Hey, I’m Richard - one of the founders and CMO of TipStart. Even though my role has "Marketing" in it I look after everything visual at TipStart from the initial creation of the brand down to the internal admin panels User Interface (UI). It’s going to be the brand, as well as the process we went through as a team over two years ago now that I am going to explore today, hopefully shedding some light on how a company (and specifically our company,) builds their brand. Don’t worry, this is not a step-by-step guide. There are lots of ways to build a brand. But this is how TipStart came to life.
When Samuel first came to me with the initial idea for TipStart, the Powerpoint was titled, Tipster. The fundamental idea was to connect people who had the industry knowledge, with graduates that needed that knowledge at the start of their careers. Which we hoped would allow them to rebalance the odds. However, the connotations to gambling as well as the connection to horse racing (not exactly a sport of the masses), meant that the name needed more work. We had some pretty laughable options. Enjoy the shadenfreude. But before that, let me set out what I thought were the principle assumptions that would drive our brand needs.
Okay so now I will let you see the (reduced) list of the names we looked at… oh how it could have been different.
We now all know that we landed on TipStart.
It felt as though it talked to the aim of tipping the balance in people's lives. Starting a change for them at a pivotal moment. As well as the idea that we wanted to bring about more significant change. Not only for individuals but also for society as a whole. After a last-minute panic over the domain, we had a name. The next step was how it would look.
The energy that goes into making the visuals for a brand is huge. You always want to make a beautiful brand, as well as one that can be flexible enough to exist in the real world. All brands look good when they are laid out in a presentation with cherry-picked applications of 6 sheets and million-pound tv campaigns. But that is not where a brand will live for most of its life, not in 2022 and not at a startup.
So that this doesn’t become too rambling, let’s start with the logo. Everyone wants it to be perfect however rarely can something be perfect for everyone. In the case of TipStart, hundreds of logos were created. Not all by me, some from designer friends across the country all pitching in to make a brand to do some good in the world. Here is a collection of those logos that we looked at and played around with in the process.
After seeing how we could push them and what sort of visual identities each logo could sit in, we refined our chosen one to the logo you see today. Yes, I am cutting a lot of the “boring” process out but who doesn't love movie magic and skipping right to the end?
In truth, the visual identity was made at the same time as the logo. But for this blog, I have separated them out. My rag-tag team of friends made quite a few different visual identities that could have brought TipStart into the world. Routes with more illustration, more photography, more colours and ones with fewer colours. I think there was even a complete mono-chrome option at one point. However, eventually, it came down to the practicalities of work. After this first big push was done it was going to be just me. Some decisions were made out of the reality we were in, the brand had to work for us. I couldn’t make social content, week in and week out with only three lovely animations and no budget to keep hiring illustrators. The same goes for lovely images and expensive video shoots. I have found friends will only be free resources for one business venture every decade.
The brand has evolved from when it first launched (just scroll down our old Instagram and you will see the shifts) and it will continue to do so. On a personal level creating TipStart and seeing it through to every touch point has been a great opportunity. I got to move away from my routes in the Branding and Advertising world and sat on the other side of the table. I was on all sides of the table, at the same time throughout. Being the studio, designer, client as well as managing my other founders feelings and ideas, always a tender task to explain why their taste is wrong. I am joking of course… mainly. There are many things I would do differently with the perspective of hindsight however my biggest takeaway in this process is to just do it! Try it out and see.
If you are reading this, you have seen how the brand came together and hopefully, you will continue to see how it evolves in real life over on our Instagram and TikTok. See you all soon, hopfully, in a fairer world.