Tia's new look and feel: a peek behind our constantly evolving brand built by women, for women
The Making Of

Tia's new look and feel: a peek behind our constantly evolving brand built by women, for women

By Allison Ball
VP, Creative, She/her

8 min read

Today, we debuted a new brand identity across Tia's digital and physical locations. Our new identity reflects our evolution from an app to physical clinics to a leading women's healthcare platform — on a mission to bring a new standard of care to women everywhere. As Tia's creative lead and an early employee, I'm excited to give you a peek behind the curtain into how our brand has evolved and how our community continues to be our guiding light.

She's loud, she's here, have no fear.

After a few years of testing, feedback, and lots of help from friends in medical school, in 2017, we officially launched Ask Tia: a chat-based app that helped users answer questions about birth control, sexual health, insurance coverage, and more — the answer to WebMD or Google. We wanted to help young women better understand their health in a body-positive, sex-positive, judgment-free space. Our brand voice was full of bold personality and sass, and our branding was full of bright colors and bold fonts.

As part of the chat app, we named the “voice” women would chat with “Tia,” which is Spanish for aunt. The name symbolized the trusting, human relationship we aspired to create with women when it came to their health. It worked - our early users described chatting with Tia like a "conversation with your best friend in med school” — equal parts emojis, Beyonce GIFs and science translated for the lay woman.

We also developed our "Tia Figures" as a central way to visualize our brand and communicate the diversity of identities, bodies, shapes, emotions, feelings, and experiences that we aspired to serve. We believe that all women are unique and different and wanted to celebrate this diversity in our brand.

The med student graduated. She's a provider now.

Soon after launching, we learned that women were bringing the Ask Tia app into the doctor's office with them, attempting to get better care. They’d message us and say “Hey Tia, why do I have a deductible?” or “Which IUD should I get? My doctor didn’t explain my options.”

Although we didn’t realize it at the time, what we were doing is known as care coordination, or clinical decision support and navigation. We started asking ourselves: "what if we become the doctor?" We realized that information was step one, but information connected to care delivery was ten times more powerful for women. At that moment, we made a pivotal decision: we would design a full-service healthcare experience that put women at the center. We would take the essence of the relationship we created with the Ask Tia app and recreate that same feeling in an exam room — making the relationship between a patient and a provider feel human, trusted and affirming.

Opening a physical doctor’s office meant we needed to translate our digital brand into a physical one, so we got to work learning what women wanted. We launched a site for women all over the country to give us input on what a first-of-its-kind medical home for women could look like. We learned that women wanted silky robes, which we also prototyped with them. We learned that women didn't like cold clinical clinics (who does?) but ones full of life, color, and warmth. We learned that women felt dehumanized and confused by all the forms they were required to fill out every single time they went to the doctor. We learned that women wanted to be part of a community and to be treated as whole people, not parts.

We now had enough intel to begin designing a medical home for women that included:

  • Living rooms instead of waiting rooms with comfortable soft couches, plants, and lots of reading material
  • Colorful clinics to ensure they felt warm and inviting with murals from local artists
  • A digital sign-in experience so patients wouldn’t need to fill out stacks of paperwork
  • dropping the “Ask” in our name while keeping the trusting relationship we wanted to cultivate with our patients by naming our company and clinics simply “Tia.”

In 2019, we opened our first brick-and-mortar clinic in New York City and hosted a big party with our members to celebrate the very first medical home for women that they co-created along with us — a one-stop-shop for women’s health.

In 2020, COVID-19 hit. We were forced to temporarily shut down our physical clinic and go back to redesigning women's healthcare — this time, "virtual-first" and with a laser focus on the "second pandemic," the mental health crisis. In six weeks, we created a virtual care platform, keeping the brand identity that resonated so well in our physical space while referencing the bright colors of our chat app roots. We also evolved our illustration style and tone to reflect the growing breadth of our care, now incorporating physical and mental health into a comprehensive care experience.

Whole woman, whole life

Today, Tia is a women’s healthcare leader treating women across the country and throughout their lives. In addition to New York, we've opened clinics in Los Angeles, Phoenix, and San Francisco. We serve thousands of women, aged 18-80. We've expanded upon our medical home offering to include gynecology, mental health, and acupuncture. We’re on a mission to become THE women's healthcare leader, defining and designing "a new standard of care for women".

We also announced partnerships with premier health systems like UCSF Health in San Francisco and Dignity Health in Phoenix to bring Tia to more women across the country. With these partnerships, we can ensure more women can access both high-quality women’s primary care and the nation's best specialty care in an integrated model — furthering our vision to defragment women’s health beyond our four walls.

A few months ago, we took a long hard look in the mirror. We realized our brand was not resonating with some of our new members. We were stuck in our roots and leaving out women who didn't identify with our brazen, youthful spirit. We knew we needed to evolve how we show up in the world.

Introducing…Tia’s evolved brand identity

Our team got to work seeking to evolve Tia's brand identity to reflect our "whole woman, whole life" mandate. First, we brought on an in-house interior design team to upgrade the look and feel of Tia’s spaces. Next, we hired a diverse, women-led team from the New York-based branding agency Athletics to support us on the digital side. The next few months were full of collaborative work sessions, stacks of materials and samples, user research and feedback sessions, and many conversations about Tia's identity, now and in the future. Finally, after more than half a year of dedicated work, I am excited to share our new identity, co-developed with our community.

So what's new?

  • A new approach to color that includes many warm (but still bold and saturated) earthy tones inspired by nature to help patients feel warm, cozy, and at ease.
  • New fabrics, materials, and colors in our physical spaces to help our clinics feel warmer and more welcoming.
  • Wherever possible, we added soft curves to reflect the natural curves found in nature and our bodies.
  • A new illustration system that celebrates the human hand, symbolizing the many beautiful imperfections our bodies and lives come with.
  • A new figure illustration system that celebrates the range of shapes, sizes, feelings, expressions, and lived experiences women have.
  • New fonts to give our voice more range and connect the dots more clearly between our care's clinical, science-backed nature and our human voice.
  • New photography that celebrates real women's bodies (and features real Tia members).
  • A patterning system that symbolizes how everything is connected in our "whole person" approach to healthcare, and a secondary pattern created from microscopic images of healthy breast and uterine tissue cells, signifying our commitment to being "science-backed."
  • A new mural system that we created alongside providers and other Tia staff members where we encouraged them to get creative and hands-on and helped them be a part of co-creating our new brand representation.
  • And an updated logo with and a lowercase "t" to keep things human and approachable.

One thing we decided to keep: our hot Tia pink. We decided we wouldn't let stereotypes determine who we are. Our Tia pink felt true to us. It's the signifier of our spirit that we didn’t want to lose: women can be bold, we have something to say, and it's time women are heard!

You can access our complete branding guide here and share your thoughts about the new look on Instagram. My team and I would love to hear what you think, and your ideas may inform the next evolution of Tia's brand identity.