A supplier of reactor solutions for the hydrocarbon processing industry had grown too fast—exponentially outpacing its own message. It desperately needed a brand and a story. Pull up a chair.
It’s complicated. What happens inside a reactor, that is. It’s called catalyst optimization, and for 25 years, Crystaphase had helped refining, petrochemical, and chemical plants worldwide achieve unprecedented reactor performance. They did so by mastering a highly specialized science and developing many amazing products.
Too many, actually. More often than not, customers would associate the company with the products it sold than the name it went by. Not good. They asked Pennebaker for help aligning their brand with their business goal, which was to leverage their reputation and expertise instead of promoting their product catalog.
Our strategy was to simplify the language of the science. Distill everything down to the simple proposition of performance. And communicate that in a message that was clear, relevant, and believable.
Following the Strategic Guardrails process, Pennebaker recommended keeping the name of the company, even though its flagship product offered greater name recognition. But it needed a new look. And a reason for being.
Through research, we learned that particle and poison removal in reactors—the way to reactor performance—was regarded as a kind of dark mystery. We wanted to emphasize that there is math behind the magic, structure behind the chaos, methodology behind the madness.
The new logo embodied these dichotomies, combining a continually changing internal element, represented by the Voronoi patterns, with an unchanging “C” icon. Endless solutions. One company. Clearing the path to performance.
Catalyst optimization is a serious business. And Crystaphase is a company of serious engineers—who seriously geek out over the mere mention of things like flow dynamics or inductively coupled plasma analyses. We wanted the website to capture not only the deep expertise of what they do, but the intense passion and personality behind it. Keeping the message clean and simple.
To reinforce this recurring theme of structured chaos, Pennebaker developed a short video that features examples of geometric precision in a seemingly random universe—fractals and Fibonacci patterns in everything from seashells to soap bubbles. The key to understanding, predicting, and controlling processes lies in understanding the science behind them.
Geometric lines, simple shapes, clean photography, open and uncomplicated layouts—this visual style further reinforced the Crystaphase brand story.
Since Crystaphase was in the business of optimizing hydrocarbon reactions, Pennebaker reasoned that the advertising should work equally hard at eliciting customer reactions. The efforts have been very well received.