by Danny Greenwood, Brand Designer at Birdie
As soon as I joined Birdie, the passion for what we do was obvious. With startups things move fast - but the ambition at Birdie to help our care partners reach even more care recipients multiplies this, making it faster than anything I've ever experienced. To support this fast pace, Birdie needed a brand that could keep up, and bring to life what the amazing people at Birdie do without any painful design approval or asset creation bottlenecks.
Step one: Understand what the audience need
Understanding our primary audience, the people in the social care industry, was key. From my research speaking with care professionals and businesses, two stand out insights for me were
1. The immense structural, demand and monetary pressure on the industry itself
2. The amazing array of individuals that work in the care industry
These insights led me to the first conclusion; making sure the information can be quickly digested whilst still having character. Our audience worked hard; their time and headspace to take in information is even smaller than usual.
Step two: Translate that into initial mockups
The challenge now was to find a way to bring Birdie to life in a way that was creative while remaining relevant for the care industry. To accomplish this, I compiled partner research into moodboards and created mock ups for feedback.
Spending time on gathering feedback of ideas through the use of mock ups is critical; visuals help get to the point fast and efficiently. We can all talk about good ideas, but more often than not they don’t look like anything you expected visually! It is always good to discuss briefs and talk ideas - but cutting down the talk until after the visuals quickly determines how to develop and reveal optimum ideas faster.
Beyond using mock-ups to enhance discussions, one other key piece of advice I have for designers is to have a reason for everything in the mock up - and when getting feedback, to ask 'why?' for both positive and negative comments. This helps you decide the next steps: do you go down that road, compromise or develop something new from it? Don’t put pressure on yourself to be the individual that comes up with the perfect idea all by yourself; listen to what people say and act.
Accessibility was also key motivator for our font and colours, with time being a huge factor for our audience. It's all about making the information as digestible as possible. Poppins has a bold and tidy style that represents the experience we intend for our product whilst supporting the style of the logo. Atkinson Hyperlegible was a really important discovery from Oxana in our product design team; this font has been designed to be easy to read and was a no-brainer to be our paragraph font. The care industry has a lot of vulnerable people that rely on carers to support them, reading relevant information is vital and this font removes a potential issue.
The result from all of this research and feedback carried out was that Birdie needed to be a brand that was warm, friendly, and approachable while remaining very clear.
Step three: Hone in on what makes you stand out
One thing is very noticeable about Birdie in the space; the name! Up until this point, the name was not largely referenced externally in any design or copy elements beyond a few bird puns here and there. However internally, the different teams within Birdie are all named after birds based on their function - this includes the Ostriches, the Parakeets, the Ducks and the Hummingbirds. The clear pleasure that the team have from making this connection was is exactly what I wanted to replicate in the brand. Then, hearing what our care partners thought of these internal team names further informed my decision to incorporate an actual bird into the brand; they loved it!
To back up this, I looked into the the role birds themselves play in people’s lives - studies show that the hey are companions that bring joy, comfort, and companionship to their owners in a similar way that human relationships care do. Perfect.
Step four: More focused mockups
Firstly I created different bird characters that represented the teams; talking to people, this quickly became complicated. In design, you always have to keep it simple, so I went back to the drawing board and looked at creating one bird. The bird that at the centre of the brand couldn't just be any bird; it had to be a representation of the all-in-one product that Birdie offers. It is also a representation of the people that make Birdie so great. These are the people who are passionate about caring for others, who are dedicated to making a difference in people's lives, and who understand the importance of companionship in the care industry.
So, I started creating mockups with just one bird. This is where the feedback got very interesting! One huge moment of the research was the discovery that using birds in visuals that illustrated human activities received negative sentiment, usually a 50/50 split on the reaction. I was not comfortable with this, as some of the feedback remarked that visuals like this - where the bird was chatting on a phone or using Birdie tools - were not taking the industry seriously. So, a solution to this was instead using the bird as a companion on the journey, and making it not do the things our audience were, but just being there for when they needed support. This went down like a treat!
Step five: Define, refine and stay creative!
I wanted to create a brand that was both relevant to the care industry and that captured the essence of what makes Birdie such a special force for good. To do this, I focused on the people that make Birdie so great - our care partners, the care recipients they care for, and the Birdie team that work hard to support them with technology. The bird direction brought so much potential with all parts of our brand, the passion to help our partners grow - or fly in our case!
In conclusion, the Birdie bird is now a true representation of the company's story and spirit. From our side, technology and Birdie are ever growing and developing - just like birds who are always on the move, flying, exploring and interacting. It captures the essence of companionship and passion that are at the heart of the care industry. It demonstrates the power of listening to customers and understanding what they want and need.
The result is a brand that is not only relevant to the care industry but that is also warm, friendly, and approachable. This is an exciting time for Birdie bringing in a simpler style that we can grow and develop giving opportunity to all at Birdie to be creative.
Want to work alongside Danny and the team at Birdie. Check out our open roles here:
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