Ralf Kienzler
Published on under Concept, Design, User Experience

Backstage Insights: How we Reinvented Ourselves Visually

Details about the relaunch of the coeno website

Since the middle of last year, we have been working on the new appearance of coeno. The aim was to present us appropriately and to accurately reflect the diverse nature of our agency. Here I would like to trace the development of our new appearance and to illustrate why we are convinced that our new appearance provides an informative and inspiring insight into our agency.

Over the years, we got tired of our previous appearance, which is particularly important to me as an art director at coeno. Our previously very clean web presence proved to be somewhat too reduced and inflexible, especially due to its visual limitations. But changes within the agency that were driven by new employees who brought new impulses, new work methods and powerful service modules could not be adequately depicted.

We wanted all of this to be resolved by our new appearance, which should not only present how we see ourselves, but also, meet the expectations of our visitors.

„How will we communicate is determined not by how well we say things, but how we are understood“

Andrew Glove

Get the Sledgehammer

To create something new, we opted for a versatile approach:

  1. Interviews with all employees were used to clarify what each individual expects from our new appearance. A customer survey also gave us insight into how we were perceived externally.
  2. A benchmarking of the web presence of well-known agencies showed how the Internet is used as a stage elsewhere.
  3. A creative workshop served to collect various navigation paradigms. Our designers were then able to develop a design framework with the greatest possible freedom, with which coeno could present itself independently and purposefully.

Collected and prioritized requirements for the new website.

1. Interviews with the Team

At the beginning of the project, Bettina surveyed every coeno team member about the expectations that she, or he, has for the new appearance. Many aspects came to the fore. In sum, however, it was also shown that the structure of the existing presence did not represent such a bad basis for the upcoming appearance:

  • Our projects should continue to be at the forefront, but their specific characteristics should be elaborated and presented as an exciting story.
  • Our work must be illustrated in a clear and comprehensible manner; our service spectrum should be easy to understand.
  • What sets us apart from other agencies is us as individuals, as well as us as a team. We wanted to make this clear.


2. Benchmarking Agency Pages

„Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist“

Pablo Picasso

Digital design trends are a double-edged sword: On the one hand, full pens of new sows are regularly driven through the village in dozens of articles. On the other hand, when looking closely at this mass of livestock, only one hit wonders tend to develop. Or trends turn out to be plagiarism but with a new name.

Just to give an example: Since the release of the Windows XP Media Center Edition 2006, Flat Design has been regularly on the list of popular trends, without changing visually, under the brand names of Metro Design for the Xbox Relaunch, Modern Design and Material Design. Happy Birthday!

In essence, however, there are three clear tendencies in agency appearances:

  1. The work is always in the foreground and is presented in a large area.
  2. The page structure is flat and is hidden in hamburger menus (also on the website) and only visible at second glance.
  3. Apart from a mission statement, the services are rather vague and usually not very informative.

We did not want to follow these approaches completely.

As an agency that stands for intuitive usability and an exciting user experience, we decided not only to display our intentions in a striking way, but to simply point the way for the visitor with familiar interaction possibilities. And to make related information perceptible through links, without disturbances. This is reflected primarily in a classic navigation on the website.

The first Design Moods were in very different directions.

3. The Team as Engine for a Perfect Performance

In a workshop, we collected ideas related to possible interaction paradigms and view types. Visually, the basic layout could be designed without limitation: More color should shape the new appearance. More variance should provide variety with different information-driven views.

For example, with individualized team pages where everyone can place their own content. Or with project detail pages that work out the thematic aspects of a single project in the customer’s own brand. As well as the “What’s New” area on the homepage, which, based on the widely-used card design, creates a place where our visitors can quickly get to know what drives us.

The fact that, due to the expectations of all our employees, every view had to be revised and improved several times, is not surprising. Here I would like to briefly present three types of views and their development cycles.


Changing Views


Project mosaic – From a balanced mosaic, a versatile project wall emerged, from which each project has its own visual access. At the beginning, we experimented with numerous equivalent tiles. Since they were too colorful and unclear in their totality, and since they also referred to different types of pages, we separated the showcases and decided to show them differently with big teasers.

Team detail – from a collection of extensive information, a wholly personalized page was created for everyone, in which each person’s own interests and activities can be depicted. Here we exaggerated it with too much information in the beginning, thereby almost making the person look like a catalog page. A freely configurable timeline provides for variety and the personal touch.

Services – based on a stringent visualization of our services, we designed a graphic that depicts flexibility and innovation. With the services page, we wanted to achieve two things: Our service spectrum should be clearly visible at a glance. At the same time, however, we also wanted to create space to deal more in detail with our service modules. Over the course of time, we gained two insights: A linear representation of our services no longer corresponds to our way of working. And a simultaneous display of all services, as well as details on each module, is too much, even for monitors with high resolutions. That is why on our performance page one element follows the other and the available space is ideally used.

The New Corporate Design and How we see Ourselves

We are pleased with our new appearance: our website tells who we are, explains our way of working, describes what we believe and how we work. It is intuitive to operate and presents itself in a contemporary and diverse look. In doing so, we did not have to abandon everything: after experiments with new fonts, I concluded that our somewhat futuristic font Titillium still suits us well and the tooth of time could not harm it. Also, the rich new colors fit well into the existing color scheme and now make our appearance more friendly, stronger and, above all, more individual.

I believe our new appearance invites visitors to go on a discovery trip, get to know us and come back. Because, as the digital world changes, we will also continually change and expand our presence. And we wish to surprise our visitors with every visit.


This blog is related and is worth reading:
Blog post: Our Vision and how we developed it

This Post has been published in Concept, Design, User Experience.
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