Introducing Embr's New Look and the $6M Reason Behind It
We've got some cool news for you
Embr Labs has a brand new look, which we’re launching today with the announcement of our $6M Series B financing, led by DigiTx Partners.
This financing is a major milestone that will enable us to accelerate our movement into wellness and digital therapeutics with Thermal Wellness, the new category that we’re bringing to the world.
The big idea behind this financing, and our corresponding rebrand, is that temperature is an untapped power source for wellness. We’ll get more into this later.
You can read more about the Series B announcement here.
This rebrand is more than a story about different color palettes and fonts. It’s about us looking inward, and making sure our outside appearance matches our growth, goals, and purpose as a company.
Our brand centered our technology, but not the people who used it.
Our old brand identity was drawn heavily from the standard tech playbook. There were bright colors, German sans-serif fonts, workshopped taglines filled with action-heavy buzzwords. Our logo, a square with a sine curve going through it, was created specifically to highlight our technology: Embr Thermal Waveforms. It looked nice enough, but after a while, we realized it didn’t get at the root of what we are about.
When we started, we identified as a tech company, founded by a bunch of nerdy tech guys, who may have discovered a kind of solution to the problem of being too hot or too cold, with— you guessed it—new tech.
But as time went on, we learned more about the impact that our technology was having on the wellbeing of our users, from improving the ability to manage stress, to bettering sleep quality, to helping people gain more control over their hot flashes. In the meantime, our company grew larger, more diverse, and filled with perspectives that expanded our understandings and assumptions about what Embr Labs was and where it could go.
This is a story about these realizations that lead to our drive to make a change, and the process we went through to make it. It’s about how we went from a company with a fun new gadget that could make you feel a little more comfortable to becoming the world’s first Thermal Wellness brand. And yes, it’s a story about different shades of purple.
Where We Started
As our origin story goes, Embr Labs began in an MIT lab that was so over-air-conditioned, we found ourselves needing to put sweatshirts on in the middle of summer. It made us wonder: if heating and cooling entire spaces is always going to leave some of us uncomfortable, why not heat and cool individual people instead?
Left to right: Founders David, Sam, and Matt in the early days of Embr Labs
Embr Labs was launched with that insight: Temperature is personal. If we can give people the power to control it, they will be more comfortable. We built the prototype for Embr Wave back in 2013. (At that time it was called “Wristify”, which is all you need to know about our mindset when it came to playing from the classic tech handbook.) We were lucky enough to get press coverage from Wired, Popular Science, and The Today Show. The Wired profile suggested that Embr Wave could make “Air conditioning obsolete.”
We launched Embr Wave on Kickstarter in September 2017, and it took off instantly. Within an hour, we eclipsed our funding goal; and by the end of the campaign, we had over 2500 backers ready to get their hands on a Wave Bracelet. A few months later, the first batch of Waves made their way into the world.
Temperature is more powerful than we thought
We always believed deeply in the capacity for temperature control to have a big impact on the lives of people (I mean, we started a temperature company). Even with all of our research behind us, though, it took the experiences of our customers for us to get a fuller scope of the potential that our technology, temperature as therapy, really has.
When we started getting feedback from customers about the various ways that they’ve used the Wave to improve their own personal wellness, we decided to dig deeper. We collaborated with Johnson & Johnson Innovation to learn more about how we can unlock the potential therapeutic powers of temperature.
It turned out that our findings from this study matched up perfectly with the kinds of feedback we were hearing from Wavers about the effect that the device was having on their lives.
From how immediate cooling at the beginning of a hot flash can help reduce the duration and intensity of them:
“I was skeptical of this little device achieving what it was advertised to do. Yet it works. Feel a hot flash coming on...hit the cooling button and it goes away. Best invention ever invented for women dealing with this problem.” - Barbara M.
“I have the ability to do something about my hot flashes now,” she says. “It’s been a lifesaver.” Laurie J (pictured), Avid runner, triathlete, mom of two teenagers, breast cancer survivor, and Waver
The ways that altering skin temperature can improve sleep, inspiring us to create the Wave’s Fall Asleep Mode:
“I enjoy using it for sleeping because I get warm at night. It is very soothing wearing it to sleep” - Nancy
How an emerging field called Social Thermoregulation shows us that there is an intimate link between temperature and mood regulation:
“I have bad anxiety and I get really hot during a panic attack. I wear [the Wave] and turn on the cool and it really helps me when I’m having an episode!!! Obsessed with it!!” - Lauren C.
And how customers with MS reached out to us through Instagram and email to share how temperature sensations were helping them manage the daily thermoregulatory issues that accompany the condition.
“Bought for my daughter who has M.S. She has issues with heat and cold. This is perfect for a quick warm-up or cool down. It's comfy to wear, easy to put on and easy to charge. Ty from the bottom of my heart…” - Sharon B.
All of this information strengthened our resolve: our product is more than a nifty gadget; it’s a device that can improve the daily lives of those who use it.
Once we had all of this feedback and research about the potential therapeutic powers of temperature, we held our breaths and took a big step: we had a meeting. (Well, we had a lot of meetings.) We talked as a company about where we were and where we were headed.
And we realized, simply, that our current marketing and branding just didn’t reflect what it was that we were doing. Nor did it really explain well what the device did, or how it worked, or its strong scientific underpinning. People were still confusing us with coffee mugs and mood rings (to clarify: we don't make these things).
We were left with some big, existential questions about our brand. Do we stick with “Embr”? What could Thermal Wellness even look like? What kind of tone should we adopt? Are we using the right shades of purple in our logo?!
After some soul searching, lots of Google Docs, a ton of help from our good friends at BBBABEL, and many trips back to the drawing board, we have a new brand identity, with a new color palette, photography, and typeface.
All of this goes live today across our website, mobile app, and packaging. Let’s walk through it:
Our Company Wordmark
I know what you’re thinking: “That’s an uppercase E!” You’re right, and there’s more where that comes from.
We designed our new wordmark with science and symmetry in mind. The gaps in the lettering all line up as points on a sine curve, which both highlights our Waveform technology and also creates a pleasing, cohesive geometry.
Apologies to eleventh-grade math teachers everywhere for saying "we'll never use this stuff in real life"
In the often opaque world of “Wellness,” we know that people are wary about bringing new technology into lives that are already inundated with screens, notifications, and charging cables. If we’re going to recommend anyone brings a new device in their life, we want it to be as well-designed, well-researched, and practical as it could be. And we want our design to reflect that mentality.
Our Product Wordmark
For the last two years, our only product has been the Wave Bracelet. Because of this, the way we talked about ourselves could get a little confusing. Was our company Embr Labs or Embr Wave? Was it just The Wave? Different people across different departments across different days could each tell you something, well, different.
We’ve decided to clarify this for you (and for us). Embr Labs (Just “Embr” for short) is our company. It’s our group of engineers, computer scientists, creatives, and Charlie, our office dog. We love hard facts, well-tested ideas, and geeking out about the little things.
Charlie, Embr Labs team member, honorary VP of Squirrel Chasing and Ear Rubs
The Wave is our product, an intelligent bracelet that helps you feel colder or warmer by 5ºF. It provides comfort, lets you cool down from stress, and helps you fall asleep at your ideal temperature.
Our new product wordmark
The Degree Emblem
Next up was a fresh look at the logo, previously a square with a wave passing through as a way to highlight our Thermal Waveforms. As we began pivoting towards a change in direction in our messaging, we realized that this emblem didn’t serve the purposes of our newfound identity. It was too narrow, too tech-focused, too constrained. We wanted to highlight all aspects of our company, and quite literally, think outside the box when it came to our branding.
As the first Thermal Wellness company, we wanted to have a logo that reflected what made us different from other kinds of wellness technology. Our thing is about temperature, and what better to reflect temperature than the universal symbol for it?
We loved the degree symbol for a few reasons. For one, it’s a simple, recognizable shape, with plenty of potential for different ‘degrees’ of meaning depending on its color, animation, and context.
The degree symbol leaves tons of room for creativity and iteration
When positioned before our ‘E’ or within the Embr Labs wordmark, it’s a mixture of the old and the new. The degree symbol beside a letter a widely understood alignment, and the “E” is our original twist.
Our new mobile app icon
On top of that, the degree symbol does a better job communicating the actual function of the Wave. Contrary to most first impressions, our technology does not change your core body temperature. It rather changes your perception of temperature. Which is what we (and our customers) know is what matters. At Embr Labs, we’re thinking about temperature differently.
Colors and Serifs and Fonts, Oh My!
Having a device with functions that are literal opposites of each other (cooling and warming) makes branding harder in a lot of ways. Luckily, we have the color wheel on our side. We muted our colors to suggest calmer, more natural energy.
For fonts, we landed on Century Gothic Pro to be our hero. A new twist on an old classic, we found that it perfectly complemented our modern solution to an ancient problem. When things get serious, we’re throwing on serifs and using Caslon. For your upcoming trivia night: Caslon is the font the Declaration of Independence was written in! We’re proud to have our website join this elite league of documents (though we realize it probably won’t have quite the impact).
Athena, our new brand personality
With the overhaul of our design, we needed to make sure that the voice of our company matched up with the visuals of it. We wanted our brand personality to reflect the energy, enthusiasm, geekiness, and compassion that is present in our everyday interactions at the office.
“Athena,” the name we gave our brand personality, epitomizes this energy. In a world that normally doesn’t spend its time thinking about all of the possibilities that temperature has to offer, Athena does. She’s ready to go the extra mile to get people on board with her, and she uses her impassioned voice, creativity, and sense of humor to do so.
As a company whose goal is to make temperature improve the daily lives of people, we want you to feel like we’ve got your back. And Athena certainly does.
What “Embr” stands for
Did you know, that this entire time, hiding in our company name was an acronym? If you didn’t, you’re not alone. Not a ton of people know the full meaning behind our name. But Embr wasn’t just a word we picked out of a hat and then slashed a vowel from to keep it trendy—Embr stands for Environment, Mind, Body, Resonance.
Where so much technology is centered around distracting from the world around us, we wanted to create something that helps you feel more in tune with it. Temperature cuts through the center of how our minds and bodies interact with our environment. Resonance is all about when these various elements are on the same wavelength—figuratively and literally.
The key insight has always been there
That’s more or less the story of how we got here, and where we’re going. In some ways, this is the beginning of a whole new chapter. We have a new design, a new outlook, a growing team, and a new mission.
In other ways, we’re just continuing forward on the path we’ve been on—one of self-improvement and self-awareness, focused towards making the best product we can for our customers.
The insight has always been there: temperature impacts the way we feel. And it’s never been just us saying that. Humans have sought out temperature to improve how they feel for thousands of years. Fire pits. Hot baths. Polar plunges. A warm hug. You know what we’re talking about.
At Embr Labs, we’re dedicated to making temperature personalizable and controllable. That way, we can enable people to harness temperature to improve their wellbeing.
This is why we’re finally giving a name to the work we’ve been doing and will continue doing. Embr Labs is the world’s first Thermal Wellness Technology company.
Towards a future of wellness,
The Embr Labs Team
(Who never has to fight about the office thermostat)