Today marks CODO’s 5th anniversary, and that’s a nice round number. Five years ago, when Cody and I graduated from Herron and founded this business, people told us that our first anniversary would be a momentous occasion because, “Only 1 out of X businesses survive their first year.” Then, we heard it was actually 2 years. And then 3 years, and then 5 and 7 and 10. The goalposts will probably never stop moving, but I feel like this anniversary is a pretty big deal.
The biggest thing this number represents is that internally, I feel like we’ve matured into whatever it is that comes after the start up phase—a teen business? Tween business?? That’s it folks, CODO has matured into a beautiful tween branding and web design firm. You’re probably wondering what that means. So am I, and I apologize.
Anyway, 5 years is a big deal for us, and rather than go on and on with weird, poorly constructed metaphors about success and maturity, I’ll just give you a run down of some of this year’s highlights.
The biggest thing we’ve done this year is hire Ryan Herrmann. Aside from being one of the funniest people we’ve ever met, he’s an incredible talent and is already fast on his way to becoming one of the area’s best designers.
Around this time last year, we survived a significant office robbery. Don’t worry, we recovered. And thrived, even.
After a two month marketing campaign, we launched Indianapolis’ most popular new food truck.
After designing and launching dozens of client websites, we finally managed to launch CODO’s new responsive site. It’s not even six months old and we’re already toying with the idea of redesigning it altogether. We’re our own worst clients.
We won a Gold ADDY for our package design work on Bone Snapper Rye Whiskey. Now, we can join the thousands of design firms across the country that tout being “award-winning.” Ahhhh, victory!
We’ve been taking a new Nora brewpub, Big Lug Canteen, through our Hands-on Branding process since early summer. In addition to being fun to hang out with, these guys have hired us to name their brewery, design tap handles, beer labels, a responsive website and all the related ephemera you can think of. We feel this way with nearly every project, but Big Lug is shaping up to be some of the best work of our careers.
Our early package design work for Sitka Salmon Shares earned our team a trip to Alaska and since then, our branding, fully-custom e-commerce response website, marketing and print design have received an absurd amount of national, earned media (both for CODO and Sitka Salmon Shares) across many lifestyle publications, industry-defining design blogs, as well as a prominent feature in Entrepreneur Magazine.
Additional highlights include branding Indianapolis’ newest Cultural District, Market East, as well as launching Ex. Ex., Midwest, a magazine examining midwestern food culture.
On the digital front, CODO continued designing beautiful, robust responsive websites and this year saw the launch of several gorgeous ones for clients including: Daredevil Brewing Co, Sitka Salmon Shares, the Indy Food Council, Fresh Bucks Indy and Tree House Yoga.
We’ve seen a big spike in paid speaking engagements across the country, including traveling to Wisconsin to present to the Stephens Point AIGA chapter as well as host an all-day workshop on our Hands-on Branding process. This thought leadership has also translated into writing on branding and positioning for the craft beer industry blog, Craft Brewing Business.
And perhaps the most exciting thing as we head into our 6th year is that we essentially blinked and ended up working with 6 craft breweries—5 from Indiana and a brand new, yet-to-be-named production brewery in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
As always, thanks to everyone who’s hired us, spoken highly of us, checked our egos, referred us, and kept up with us as we continue building this business. And thanks to our family and friends that continue to put up with us—it means a lot. Follow along as we mature into a healthy twenty-something design firm, or whatever it is that comes after the tween phase.
5 years. Still making great design work. Still not working for anyone else.