Okay let's get to work

Company name

NURA. Nura is a good name because it's easy to say, four letters (score) and is doesn't mean anything (at least in English.) Nura is bland and vanilla. But it won't be bland and vanilla in a couple years. Because Nura is an empty vessel, you can fill it up with the meaning you choose. All the creative work done in the future will work to give meaning to this name. So in a year or twos time, Nura can mean music, sound, equalization, quality, strength, cool. . . whatever. The name will start to mean something as you fill up this empty vessel. Think how Google started as just a silly name (and a terrible logo!). Now when we hear the name Google, all kinds of associations, good and bad, come to mind. The brand meaning is yours to create, cultivate and build. But remember, a brand isn't what you say it is, ultimately a brand is what your customers say it is. So be careful to be born well and make sure every touch point a customer has with the name and company are good experiences.

  • Have you checked with a trademark lawyer to make sure you can move forward with Nura? My understanding is two companies can share the same name if they are in different industries. I did a quick trademark search and found that in the US there are two companies using this name. One makes plumbing products, the other bed linens.
  • Also this:

Nurarihyon or Nura

Nura Trademark


First of all, a brand is not a logo. The term LOGO is short for Logotype, design-speak for a trademark made from a custom-lettered word (LOGOS is Greek for WORD). The term logo caught on with people because it sounds cool, but what people really mean is a trademark, whether the trademark is a logo, symbol, monogram, emblem, or other graphic device. IBM uses a monogram, for example, while Nike uses a symbol. Both are trademarks, but neither are logos. Clear? What really matters here is that a logo, or any other kind of trademark, is not the brand itself. It's merely a symbol for it."
- Marty Neuneier, "The Brand Gap"


For Nura, we want to develop is a simple wordmark (the letters n-u-r-a) and a symbol. These can be used together or separate. For example, on business cards the wordmark and symbol will be seen together, while on the product you may choose to engrave the symbol only. Kodak is an example of a company using a wordmark (K-o-d-a-k) and a symbol. Here's an example of the how these are used together, and alone. Think Twitter feed for the smallest one.

  • In order to develop a wordmark quickly, and one that's easy to approve, you can expect to see something that's clean, minimal and follows current design trends.
  • We'll spend more time getting the symbol right. We're looking to develop a symbol around a metaphor for sound waves. We could create several versions of this symbol to represent Nura's ability to create individualized sounds waves.

One of my favourite recent logo designs is the pulsating logo for SONOS by Toronto's Bruce Mau Design. Scroll to see it "pulse".

We're currently working on a wordmark and symbol for Nura. Deadline Monday April 18.

Team Portraits

Taking the time and budget to do nice, matching portraits of each individual co-founder is an easy way to generate extra credibility. Having good portrait makes you look like you have your act together. Your portrait should make you seem:

• competent • likeable • influential • trustworthy • genuine

Looking attractive and fun doesn't hurt either.

It might cost a few hundred dollars for the team, but a good portrait can be used on Kickstarter, your website, Linkedin, Twitter and if you're single, your online dating app. You'll get a lot of mileage out of your portrait and look better across your whole online presence. This is usually left up to individuals, but it's really in the company's best interest to have each team member looking great, especially in a startup. You are selling yourselves too.

 F-X Tremblay photographed by Guillaume Simoneau

F-X Tremblay photographed by Guillaume Simoneau

Here's what a good business portrait looks like. For this quality you need:

• studio setup on site or at the photographer's studio
• proper studio flash on a light stand (not on camera)
• the flash is filled in with a reflector or window light
• Grey backdrop is lit to create a gradient

 Do this composition exactly.
• Smiling is good, with teeth is better, but laughing is best.
• Choose a dress code for the entire team. I like to go with a proper suit because why not? But whatever you choose make sure you are all consistent.


Finally, test your portrait at:


Proper Propaganda has you covered for story telling and copywriting. So I'll just offer some general thoughts about copywriting for any new brand.

A mediocre product might need a lot of big-talk around it. But a genuinely good product doesn't need to surround itself with a lot of overused superlatives. If your product is authentic, you can use straightforward language to describe it. It's the audience/customer's job to use superlatives to describe your company or product, not yours. 

Avoid these mistakes:

  • Limitless.
    Don't say something like it's "limitless", or "the possibilities are endless". It's super tired. And I'm sure at some point, the possibilities would in fact end.
  • Revolutionary.
    Everybody wants to talk about how their product or technology is revolutionary. But likely you are just doing something better, or in an interesting new way. You are not creating regime change, or filling up the empty space in my heart. So back it up a step. On the other hand ideas around "evolutionary" can be a good alternative.
  • As individual as you are.
    I hate it when a consumer brand releases a new product in seven colours or whatever, so "it's individual as you are!". No, your product is not as individual as I am, and the suggestion is offensive and disingenuous. It makes me feel like the brand believes we're all cloned from a run of seven alpha-units.
    But here's an interesting challenge. Nura's technology does indeed generate a listening experience tailored to each individual. So we need to find a way to say this without using tired phrases.
  • Iconic.
    Don't call your product design iconic. It's not. Calling something that is brand-new iconic is bad English. Designs can be only be labeled iconic in retrospect. The most you could say is that your design is based on, or inspired by, an iconic design.

Do talk about hearing. A lot of companies talk about sound, equalization, treble and bass. But I think focussing on the word "hearing" might be a fresh approach. 

The Golden Circle

Read Start With Why by Simon Sinek and you can fire me and do brand strategy yourselves.


Nura is not a headphones company. You're something much bigger.
Currently your WHY is something like "we care about music. . ." but I think you should consider taking a step even further back to say you care about sound and hearing. It's might be more interesting and allow your branding to explore more directions (like acoustic design and event spaces).

Here's your golden circle (under development). 

• We care about exploring the relationship between sound and hearing.
• We do that by developing technology. . . 
•  We're getting started with this pair of headphones.



Office of Product Design: We need photo-realistic product renderings. Rendered on a both a white and a dark background would be nice. If you deliver your source files in layers, I can drop in a different background colours or a desk top scene.

Here's the kind of thing we're looking for:

  • 3/4 view of headphones floating above white surface. 
  • top down on white. Detraform can drop in a different background or add objects.
  • Alternate renderings on a dark background
  • An exploded view with the product layers. I would like to work on a line drawn illustration. Please export a 3D PDF for me. Can you make a 3D PDF of the wireframe too?
  • Any concept sketches or photos of a workspace at the design studio are always fun too.

Process Photos

Any photos of your process can be fun and add credibility to your campaign. We're looking for prototypes, 3D printed parts, circuit boards, life at HAX, manufacturer visits etc.