The Bitkey Brand

Slides of the bitkey brand presentation made out of glass floating in space

bitkey inc.




Branding/ Copywriting/ Creative Direction/ Art Direction/ Graphic Design

Connecting the dots for the connect platform company

Project Overview

Untangling and reframing the brand for one of Japan's Top 5 Startups

When I joined Bitkey in May 2019, the company was quite fortunate to have had the initial Brand and Logo design work done by architectural agency DE-SIGN. With preparations on the way to release a staggering 50+ products the following year, proper branding efforts fell to the wayside. By the end of 2020 and after failed attempts from a third-party branding agency, my team and I were charged with directing the corporate brand.

The main challenge with building the brand for Bitkey was that the company had fractions of brand identity sprinkled across the organization that had to be incorporated. For example, the leadership decided on the company's mission and values shortly after I entered. However, these existed in a complete vacuum, without relations to anything else. Neither the purpose of the brand nor the vision was ever clearly defined. Additionally, the company was moving at lightspeed with new product and business concepts popping up by the day and the tendency to introduce a new brand for every new product, technology, or service staged to release.

By the time my team was on the job, we were looking at multiple loosely connected product brands, very abstract core values hardly anyone had ever understood, and a brand mission used to explain everything else within the organization.

Excerpt from the values and principles presentation
Excerpt from the statements presentation
Excerpt from the brand architecture presentation
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Project Design

Building a scalable foundation and a brand in reverse

Designing the brand for Bitkey was less about a radical transformation of what has essentially become company culture but rather complementing the elements that have already been put into place. To do so, we needed to start at the very basics and work our way back.

First, we examined the "connect everything through the power of technology" brand mission and tried to understand how and why it existed. Through discussions with members and the board analysis of the company's short history and mode of action, we deducted the brand purpose and eventually the brand promise and vision as well.

Second, with the word 'connect' playing a crucial role in the statements, we decided to introduce a set of simple on-brand behavior guidelines, the CONNECT principles, derived from the abstract core values.

Lastly, we simplified the branding architecture by creating three overarching brands that help sort and name products, services, and technologies. With the 'book metaphor,' we created a tool that allows Bitkey members to classify brands less conceptually.

Considering that the startup is moving at lightspeed and new products are popping up by the day, creating a brand that doesn't just make sense at the time but instead builds a solid foundation that scales with the company is our main achievement.

Screenshots of the bitkey brand book and brand guide
Screenshots of the bitkey corporate website
Photo of the bitkey office showing the words CONNECT as a graphic on the wall
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Project Credits
Corporate Branding Team
Yasugi Hiroshi
Keito Suzuki

Project Lead
Ejiri Yuuki

Bitkey Logo Design
De-Sign Group

Masanori Hotsuki
Tanabe Yozo

Bitkey Office Photography
Nacasa & Partners