Cahoots nestled right into our wheelhouse. A dynamic co-working space attracting entrepreneurs, tinkerers, and creatives in the tech hub of Ann Arbor, Michigan, they wanted a lifestyle brand—a complete ecosystem of brand visuals and assets that could be worn, posted, shared, and nodded at by others in the know. The challenge was capturing their collaborative ethos by creating these individual touchpoints in a way that felt and behaved like a cohesive system. Part of that was designing and building a website to accommodate the virtual community, welcoming both new and established members with the same energy and agility as the physical spaces.

We wanted to show that Cahoots is far more than a desk set-up and a water cooler: it’s a movement. To capture that exclusive feeling, we designed brand elements that feel like secret handshakes to the target audience. The “++” mark, for instance, echoes C++ programming language. And Ann Arborites recognize the “A2” design we created as a mark of their own tribe. Steeped in history and a sense of place, the brand system and website grew around a modern industrial vibe that feels familiar to locals.

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With concepting rounds and strategy blessed by the client, the brand architecting and visual refinement could begin. We chose the typeface Knockout, for its nine-width, four-weight, situational type approach. Using the Knockout family afforded the functional benefits of a unified system and the visual appeal of individually designed styles.

Cahoots Artboard
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In designing collateral and marketing materials, we strayed far and wide—imagining all the interactive elements for the site and the physical applications: buttons, hats, shirts, pennants. Cahoots even had a massive, branded flag made, which we borrowed to supplement their custom photography, videography, and motion for the website.

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I have hired more consultants and outside partners than I can count and expectations are rarely met. Focus Lab exceeded in every conceivable way. They functioned as an extension of our team and took the time to really get to know us.

Joe Malcoun, Co-founder
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We chose minimalism in site structure, as it needed to come across like more of a branded journey than an information heap. While the look and feel mirrored elements created during the branding phase, the use of motion and transitions helped to focus the user on exploration, directing them ultimately towards a clear call to action. Developed on Craft CMS, the site leverages interactive elements as backdrops to bring primary content to the forefront.

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Not only did we have a ton of fun with the Focus Lab team, they also took great care with our brand needs. They were so open to our feedback that I always felt completely comfortable voicing concerns. Oh… and the designs they delivered were insanely kick-ass!

Joe Malcoun, Co-founder