In today’s post we discuss how we came up with WHIRL’s name and brand imagery. We also demonstrate how even the technical decisions behind WHIRL contribute to its mission of inspiring a whirlwood of good around the globe.
Like naming a child, naming a startup is a vital task that will shape the startup’s trajectory for life. Before we came up with the name “WHIRL,” we set out to check three boxes.
First, we wanted a name that was simple, memorable, and universally recognizable. Think Amazon or Apple. We wanted a name that could translate easily across languages and be shared in one breath. Most blockchain companies choose techy or complicated names with words like “node” or “crypto”. We needed a name that was accessible and welcoming to people who weren’t necessarily tech-savvy. “WHIRL” was a word that even a child could speak with a smile.
Second, we wanted a name that communicated our long-term investment in the company. The biggest challenge for a blockchain project is to establish credibility, and we knew that a one-word .com domain name would do that instantly. We could have saved money by compromising with a longer name, like “payitforwardcrowdfunding.com” or with a cheap domain like “whirl.cc”, but how could we ask for 100% commitment from you if we ourselves were taking the cheap way out? It was an expensive negotiation, but we’re thrilled to have WHIRL represented by one of the best domain names in the world: whirl.com.
Third, and most importantly, we wanted a name that communicated our project’s function and vision. WHIRL accomplishes this task handily. It communicates the adage “what goes around comes around,” or that by giving today you’ll receive more tomorrow. It communicates a sense of repetitive progress. That helping someone will cause them to in turn help someone else, and so on in endless loop. And it communicates how, unlike other crowdfunding platforms, making a fundraising campaign on WHIRL isn’t a one-time activity: we expect people to work their way up the ladder, launch a campaign, close a campaign, and then start the journey all over again.
We hope you love our name as much as the love we’ve put into its selection.
With our name devised and secured, we needed a logo. Our logo would be comprised of two elements: the font and the image.
For the font, we wanted something that was simple, yet expressive, to match our whimsical name. We chose Neue Haas Grotesk, which is simple, classic, bold, and also a little playful.
For the image, we wanted to avoid the visual cliches that blockchain companies lean on, like nodegraphs or cryptographic symbols. We decided upon a series of concentric circles. Concentric circles communicate WHIRL’s vision and functionality well. One circle represents a loop of giving and receiving, of starting and finishing and starting again. And multiple circles getting bigger represents WHIRL’s mission of spreading its giving mission far and wide. It also represents the concept of “paying it forward” — where by helping someone, you inspire them to help others on and on in a progressively increasing ripple.
WHIRL’s brand imagery is simple, and immediately iconic.
Now that we’ve talked about our name and logo, let’s talk about three ways that we designed our platform technically to live up to its pay it forward presentation.
First, WHIRL has both a cryptocurrency and an internal, non-crypto points system called “karma.” Putting the cryptocurrency aside, karma is an entire economy that incentivizes and rewards good behavior. For every dollar-equivalent you spend to back a campaign, you earn 7 karma (10 if you back it with WHIRL’s crypto). Karma can’t be bought, sold, or transferred, it’s inextricably tied to your account: your good deeds become a part of you.
Karma is what powers WHIRL’s philosophy of paying it forward and giving today to receive much more tomorrow. As a campaign backer, you’re incentivized to give without needing a t-shirt or pointless knick-knack in exchange. As a campaign creator, you don’t have to worry about shipping your backers prizes or begging friends and family for donations. You ask and you receive without any friction.
To create a campaign on WHIRL you need 500 karma. And karma determines how quickly you move through the queue to go live. Once your campaign launches, you can raise $1 per karma you’ve accumulated, and once your campaign closes, your karma resets to 0 and you’ll be so pleased with the funds you’ve raised that you’ll start fresh and keep giving to climb back up the ladder. Everyone receives in proportion to what they give. It’s a fair process that takes luck out of the equation.
Second, WHIRL isn’t just a new form of crowdfunding, it’s a new form of financing. No one would use Kickstarter or GoFundMe to buy a pair of fancy sneakers, but on WHIRL, that’s perfectly fine. So long as your campaign doesn’t involve illegal or adult content, you’re free to use it as you like: no one will judge you.
Raise money for your art project, scientific endeavor, business venture, grad school tuition, or medical expense. Because WHIRL is a global platform, powered by the blockchain, you’ll raise funds from people around the world who are brought together in mutual self-help. Your donations won’t even be limited to one or two cryptocurrencies: WHIRL supports 12, with more in the works. We are a financing platform for everyone, for any reason, everywhere.
And third, we’ve architected WHIRL to be safe for crypto newcomers. We couldn’t create a friendly and welcoming brand and then make it a homework assignment to use! WHIRL is usable like your favorite consumer website or app and, more importantly, it’s secure. You can store crypto funds on your WHIRL wallet with confidence because we fully insure all funds while they’re stored on our platform and we protect them with a proprietary cold storage rotation system. WHIRL’s technology disappears so your giving and receiving can take the spotlight.
As you’ve seen by now, WHIRL’s brand identity isn’t just skin-deep; it seeps through our every design and technical choice!