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Cobalt: The Element Behind The Name

Cobalt: the element behind the name

On a recent visit to Canberra, Cobalt took some time off to visit Questacon – Australia’s National Science and Technology Centre. There, among over 200 interactive exhibits, we noticed one in particular: a massive, life sized Periodic Table of Elements. Sitting at the top centre was a glass box showcasing the element that spawned our group’s name – Cobalt.

Cobalt (Co), the 27th element on the periodic table, is found in the earth’s crust usually combined with other mineralsPrimarily, the hardy mineral is usually used in the manufacture of magnetic, high-strength, wear-resistant alloys. Cobalt bonds together with other elements to create alloys used in technology and devices that perform far more strongly than they would using isolated minerals. Interestingly enough, this is similar to the core principles behind Cobalt Design’s integrated team structure – we believe that collaboration and teamwork is what binds everyone at the Cobalt studio together. Individually, we all have our own strengths, but it’s when we come together bound by a project that we can make something that really excels. 

Further comparisons can be drawn between our agency and the mineral from a design sense. Cobalt compounds give off a distinct deep blue colour, the likes of which has been used creatively over generations. Glass, ceramics, inks, paints and varnishes throughout history have used the mineral for decoration and aesthetics. Cobalt isn’t just a part of components that make functional marvels of engineering, it’s a crucial part of what makes them look superb. Just like our agency, cobalt as a mineral integrates itself into the engineering and design world to create products and creations that look as good as they work.

In the modern era, cobalt is the one element that keeps the world turning. It’s in our phones, our laptops, our chargers, our batteries – behind almost every worthwhile invention, Cobalt had a chance to play a pivotal part in making it work and look great. This is exactly the type of approach we here at Cobalt Design take to our projects; relishing the chance to create beautiful, human-centred designs through our collaboration and integrated design teams.

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10 years of keepcup

10 Years of KeepCup

10 Years of KeepCup

For the last decade, the Cobalt-designed KeepCup has changed the way people drink coffee around the world.

Abigail & Jamie Forsyth first approached Cobalt in 2008 looking to develop a new reusable coffee cup. The brother and sister team had a decade of coffee-related insights running their café ‘Bluebag’ in Melbourne, and sought to reduce the use of the thousands of disposable cups they were giving away to customers every week. Reusable cups already existed, but none had captured the hearts and minds of consumers.

Armed with insight, Abigail & Jamie engaged Cobalt to develop what would become the iconic KeepCup. Originally titled Project ‘Infinit’ (given the re-usable nature of the cup), Cobalt finished refining the cup in July 2008. Ten years later, over 8 million KeepCups had been sold, diverting potential billions of disposable cups from landfill across the globe.

Watching the success of the KeepCup over the last 10 years has been professionally satisfying for us at Cobalt. From the Original KeepCup has stemmed further design variants, including the KeepCup Brew, with a tempered soda-lime glass body and sustainable cork band, or the KeepCup LongPlay which features a removable Tritan booster to increase durability, retain temperature and protect the user’s hand from heat.

Here at Cobalt we’ve been proud to share this journey with KeepCup as their design partners for every detail; from the cup’s iconic silhouette to giving technical support through all production steps.

KeepCup has surpassed milestone after milestone in the last ten years, such as being named Melbourne’s Business of the Year in the City of Melbourne’s Business 3000 awards in 2009. Other awards have included the USA Gourmet Product Award, the Australian Eco Buy Award, Most Innovative Product Award from the International Autumn Fair in the UK, as well as a suite of other international victories, commendations, and finalist places. The worldwide success of the KeepCup brand has also opened them up to partnerships with leading brands, like their partnership with Sea Shepherd or the exclusive Star Wars KeepCups.

Something worth far more than the accolades, however, is the way that KeepCup normalised the perception of reusable coffee cups. The proliferation of knock-off & imitations is evidence of the real behavioural change Keepcup’s design has fostered.

We look forward to applying our creativity for another decade to keep KeepCup as an exemplar, sustainable product.

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