Getting people to love a cockroach
Gaining support from open source developers

Cockroach Labs is a startup building a next generation database. Founded by a team of Google software engineers and backed by heavyweights such as Benchmark Capital and Index Ventures they have all the technical wizardry for success, and a keen understanding of the storytelling that is necessary to launch a highly technical product. Division Of/ was brought on board as the agency of record to add our own communication design magic to the mix and bring the story to life through the brand.

The Challenge

How can we get support from the open source developer community to back a product that is breaking onto the scene 
of database technology?

Owning the cockroach

A cockroach isn’t the first thing one would think of to represent a cutting edge database, but the product’s key features can be summed up by the common characteristics that the insect is known for: scalability, survivability, and consistency. The name can’t help but capture attention, triggering an immediate emotional response. This moment of cognition was our opportunity to dispel any preconceptions of the insect and draw the audience in with a fun and approachable identity.

Solution

Playing off of the name and key features, the logo mark is based on a venn diagram with the intersection of three circles forming the body of a cockroach. Paired with
a modern “slab” serif typeface and a cool color palette, it feels both accessible
and professional.cockroach_case_gif01_3

Craig, the cockroach

Promoting CockroachDB is a boots-on-the-ground effort in engaging the developer community at conferences and events. We decided to represent the brand with a character to hook the attention of passersby as they rove around booths and seminars. Craig, the unexpectedly cute cockroach found himself emblazoned on every kind of swag imaginable, capturing the hearts and minds of programmers the world over.

A simple, but attractive style

To balance out the technical detail necessary to describe the product we developed a unique illustrative style that visually conveys product features and benefits through imagery and iconography.

Living on the web

As an open source product, CockroachDB needed a website to function as the central access point for all relevant knowledge pertaining to product development. In doing so, it had to convey as sense of reliability, longevity, and community so that developers felt comfortable as advocates. At the same time, it was important not to overwhelm less technical visitors interested in its commercial prospects. The benefits and vision had to be communicated clearly to potential partners, investors, and media.

RESULTS

Since launch, CockroachDB has been a smash hit garnering incredible support from a community of dedicated open source developers. The enthusiasm has spread to the financial community as well with a new round of backers infusing $20 million in additional capital to help the company mission.

Spencer Kimball, Co-founder & CEO,
Branding the Unbrandable

Cockroaches survive, scale and replicate just like our database, CockroachDB. The name is evocative and memorable, but for potential customers, it can take some getting used to! We relied on Division Of/ to build the visual language and tools to present our brand in a way that’s fun and approachable, creating opportunities to begin conversations with our customers.