Founded in 2007 with facilities in New York and the Netherlands, Shapeways is at the forefront of digital manufacturing services and technology, most notably 3D printing. As its digital manufacturing business scaled up, Shapeways developed a platform to increase efficiencies and manage operations. Combined with the company’s wide selection of materials and technologies, this platform virtually eliminates manufacturing barriers and automates a complex process, accelerating product development and delivery.
Most manufacturers use multiple tools in an unintegrated, patchwork workflow. Although a number of companies were offering software and services for a piece of the manufacturing process, none provided an end-to-end solution. Shapeways realized its solution would empower manufacturers to address such inefficiencies to deliver even more value to their customers. The company tapped Catchword to create a brand name for the SaaS product.
In addition to richly conveying the brand themes and story, engaging target audiences and all the other requirements of a great name, with this name, we needed to be especially careful not to imply it is a design tool. With a gazillion options for CAD (every client has a favorite), Shapeways made the strategic call to integrate with these applications rather than offer its own.
The name also needed to tread carefully in terms of tone. Shapeways’s customer base of traditional engineers is skeptical of new technologies and accustomed to conventional manufacturing techniques. The name needed to work extra hard not to intimidate. It needed to sound precise and technically advanced yet not too high tech or hard to adopt by this important customer set.
Catchword worked closely with the Shapeways team to understand the market space and business objectives, clarify brand strategy, and define naming parameters to guide creative development. We recommended that even though initial marketing would be focused on 3D printing, the name not reference this technology given the solution’s broader applicability. After screening, the client selected OTTO, a friendly, reassuring name that, like this platform, wraps a lot of value into one streamlined package.
OTTO is a friendly, reassuring name that, like the platform, wraps a lot of value into one streamlined package.
OTTO sounds like a helpful personal assistant, your digital manufacturing buddy. This personification is intentionally reassuring to a customer base skeptical of and intimidated by advanced technology and the industry’s transition to digital. As a short personal name, it’s especially easy to remember and not at all off-putting or scary (shorter is easier to get your mouth, and head, around).
OTTO subtly recalls the auto– of automatic and automated, underscoring the system’s self-sufficiency without actually using this word part, which would sound dated and might imply the automotive industry.
The name’s construction is as impactful as its tone and meaning and offers rich possibilities for graphical treatment. (Designers love short words, Os, and symmetry.) OTTO’s spelling economy (only 2 different letters) emphasizes the system’s efficiency and simplicity. Its symmetry suggests balance and order, and its brevity expresses streamlining and speed. The big round Os underscore the solution’s multiple end-to-end capabilities—this full circle of service goes from start to finish to start again—while also suggesting openness and warmth.