All about Cardano’s brand reappraisal — Project Renovare

Cardano – Project Renovare

Guest blog written by David Nurse, Group Digital Strategist at McCann Dublin

We were delighted to work on the brand strategy and design of Cardano – a decentralized, open source, third generation public blockchain and cryptocurrency – with the power to change the world for good.

The Challenge

When the Cardano Foundation (the custodians for Cardano itself) came to us, it was still very much a product in the making. Our challenge was to develop the Cardano brand from multiple different points of understanding, into something that can be communicated and understood by the general public around the world.

Our Approach

We undertook extensive brand planning to understand one of the most complex technological platforms present globally. We conducted an extensive series of interviews with ambassadors, advocates, experts and naysayers, to really understand the positives and negatives and the broad range of perceptions of the product, the people, the company and indeed the entire category of blockchain. In order to bring clarity to Cardano, we needed to think about how we could bring clarity to blockchain in general.

It is a category understood by developers and academics in the field. But, it is still only emerging and evolving. Its use cases are growing. It is reminiscent of the world wide web before broad adoption. And, with that in mind – it has as much potential to change the world as the internet did before its wide spread use.

We reappraised and rebuilt the Cardano brand model; defining the purpose, position, values, behaviors, and proposition. Giving a sense of internal direction to the brand and product itself. Working hand in hand with the Cardano Foundation and its key partners from the ecosystem throughout the process to understand how Cardano could become the thought leader, first to explain and lead the market.

The Execution

We positioned Cardano as a platform for societal and economic change – a platform that could make a positive or good impact on the sector, industry, company, person and the future in general.

We created a clear set of brand guidelines, outlined real world application against numerous audiences for both Cardano and the Cardano Foundation – but also outlined the space that Cardano keeps and owns. Something that can be used and will stay true as the product develops into the future – but also then provides technical real world application guidance.

We consulted with the relevant teams as they applied the new brand to a refreshed consumer-facing website for Cardano. We also created a new site (launching July 2020) for the Cardano Foundation.

The Result

There is no doubt that it will take time for blockchain in general to be used and understood by the many rather than the few. But the positioning, creative and framework we have created has built the foundations to allow the Cardano Foundation to do just that. We have provided a structure that will give clarity now and in the future. And we are excited to see Cardano’s adoption into the mainstream in the very near future. To find out more about Cardano please visit:

Read the original blog here.


I was excited to hear the results of this effort. Glad to know the project is complete.

I had been advocating since last year that Daedalus and the minatour logo was too much for most people.

Did McCann Dublin have anything to say about IOHK’s eccentric mythology based names?


I admit, explaining Cardano to people in an honestly representative way is, at this point, sort of a chicken before the egg dilemma, but I wanted to point out a few logical inconsistencies in McCann’s decisions and messaging. This type of branding may be the best we can do at the moment, but in my opinion, it doesn’t scale, and there should be a planned move away from it.

Branding, by definition, is not a decentralized process. It’s top down symbol-making, which is fundamentally authoritarian.

A “third generation public blockchain and cryptocurrency” does not have the power to change the world for good. PEOPLE who independently decide to use a third generation public blockchain and cryptocurrency have the opportunity to make the choice to use it for what they decide is in their best interests. I don’t say good, because good is subjective. The people are the ones who take action and are responsible. Not the blockchain itself. This wording is important to get right. McCann got this wrong.

Designing a brand from multiple points of understanding will never be enough. The only permanent solution is to design game theory to maximize the number of unique voices who are incentivized to contribute data to influence what Cardano represents. Representation must come from the bottom up. At the end of the day, McCann chose who to interview, which introduced bias.

The same problem currently exists with how biometric databases are created. All corporate or nationalized databases are biased, no matter how diverse they are claimed to be. When collecting data, to truly be open and decentralized, there must be a market place to allow everyone in the world to choose their own reasons for participating and contributing data. Anything else is exclusionary and art directed by those at the top. Intentions play zero role in getting this right. Extensive interviews are not enough. Multiple points of view are not enough. Whichever adjective that means “a whole bunch”, is not enough, or rather, it’s entirely besides the point.

Naysayers is a derogatory and dismissive term. There is no class of persons who say “no”. Saying no does not define who we are. We all say no about different things at different times. Use of this word reinforces the destructive symbol-making that goes along with the concept of branding. It doesn’t allow for subtly. Branding is fundamentally lazy and incurious, the opposite of what decentralized technology aims to enable.

The idea of a “consumer-facing” website is problematic. References to being the next internet are made, but the internet is not a product, and those interacting with the internet are not consumers. If internet access is to become a human right, it cannot be a product. If access to our data is a human right, data platforms cannot be products.

The new website messaging may provide clarity in some directions, but it muddies the messaging in other ways. I hope in the future, no centralized brand planning is required at all.

If brand building companies still need to be hired in Cardano’s future, Cardano will have failed to accomplish what this new branding is trying to claim Cardano will do!

I hope McCann can realize that they are but one more middleman who will be replaced through the use of decentralized communication technology. I want Cardano to be a part of that, not a victim of it. #NotaNaySayer


It would be nice to pick up or make a similar series of easy and understandable videos about blockchain, how this technologie is evolving, how cardano fits in there etc. Monthly updat f.e to share on all platforms, social media and so on.
Last 2 people asked me to explain what that was as all about “this cardano thing”. Both people interested in tech and open minded to maybe become cryptoinvestors or even use blockchain in their companies.
I lack the deeper tech background to fully explain that so a talk often gets stuck in the illegal/ scam/ based on nothing … zone and I found out t difficult to counter that because the lack of background.
So I have always found the #adatainmemt videos very good. Let’s make them a fixed part of the cardano journey to reach out for the wider public, no?


Very pellucid @Dingier.
I think some of what you present here is echoed in my recent topic, albeit less constructively :thinking: -
Feedback on the Recent McCann Announcement