Instant naming: just add writer

Mike Reed
28 October 2016

Earlier this year I was at the Brand Nieuwe Conference in Amsterdam – the inaugural European cousin of the US-based Brand New Conference. (Laura and I were at that one too. I might find time to write it up soon, you never know.)

Over a beer there, I met Maarten Janssen, one half of design team Janssen & Valkenberg. (Or Valkenberg & Janssen, depending which one you speak to – a nice twist).

Maarten told me about J&V’s new self-initiated project: helping people learn to cook by turning recipes into graphic diagrams.

As Maarten put it: ‘You don’t build an IKEA flat-pack from an essay. So why should recipes only be written as text?’

They’d already worked out a graphic system for the recipes, which takes on a shape reminiscent of the sort of Wild West cactus you see in Warner Bros cartoons.


Everything about it was great – except the name.

Maarten and his partner, Fabian, had called their brand ‘Cook O’Graphic’. But they knew it wasn’t right. It was complicated, hard to remember – and had an entirely irrelevant hint of the Irish about it. Maarten asked if we had any better ideas.


The answer was there in the shape of the recipes, of course.

Cook + Cactus = Cooktus.

Simple, unique and – wonder of wonders – available as both .com and .nl.


So now it’s Cooktus. (And as well as the name, we helped the guys out with some editing on their launch announcement.)

It’s a lovely example of how events like Brand Nieuwe/New can spark new connections, ideas and collaborations. (As well as adding a nice example to our naming portfolio.)

And discovering Cooktus has been a personal boon for me, as someone who can barely make a sandwich without necessitating a visit to A&E and the procuring of an emergency takeaway.

So thanks, Cooktus. 🙂

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