Designing a startup identity

Bipsync case study (part one)

Designing or re-designing the identity of a startup can be a daunting exercise. This is especially the case when that startup already has a solid team of investors, advisors and staff who have been integral to growth in those first important years.

The re-design of the Bipsync identity was no different. Everyone agreed that the existing identity needed rethinking — that was the easy part. The hard part was deciding what to tackle. As a small startup we didn’t have the luxury of a large creative team with months of development time to create an all-encompassing brand experience that the megalithic brands of today invest in.

Instead, we decided to focus on a narrower range of equally important touch-points that would immediately affect our customers experiences at product launch. The touch-points included the website, logo, tone of voice, colour and typography. Not over-burdening ourselves at the offset meant that we could progressively refine these initial touch-points.

We set ourselves a number of challenges well before pencil touched paper in the creative process. We wanted to focus on brevity and clarity to set a standard for all future copy writing, so we undertook an exercise to describe Bipsync in one sentence. It sounds easy, but it’s not. We could all explain what Bipsync did in a few sentences, but we all said it slightly differently.

We also spent time focusing on how we are different. We all knew Bipsync was different, but we needed to clearly enumerate the key benefits that differentiated us from competing products. These included:

  • Our commitment to designing for the user.
  • Being a purpose-built product for professional investors.
  • Making it easy to connect an investors data and research.
  • Being able to sign-up and use Bipsync in under a minute.

Writing these down gave us the starting blocks for the copy-writing process and helped us to focus on creating a stand-out identity.

Once we’d gathered and made sense of all our scribbles, the creative process began.

It wasn’t a linear process, and could never have been. Like many agile startups, we continuously improve on what we’re doing. Everything is a better iteration of what was before. If we had silo-ed off the re-design of our brand identity, we would have been less able to react when we’d discovered something new. For example, we would not have been as reactive to the way a user interacts with written content in the app or a major visual improvement in the user interface. By adopting a progressive approach to design, we are able to reflect improvements in the app within the brand identity.

Over the course of a few months, we designed our new logo and website, produced a tone of voice and developed our brand guidelines. However, importantly for us, the process was about learning. We developed some interesting approaches, most of which will never see the light of day. But, having never sat down and discussed small identity details like colour, typography and words in such depth before, the process gave us the chance to deliberate them as a team and learn about the things we knew were important to us but were yet to vocalise.