CarlNann – new identity after breaking from FCB Network

Advertising, Branding, Business, Marketing

After the management buyout of Michael CARL (CFO) and Christoph NANN (CCO) at FCB Hamburg in June 2018, the cancellation of the agency name FCB Hamburg, which had continued to be used until then, also followed almost exactly two years later in June 2020. This advertising agency had its origins in the Centrales Annoncen Buero William Wilkens, founded in 1876, Germany’s first advertising agency ever.

After breaking away from the international FCB network, CarlNann, the owner-managed boutique agency in Hamburg’s Harbour City, emerged from it last summer.

Everything that has made up CarlNann’s Corporate Identity since then was developed in-house and implemented in the record time of three months.

Every employee and colleague, everyone was able to submit their designs for the future logo of CarlNann. In the end, all employees voted on the shortlist.

The winning logo was created by our 26-year-old art director Tizian Leschke (seen in the video wearing a yellow cap and dancing in the kitchen).

Tizian submitted only this one design and he was also the only one to graphically stage the only vowel in the company name – the “a”.

The concept for the logo and the design is based on the CarlNann principle “deepest depths, highest heights”. The NANN in the name falls deep down below. The CARL rises high to the top. What both names have in common is the letter A, which remains fixed in the middle whilst the rest moves.

To be in line with the principle “deepest depths, highest heights”, the logo takes over the maximum amount of space and spans vertically across the entire area. This means the logo creates suspense on every format and appears dynamic and adaptable, whilst remaining true to itself.

The design is based on simplicity, no additional elements cut in, no graphical angles, but rather the use of the white space as well as the different applications of the logo. In social media posts, for example, the A serves as an interchangeable level where messages can be displayed like on a poster. In presentations, the A is used to formulate headlines, meaning the logo contains such an overarching as well as a contextual design character and integrates into all the internal and external communication.

The font used is Aktiv Grotesk in the Extended face, not exotic, almost too easy. But the visual impression is timeless and modern. The wordmark in use doesn’t lose its connection and is uniform even when its elements are far from one another, and the overall picture is clear. With this construction, the N NN receives nearly a visual character and breaks up the wordmark. The wide face also picks up the thought of “taking over the space”.

The basis for the colours is the contrast in the philosophy “deepest depths, highest heights”. The blue in the design reflects quiet and deepness; the yellow complements this in a dynamic way, like a creative strike of lighting up high. The contrasting interplay of the two primary colours aims to mirror the way CarlNann thinks, and underscores it graphically. The spectrum is complete with the two secondary colours white and night blue, which boost the two primary colours in the respective direction.

Depending on the focus of the department, one of the two colours is used. Everywhere where creation appears, the colour yellow is used. Where it’s about the basics – the strategy – the colour is blue. 


  • Idea & concept: Tizian Leschke, Art Director
  • Art Direction: Thiesjan Ruchholz, Art Director
  • Creative Direction: Patrik Hartmann, Creative Director
  • Moving Image: Rasmus Kortshagen, Dennis Juschas
  • Music: Andreas Kurhan
  • Production: Silke Hoppe

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