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Creative spark: The big bets we’ve taken on creativity

10 March 2022
Lisa NguyenTia Alisha
Lisa Nguyen

Most SaaS startups don’t prioritize hiring full-time artists, particularly in the early stages. Founders have different ideas about what resources are needed to build a successful high-growth software company, and an artist on the team typically doesn’t make the cut.

That’s one of the (many) reasons Dovetail stands out for creatives. The founders’ early vision held brand on the same level as design, development, or customer success. They understood from the very beginning what effectively deployed creative work can do for a business. Today, along with its product, Dovetail’s brand is one of its most compelling assets. And the creatives who have worked here from the early days have been vital to its success with the nascent investment continuing to return dividends.

If you’re wondering what it’s like to work at an organization that considers creativity as central to its mission, then read on to see what members of our creative team have to say about their experiences working in software, why they moved into tech, and the impact they have across the business today.

Lu—Senior Visual Designer

In my opinion, custom illustration is pure brand magic. Unfortunately, many organizations see it as a luxury that they don’t have time for, but it’s no secret that the best brands invest in creativity. Suppose I made a Venn diagram of distinct and memorable brands and those that have employed illustration beautifully and strategically in their creative arsenal, there’s lots of cross-over.

And there’s a reason for that. Illustrations quickly provide tone and atmosphere. They give the time-poor customer a wealth of data at just a glance. It’s also a great way to slow the viewer down—to encourage them to peer more closely and take in all the details. And just like logos, colors, and typography, illustrations aid brand recognition. They also provide visible evidence that the company takes time and care to refine its image, and the product itself inherits that impression and assumption.

The impact of illustration is often challenging to measure. It can be an uphill battle to justify the investment and redirect time and spend. So when I saw that Dovetail was already championing illustration as part of their brand magic—and had not one but two full-time illustrators in-house—I knew there was something special happening here.

Lisa—Artist in Residence

After working as a graphic designer at an agency for a few years, I decided to pursue my illustration passion full-time. In a fortunate turn of events, my now colleague reached out via email—she wanted my help to create Dovetail’s brand illustration system. Suffice to say; she’d piqued my interest. It’s rare for a company as small as Dovetail (with 11 employees at the time) to bring on a full-time illustrator to create unique illustrations from scratch. Since Dovetail didn’t have any visual brand guidelines, I wanted to make something extraordinary.

After about six months of creating custom illustrations on the fly, we went through a company-wide brand refresh. This included creating brand guidelines that could help us scale creative at Dovetail. We had weeks of branding workshops that incorporated cross-functional creativity, sprawling brainstorms of new and exciting approaches, and discussions around our core values and how we’d translate them into our new brand. After weeks of reimagining the brand, we rolled it out across all of our channels—just like that.

Today, I’m proud to say that Dovetail’s illustrations are among some of the most recognizable elements of the brand.

Tia—Artist in Residence

When my friend sent me the Illustrator role at Dovetail, I couldn’t believe my eyes. The respect for illustration as a core brand pillar that is somewhat commonplace in Silicon Valley or Berlin was nowhere to be seen in the Australian market. Could this be the first point in a wave of change?

I had to know more, so I stalked the existing creative—Lisa. It didn’t take me too long to uncover a captivating assortment of her work, and to say I was impressed is a complete understatement. From what’s she’s achieved at Dovetail to her personal pursuits, this girl is a hands-down inspiration. So naturally, I wanted to work with her.

Now I find myself working not only with Lisa but with an awe-inspiring team whose collective vision, drive, and ambition keep me motivated to push boundaries and keep exploring my creative potential. I’d like to think I’m not only speaking for myself when I say this—we’re building a brand and product that I genuinely believe in, and, for me, that makes the experience all the sweeter.

Are you looking to get creative with us? Why not mosey on over to our careers page and have a gander at all the open roles we’re currently looking to fill!

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