Cortex Bar Branding and Visual Identity by FatFaceStudio

FatFaceStudio shared an awesome branding and visual identity project for event producers from my hometown. Here’s how the awesome folks over at FatFaceStudio tell the story: When a duo of event producers from Porto Alegre, Brazil decided to open a new venue to celebrate the music from the good, not-so-old days of the early 2000's, they named it Cortex – the part of the brain responsible for, among other things, storing memories.

These guys used to throw parties back in the day when My Chemical Romance, the Klaxons and Franz Ferdinand were banging loud in the years of 18 to 20 - somethings all over the place. 

The people that used to go to their parties are now working, have busy schedules, probably families. They end up choosing to Netflix and chill over going out to dance, till now. Cortex came to change that.

Branding and Visual Identity


Most of the research came from Instagram. The clients had a solid username with followers who represented exactly who they wanted to attract to their new venue. We just had to gather the information about people's lifestyles, music tastes and culture.

The research was quite fruitful. We identified the messages the brand needed to convey:

  1. "Cortex know me from way back" – appeal to the nostalgic days of dancing and listening to loud music.
  2. "Cortex and I share the same culture" – the audience likes specific genres, which come with specific lifestyles.
  3. "Cortex and I are in the same vibe and in the same life stage" – even though the references are from the past, this is a place for young adults.
  4. "Cortex want me to go out and have fun" – Cortex need to show the public there's still a good, comfortable option for them to go out and listen to good music.


Based on the research we decided that:

  1. We should use references from the past in a sophisticated way.
  2. The public is open to a certain types of messaging that appeals to feelings.
  3. The experience should be an escape from reality for an audience who often feels tired of the grind.

They explored several concepts with cerebral cortex theme/idea, memories and alternative music and presented three visual identity paths through moodboards with brief graphic explorations.

Visual identity

From the three paths we presented, the client chose to go for the one we nicknamed "Clean Punk Rocker" – a clean, indirect and grown-up assembly of elements from alternative rock music from the early 2000's.

This definition paved the way for the visual language, since the color palette, typography and graphic elements were already approved.

As for the mark, it was discussed how to visually explore the cerebral cortex and decided to stay away from the anatomy of the brain and go for a more abstract approach.

During the research, it was frequently encountered the analogy of the mind as a labyrinth, and that was the chosen path to design de brand mark. The idea of labyrinth, mixed with symbols of rebellion used in the visual language, connected beautifully with the concept of escaping reality we previously identified.

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