Strategy   Design   Process   
What's with that name, 15 Finches?!

15 Finches sounds kinda funny...

Correct. But you won’t forget it, will you?

We spent quite a bit of time exploring various names, over 400 actually. In the end, we picked a name that was a little bit risky and a little bit funny sounding, but it had a ridiculous amount of stickiness. Most importantly, the name 15 Finches, while somewhat playful and unexpected, has a very important meaning that relates to what we do and what differentiates us from the typical agencies. Let’s dive into some of the characteristics and reasons that we think make the name strong.

The simple fact that the name is unusual makes it more memorable and the alliteration of that "fif-fif" sound adds to that memorability. In addition, the name passes the 7 criteria for a good name as listed by Marty Neumeier in his book "The Brand Gap":

Distinctiveness. Does it stand out from the crowd?

Brevity. Is it short enough to be easily recalled and used?

Appropriateness. Is there a reasonable fit with the business purpose and entity?

Easy spelling and pronunciation. Will most people be able to spell the name after hearing it spoken?

Likability. Will people enjoy using it and saying it?

Extendibility. Does it suggest visual interpretation and creative executions?

Protectability. Can it be trademarked and is the url available?

While we don’t think of the list as a hard and fast guideline to follow, it offers a solid gut-check in the naming process. Without drilling down into the specifics of each individual criterion listed here, we think the name 15 Finches scores high marks across the board.

Alright, so what’s the meaning of the name?

To understand the meaning, first we have to talk about what makes us different and why that was important for coming up with our name

We work with startups over time to help them differentiate, adapt and excel by offering various creative, strategic, product and engineering services. While we do work with some clients in the typical fixed scope, fixed fee payment fashion, we have developed a unique partnership model that we think works better for startups.

Here’s how it works - We offer startups any and all of our services on a flexible basis, adjusting our team, what we are working on and the amount we work over time in order to most efficiently support our clients. This allows for our startup partners get all of the work they need done, by a team who knows their businesses well in a way that reduces excess work, time and costs. By only charging our startup partners operating expenses, we can reduce their burn rate and in turn, we are incentivized by receiving some equity. We think of ourselves as true partners who help our portfolio companies grow and adapt over time in every way that we can.

Okay, now back to this finch thing

A little history of Darwin for you - A major discovery was made by Charles Darwin during the survey voyage of HMS Beagle at the Galapagos islands. Due to the absence of other species of birds, the finches that Darwin discovered had adapted to new niches. Each species adapted differently over time to the unique environments in order to thrive and survive. The beaks and bodies of the finches changed, allowing them to eat certain types of foods such as nuts, fruits, and insects. The finches played an important part in the inception of Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection.

So, what did we see in Darwin's story that hit the mark perfectly for us?

The background story is not only well known and captivating, but it allows for a substantial brand visual identity system that comes along with a unique message that has an incredible meaning, which highlights what we do. Here are a few key points that the name 15 Finches brings to the table from a branding perspective:

1. The finch head - an intuitive visual for the name, which darwin sketched obsessively, documenting the different shapes and sizes. 2. The idea of evolution - adapting and thriving is ingrained in the name and this is at the core of what makes us different than other agencies and service providers. This comes to life in our branding (and logo) through sketches, diagrams, evolution trees, process notes, etc. 3. Personality - the finch doesn’t take itself too seriously. It has a friendly, light and somewhat whimsical nature that works well for our own company DNA.

Finch head/evolution tree logo sketch exploration

The logo design

We created many variations of logo design concepts internally that we explored for the 15 Finches logo. This process is always more difficult and less clear when you're doing it for yourself than for a client. Nonetheless, we were able to find the elements of the brand story that were most important and executed a final logo that extracts those meanings and embodies our personality. The two primary elements seen in the logo are below:

  1. The obvious visual element in the logo icon is the finch head and the recognizable beak. While the mark is a clean and minimal concept, it is executed in a sketch style to reference the original finch sketches in Darwins influential notebook, which gives it a unique quality.
  2. The less obvious visual element with significant meaning is the 15 evolution tree paths that extend from the single point on the left. This references the unique and successful survival and diversification of the finches in the galapagos (and also our portfolio companies).
Branded sketch pattern inspired by Darwin

Interested in learning more about 15 Finches?

Reach out to us at Want to build something awesome together? Send us a note

linkedin [#161] copyCreated with Sketch.