Quick Reads

Why the name Étude?

Gonzalo Alatorre

Founder/Creative Principal, étude Digital

Well, I will admit that inspiration comes from the most unexpected place. Just like our colour palette and how we designed the website was inspired by the light I felt swimming in the open ocean, the name Étude landed in my lap from a piece of music and a bottle of wine.

Nothing significant has resulted from someone drinking a warm glass of milk

Every year for the last 14 years (sadly not this year with Covid), we have travelled to Florida with my wife and kids to enjoy the beautiful beaches and sunshine of Sarasota. Maybe ten or so years ago, I bought a bottle of wine to enjoy with my wife at the beach. This wine quickly became one of our favourites, and now it has become a tradition. Every year we have been back, and hopefully, every year we keep going back, we will enjoy a bottle of Étude Pinot Noir. I am not sure if it is the setting, or the company, or both, but it is a special moment when we get to enjoy this one bottle of Étude Pinot Noir at the beach looking at the Gulf of Mexico, seeing our kids grow.

Verklempt - talk among yourselves

Three years ago, when I started toying with the idea of rebranding, I came across a piece of music that just captured my imagination. Every time it comes up on my music feed, I get verklempt (talk among yourselves) and need to stop and think about it. It has parts that give me a knot in my throat, and it has elements that annoy me, yet at the same time amaze me with their complexity. It made me think that if I could describe the path we have travelled throughout all these years as we’ve grown and evolved in Creative Engine, it would be with this music. And guess what? The name of this masterpiece of music is Philip Glass’ Étude No. 17 for Piano.

Coincidence? Maybe.

Realizing that the name Étude seems to come across my path and always in exceptional circumstances, I decided to find out more about its meaning. I could see from its Latin roots that the name implied a study. But what about its context and subtext?


The dictionary defines étude as an instrumental composition, usually short, of considerable difficulty, and designed to provide practice material for perfecting a particular musical skill.

A set of études, like the ones composed by Philip Glass, are often explicitly composed in sequential order of difficulty to help the person studying the instrument.

Well, this resonated; it spoke to the history of Creative Engine. We have never settled with a particular level of complexity or sector. I have always felt the need to keep increasing the complexity level, pushing our boundaries and learning.

Our very first project was the brand identity and a simple 5-page website for Oyama Sausage. Fifteen years later, we have built projects of a very complex nature. We have even created an intranet, using WordPress integrated with Salesforce, where members from around the world can share a common membership experience to push their careers forward.

Even this website may look very simple, but it took many hours of hard work to get just right, and it is deceptively complex in its programming. Websites can be like car racing; if it looks smooth and slow, it is going fast.

The level of complexity of the projects has increased constantly; we have never settled or felt comfortable or that we have arrived.

Étude had to be it

I kept searching for a new name, but the name was in front of me all this time. Étude had to be it.

I will share below a few sources for those curious about this piece of music. It can be perceived as this monstrous, fierce composition, or it can be peaceful and inspiring, depending on who is playing it.

I am privileged enough to have married a wonderful woman who also plays the piano at a conservatory level. I asked her if she could learn this étude for me. She has been working on it for two years at least (which has also provided me with much free time to spend outdoors) as, apparently, it is very advanced. At some points, she has one hand playing six beats to a bar and the other hand eight beats to a bar (I don’t really know what that means, but it sounds impossible). Our house gets full of this hypnotic music when she plays this piece at home.

The kids and I, the dog, the appliances, the neighbours, you name it, we all stop and listen. The way my wife interprets this étude is all about that moment in time with respect for the silences and pauses. Not worrying about the future by rushing it or desperate to show her capabilities.

Great masterpieces have the ability to make the world around you stop.

That is my objective for every project; it is what I think of our team’s work. It is respectful of the moment, of the white space. It’s about giving your logo, website, brand strategy, or even a printed piece its moment in time.

Can you think of a better name than Étude?
Not me.

If you are curious about Philip Glass’ Étude No. 17, you can listen to it here. pour yourself a second glass of wine.

Apple Music  |  Spotify  |  Youtube




Gonzalo Alatorre

Founder/Creative Principal

AKA “El Presidente” - Gonzalo Alatorre is credited with discovering the Rolling Stones 40 years after everyone else.
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