Allan Rosenow
Feb 6, 2017 · 4 min read

Fifteen months ago, I left my job to start a motion design business with my wife. We called ourselves “Able Creative.” It was a great first year; we learned a lot, made some great stuff that we’re really proud of, and grew along the way. So this year…we’re changing everything.

Well not everything. But we have office space now. And we brought on a part-time illustrator. Oh, and we’re completely changing our name. Today we’re launching a full rebrand. Able Creative is dead…long live Rosenow Design Co.

So why the change after just a year? There are a lot of reasons, but I’m going to focus on two main ones here, corresponding (conveniently) with the anatomy of the company name itself: the moniker and the trade label.

These are not official terms. Just go with me on this.

Initially, I chose “Able” as our moniker because I wanted to emphasize that we are effective and reliable. Capable. Dependable. We are able. We make you able. Enablers. We used a lot of “able” puns.

At the time, “Creative” made sense for the trade label because most of our work was contracted to other studios. But during our first year of work, we had a lot of time to explore our strengths and weaknesses as a team and think about how we wanted the name to reflect them. And, well, not to give away the ending, but…we decided to change it.

Moniker—It’s not business. It’s personal.

Ok, it’s actually business, but we also want it to be personal. As in, you’re dealing with a person. And that person cares about you and your needs. We put a lot of ourselves into the work we do, so it only made sense to put a lot of ourselves ON the work we do. Which…sounds weird now that I read it back. Look, the point is that if you like it, then you oughta put your name on it. So we did.

Doing our own little thing.
Our lead mark, shield, and monogram.
Our shield is inspired by the official crest of Rosenow, Germany; the origin of the surname.

Trade Label—Create vs. Design

In every creative project, someone has to define and solve a problem. Sometimes the client does that part and they just need someone to execute their vision. Sometimes an agency will solve the problem and hire a contractor to animate their story. That’s a creative. We’ve done plenty of this work, and I’m sure we’ll do more. Skilled makers are really valuable, but they are not the same thing as designers. The designer starts with a blank page. An empty canvas. A designer’s task is to immerse himself in the client’s perspective, fully understand the objectives and context of a project, and define the problem that needs to be solved. And then solve it. This may mean planning a story, sketching a logo, concepting a campaign, drafting blueprints, or outlining a speech. They plan the plan. This is one of the biggest differences: a creative will give you a result; a designer will give you a solution.

A great metaphor for this is to think of an obstacle course vs. a maze. The work of a creative or maker is like running an obstacle course. There are many challenges to overcome and it takes skill and determination to come out the other side. BUT the path is clear from the start. Designing is more like navigating a maze. You’re not just conquering a difficult path; you have to find that path in the first place. This means exploration, dead ends, adaptation, and a clear focus on the end goal.

A lot of what we did in 2016 was executing someone else’s vision. They’d come to us with a story they wanted to tell, and we’d bring it to life. But our best work — the projects that really got us excited and turned out as the biggest wins — were the ones where we got involved early and helped craft the vision from the start. We learned that our best value is in the maze. We want to provide solutions, not just results. So moving forward, we plan to prioritize this kind of work and it was important that our name reflect this focus.

You’ll see the name change reflected on our website, which is now, and we’ll be rolling out more visual elements of the rebrand in the next few months. Able had a good run (and I’ll miss the puns), but we’re really excited about this change and what it represents for us moving forward. So hello again, world…we are Rosenow Design Co. Let’s work together.

Allan Rosenow

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It's my job to think with both sides of my brain.