only throughout the healthcare sector, where the company is one of the fastest growing health tech pioneers, but also within the halls of Cooper, where the design and prototype for Practice Fusion’s 2013 IxDA award-winning ipad app was born.Stefan Klocek, former Cooperista and now Practice Fusion’s [...]

UX Boot Camp with Marketplace Money

Old School Radio Meets the Digital Age

Take a look inside Cooper's June, 2013 UX Boot Camp with American Public Media’s Marketplace Money radio show, where students explored the next horizon of audio programming—a paradigm shift from broadcast to conversation-based platforms.

The Challenge
Students rolled up their sleeves to help the show respond to the trend away from traditional radio by finding the right mix of alternative distribution platforms. Marketplace Money came equally ready to take a radical departure from their current format in order to create a new model that redefines the roles of host, show, and audience in the digital age. To reach this goal, students focused on designing solutions that addressed three big challenges:

  1. Engage a new, younger audience that is tech savvy, and provide easy access to content via new platforms, such as podcasts, satellite radio shows, and the Internet.
  2. Inspire audience participation and contribution. Facilitate conversations and inspire people to share their personal stories so that listeners can learn from each other.
  3. Design ways for the host to carry an influential brand or style that extends beyond the limits of the show and engage with the audience around personal finance, connecting with listeners in ways that are likeable, useful, and trustworthy, making the topic of personal finance cool, fun and approachable.

At the end of the four-day Boot Camp, student teams presented final pitches to Marketplace Money, and a panel of experienced Cooper designers offered feedback on their ideas and presentations. In the following excerpts from each day, you can test your own sensory preferences for receiving content as you see, hear and read how design ideas evolved at the Boot Camp, inspiring new relationships between people and radio.

Marketplace Money Class

Read More

Old School Radio Meets the Digital AgeTake a look inside Cooper's June, 2013 UX Boot Camp with American Public Media’s Marketplace Money radio show, where students explored the next horizon of audio programming—a paradigm shift from broadcast to conversation-based platforms.The Challenge Students rolled up their sleeves to help the show respond to the trend away from traditional radio by finding [...]

Deconstructing the Keyboard

Guest blog post by Zak Brazen, Creative Strategist of Brazenworks, a design and ingenuity lab we invited to create a branded object for our new studio. What we got was a work of art! IMG_4599 The truth is, we take computer keyboards for granted. They're too familiar; like the picture of that dolphin that's hung in your bathroom for years. In fact, we often view them as an impediment to our productivity or creative expression.

Read More

Guest blog post by Zak Brazen, Creative Strategist of Brazenworks, a design and ingenuity lab we invited to create a branded object for our new studio. What we got was a work of art!The truth is, we take computer keyboards for granted. They're too familiar; like the picture of that dolphin that's hung in your bathroom for years. In fact, [...]

Welcome to 2013, Cooper.com

Today we launched the new Cooper.com. It’s a work in progress. Agile in action: ship it, learn something, change it. But we’re enormously proud to reach this milestone.
cooper.com, through the years
cooper.com, through the years

Read More

Today we launched the new Cooper.com. It’s a work in progress. Agile in action: ship it, learn something, change it. But we’re enormously proud to reach this milestone. cooper.com, through the yearsA long and winding roadCooper.com has been on a bit of a roller coaster ride over the past couple years. In 2011, we introduced an interesting and innovative design [...]

Cooper helps Chefs Feed launch new social features

Who do you trust for food advice? Review sites like Yelp are bloated and contain a cacophony of opinions. Others just aggregate shallow star ratings. Reviewers often have tastes and preferences that might not match your own. And even if you find a good restaurant, how do you know what is the best thing on the menu?

The idea behind Chefs Feed is that the best food advice comes from experts - professional chefs, and friends with discerning taste.

[caption id="attachment_1373804" align="alignnone" width="620"][/caption] Currently available in nine US cities, the app doesn’t just tell you where to go, but also what to order, providing an insider’s look at each city’s eateries.

When Chefs Feed approached Cooper, the startup was about to make a big leap. Lots of people were downloading the app, but its functionality was limited to a few features like reading and bookmarking chefs’ reviews. With the user base expanding quickly, Chefs Feed needed a blueprint for making the app a platform for interaction between chefs and foodies. The app also needed features to help friends trade dish recommendations and share their passion for food. In short, the app was to get social.

Read More

Who do you trust for food advice? Review sites like Yelp are bloated and contain a cacophony of opinions. Others just aggregate shallow star ratings. Reviewers often have tastes and preferences that might not match your own. And even if you find a good restaurant, how do you know what is the best thing on the menu? The idea behind [...]

Fixing a broken user experience featured on Smashing Magazine

There's innumerable ways to arrive at a state where a company's product offerings present a frustrating or broken user experience. Few organizations can't realistically throw everything away and start over. If it's broken, you need a strategy that allows you to iterate toward a better user experience. Cooper's Stefan Klocek outlines one approach Cooper uses with clients to improve user experience across an organization's suite of products.

From the article:

Unless you’re developing completely new products at a startup, you likely work in an organization that has accumulated years of legacy design and development in its products. Even if the product you’re working on is brand spanking new, your organization will eventually need to figure out how to unify the whole product experience, either by bringing the old products up to par with the new or by bringing your new efforts in line with existing ones. A fragmented product portfolio sometimes leads to an overall broken user experience.

Understanding an organization and its users and designing the right interaction and visual system take exceptional effort. You also need to communicate that system to teams that have already produced work that doesn’t align with it. This isn’t easy work. In this article, we’ll introduce you to a strategy for fixing the broken experience that starts with surface improvements, goes progressively deeper into structural issues and ends with a big organizational shift.

Read the rest of the article, meet The Hierarchy of Effort (pictured below), and enjoy the discussion over at Smashing Magazine.

Read More

There's innumerable ways to arrive at a state where a company's product offerings present a frustrating or broken user experience. Few organizations can't realistically throw everything away and start over. If it's broken, you need a strategy that allows you to iterate toward a better user experience. Cooper's Stefan Klocek outlines one approach Cooper uses with clients to improve user [...]

Elevating the brand and visual strategy with the experience workshop

Defining and creating a memorable experience for your customers is no easy task. Product owners and development teams can easily rattle off ideas to designers about what features are necessary to stay competitive. But if you ask them to share their vision for the overall more subtle emotional aspects of the experience, they often get quiet or resort to the familiar old UI clichés of "simplicity, intuitiveness, etc." This means that you often start your design work with less insight than you need to drive visual and interaction design.

Enter the experience workshop - a collaborative meeting and setup where clients can really talk about what a great experience can feel like among a sea of inspirational images, digital interfaces, products, services, brands, cars, textures, and more. Companies that build digital products and services are engaging in a new level of competition; it's no longer good enough to deliver a usable product. Our designs must reach an aspirational vision that elevates the experience beyond mere usability, and a visual, collaborative workshop pushes people to explore and discuss the possibilities.

The workshop helps teams discuss what attributes are inherent in these other experiences that are meaningful to the experience they're defining. After a process of prioritization and discussion, the end result is often a huge cloud of ideas and words that sit on a spectrum from a poor experience to an ideal experience. The examples aren't what's important for our output. We collect insight from the discussion, the words, that help us define the ideal experience.

The workshop brings teams together to learn and collaborate on the experience. What I love most about this activity is the connections made from people across different teams that can relate on a personal level because of their shared experiences. It's not just a visioning exercise for the future; it's a team-building event.

Check out the above video to see a glimpse of the workshop in action. And if you want to learn more about how to conduct a workshop and integrate this new approach into your company, you can sign up for an upcoming Cooper U Visual Interface Design course. In fact, we have just a few spots left in next week's class (May 7-8), if this post left you inspired...

Defining and creating a memorable experience for your customers is no easy task. Product owners and development teams can easily rattle off ideas to designers about what features are necessary to stay competitive. But if you ask them to share their vision for the overall more subtle emotional aspects of the experience, they often get quiet or resort to the [...]

1 2