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The Congress of Neurological Surgeons is the largest neurosurgical society in the world and the global leader in neurosurgical education, serving to promote health by advancing neurosurgery worldwide through innovation and excellence in education. With more than 8,000 members worldwide, the CNS provides global leadership in neurosurgery by inspiring and facilitating scientific discovery and its translation into clinical practice. The CNS maintains the vitality of the profession through volunteer efforts of its members and the development of leadership in service to the public, to colleagues in other disciplines, and to neurosurgeons throughout the world in all stages of their professional lives.

The CNS asked Design for People to refresh their branding to better reflect their innovation and appeal to a younger generation of neurosurgeons and neurosurgical residents in their prospective membership.


While the CNS wanted to have a modernized look-and-feel to reflect the cutting-edge nature of the educational resources they provide and appeal to a younger generation of neurosurgeons, they also wanted to preserve the history of the seal to represent the distinction and knowledge of the experts and veterans of their membership and executive committee.

The CNS needed a new “brand story” to differentiate themselves from their competitors and to communicate the vision, mission and brand attributes to its target audience. The brand would be relatable and accessible to the medical student, the resident, to the neurosurgeon and also to hospitals and employers of all shapes and sizes.

Project Approach and Results

A dynamic brand is at heart a story, with a unique voice and unique appeal to our targets. It is eminently possible, too, for a medical association to own a brand with emotional appeal. The drama of learning new skills and advancing in one’s career is a story of its own. The Congress of Neurological Surgeons is helping neurosurgeons in various stages of their career find appropriate resources, training and information to reach their career goals. It stands for prosperity and optimism. There’s drama in that story.

With that story top of mind, we created a branding system that helps neurosurgeons and aspiring neurosurgeons want to become part of a community where they can find the educational resources they need and grow in their careers.

We created various sizes and layouts for all the various representations and layouts the logo would appear. From there, we created a methodology for the CNS sub-brands for programs, partnerships and products that stand under the CNS umbrella.

We started by analyzing the market research and brand pillars. Then we went to the drawing board to refresh the logo with elegant illustration that preserved the essence of the historical seal, all the while modernizing it for the new target audience. Paired with smart, distinguished typography, we had a winning result.

We created the guidelines for the CNS brand so others may follow the path towards preserving the solid structure that provides for brand recognition while pursuing the many avenues and streams of innovative work that is done by it’s many members and partners.

The brand expressions carried through printed materials and social media.

CNS Logos
CNS logos sub brands
CNS Oral Boards Review Ad

The CNS brand was carried further with the branding for their flagship review course for the career-changing ABNS Oral and Written Boards.

CNS Spotlight Ad

The CNS Spotlight was created to highlight new educational and journal products for CNS’s Neurosurgery highly acclaimed monthly publication.

CNS Poster

We designed the CNS membership drive poster for display at CNS’s annual meeting.

The refreshed brand was a prime highlight at the CNS annual conference. We designed custom booth designs. The brand pillars were displayed alongside product demos and promotional booths.

2017 CNS Annual Meeting

Mobile App Design

With CNS’s fresh new brand, they needed to refresh the look of their powerful learning and performance support apps. We redesigned their apps with their own individual sub-brands that reinforce the CNS brand umbrella.

CNS Guidelines App
CNS Nexus Cases Category
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A collaborative performance support app where neurosurgeons and residents can view real neurosurgical operative techniques and approaches before heading into the operating room.
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CNS Nexus Cases CategoryCNS Nexus
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