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Case Stories

CMA: What’s Kumiko anyway?

How we’ve made brand identity and website for CMA

CMA is an international company, primarily working with national banks and other such weighty institutions. So naturally, when we considered what to base their branding on, we went for obscure Japanese woodworking technique.

Shaping Up: About The Product

CMA provides tools to digitalize economies and to support digital economies. To reshape and update them. For example, letting the citizens of Bahrain transfer each other money on their phones. Their work helps whole countries, but the important thing here is how customizable the solutions are. While the problems of struggling economies are similar, they always have their own nuances and idiosyncrasies. Happy economies are all alike, each unhappy economy is unhappy in its own way. This is where Kumiko comes in.

Kumiko: Concept

We needed to highlight the modularity of what CMA provides, and to do so, we dug deep. Dug so deep, that we ended up in ancient Japan during the Asuka Era, characterized by many shifts in Japanese art and society, influenced by Chinese art and the introduction of Buddhism to Japan. Kumiko is a woodworking technique that was developed in this period, and it’s distinguished by assembling wooden objects without ever using glue or nails. Each piece of wood must be precise in its exact dimensions, and the final result is simple shapes coalescing into exquisite patterns.

Concept moodboard and early visualizations of the concept

Calm and cool-headed: Style

We had to keep this high concept down to earth. While you may have a highfalutin idea at the basis of something, the final result should be reasonable, should be approachable. This project is about providing digital solutions, but digital doesn’t have to be hollow and cold. To keep everything in the present-day without falling into those pitfalls, we used lively gradients without intense accents. This combination resolved in something that is soft yet confident.

Moodboard and visual references

Cells interlinked

Every website should be well-optimized, but it’s particularly important for the product providing digital tools all over the world. Despite our extensive use of 3D and motion, everything unnecessary been thrown out, up to unused symbols in the fonts. No matter where you are in the world, this website will load quickly.

To differentiate the products that CMA provides, we have not only color-coded them but gave each a signifying shape. Payments systems are rolling around, changing the shape and texture of paper currencies and bring them forward. Commercial banks are a diamond made of diamonds, a sharp and striking figure. Depository systems are customizable containers. And the services are complex and interlinked, bridging everything together.

For the accent font, we used RF Dewi, a multipurpose neo-grotesk that’s confident and sharp but that’s not too rough around the edges.


Like a simple shape, any idea can grow and change, going to incredible lengths while keeping its core. The important thing is that when you get inspired by the Japanese culture, is to dig beyond Origami. Keep up with us on our LinkedIn and check out this project on Behance.

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