Catch up with our Chief Creative Officer, Mark Dowsett, to find out more about the thinking behind our brand. Here he discusses why he left his day job to join a brand new startup, what work/life balance looks like for him, and what the future has in store.
What does your day-to-day job involve?
My primary responsibility is looking after how we look and feel as a brand. This is a really exciting role that covers everything; from creating our visual identity, how we communicate with our different audiences, through to product development and the user experience and design of the platform itself.
How did you get involved with Yourbill?
In my previous role, I’d worked with Aaron and the rest of the team for a number of years on a whole range of digital projects. We’d built up a close, strong working relationship and I knew the skills that they had as well as a good understanding of their approach and work ethic.
So when they approached me my heart said yes and my brain wasn’t too far behind (after a few conversations with my wife). At that time I was giving up a very successful and rewarding role in the creative industry for a role in a self-funded startup, so it needed thinking through, given that I have a young family to support. But as with all things, if you want it and believe in it, you can make it work and I was working full time with the team a few months later.
How do you balance running a business, building a start-up and having a home life?
I’ve never been someone who totally conforms to the idea of work/life balance – or maybe I just haven’t got it right!
For me, it is really important to work on something that you believe in and enjoy doing, so when the balance shifts too far into work (as is often the case – especially with a startup) it doesn’t feel like a chore.
And as noted in my previous answer, I’m also incredibly fortunate to have a wonderfully understanding and inspiring wife and children who can swing the pendulum back the other way (and make sure I’m kept equally busy at home!).
What was the inspiration behind the brand identity?
At the heart of our brand DNA is ‘Experience More’, which acts as our compass when we are making decisions, whether that be product development, business strategy, employee incentives, etc. Once the DNA was in place I started on the visual identity.
I wanted to create an identity that was true to who we are and truly reflects our approach. It also needed to be distinctive in the competitive environment and appeal to our target audience.
I built the brand around the idea of bold simplicity, so everything is stripped back and focused, without any unnecessary elements or details. The colour palette is clean and bold, the typography has an elegant simplicity, the iconography a clear narrative and the photography brings in the human touch.
The final element of our identity was how we sound – it’s just as important as how we look but it can easily be overlooked. We wanted an approach to our verbal language that was simple, concise and conversational. When you start to combine the elements, the identity truly comes to life and honestly reflects the overall experience we set out to create.
What companies do you aspire to be like?
I’m impressed by companies that appear to have a similar objective to us, albeit within other sectors where there’s already proven demand for the service and they’ve figured out how to do it better and make it simpler.
Companies that may not have a totally new idea, but they certainly have a revolutionary or radical approach compared to that which others are doing in the same space at that time. And companies that don’t sit still, that continue to adapt and evolve, given the continually changing environment of technology and user needs.
Companies that I believe fall into this category are Slack for their messaging and communication tool, Stripe with online payments and, most iconic, Dyson with their home appliances.
What does Yourbill mean to you?
As a creative, it’s a rare opportunity to work on a project where, as a professional, I would benefit directly from the outcome. Yourbill is truly designed ‘by us for us’ and as such it’s incredibly rewarding to be involved.
Describe Yourbill in 3 words?
Intelligent. Bold. Simplicity.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt while creating Yourbill?
Aside from how to improve my own bookkeeping skills?! I think for me it’s not necessarily the biggest lesson, but the biggest challenge has been in us collectively arriving at the feature set for launch.
We have a clear objective to make things simpler and stripping back on possible features is a large part of that – but that needs to be measured as we still need something that people want to use! So not an easy task but a fundamental one, and one we overcame but constantly revisit to ensure we are still building the right platform for BETA.
If you started again, would you do anything differently?
I genuinely don’t regret anything we have done so far. However I am sure when we are a big, successful company in the future we’ll look back and think there’s something we could have done differently – and I look forward to that day!
What does the future hold for Yourbill?
I firmly believe exciting times are ahead.
We’re entering the market with a unique proposition and our eyes and ears wide open. If we listen to our users, keep a close eye on the industry and stay true to our core objective of putting experience first, we’ll continue to evolve and offer a product with a clear distinction in the market, attracting a strong following of freelancers and small business owners.