REV Ithaca Startup Works

When three regional academic institutions, along with the support of NYS funding, join forces to focus on helping new businesses flourish, you know they are serious about job creation. In Ithaca, Cornell University, Ithaca College and TC3 all collaborated on creation of a new incubator to help spur the development of new startups in the city. They asked Iron Design to help create a unified new identity for this new venture that didn’t reflect any of the aesthetics of the 3 academic partners. Our first task was to create a dynamic name that would reflect the high-energy atmosphere of the space, then tie in simple but powerful brand elements, so that all the audience touch points would connect with a cohesive, elegant brand aesthetic. Like any good start-up, the identity continues to grow and evolve as Rev grows to multiple floors, over 40 members, and one of the best startup spaces in all of the Eastern US.

ClientRev: Ithaca Startup WorksServicesBrand Strategy | Naming | Branding | Web | PrintYear2014

Naming An Economic Engine

We began this project by working on a name that would reflect the speed and spirit of the companies who would become members of this great new start-up space. Contenders that didn’t make the cut: Nextle, SparkHouse, Ithaca Dev Lab, New Sprout, DiBi, and Platfarm– just a few of the hundreds of names that came out of the process. We had a ton of fun with our naming team, but eventually Rev was the winner, hands down.

Researching Space as a Brand

Since this brand would encompass so many details, not the least of which was interior color palettes and design elements of the actual space it occupied, we began with space research. Along with the team at John Synder Architects we scoured architectural imagery, fixtures, carpet colors and wall textures to see what types of materials could come into play. Energizing orange walls, environmentally sustainable composites, clean wood grain, and concrete grays emerged as dominate colors & materials that felt like the right vibe for the new space. We began mood boards to look at how all these influences could work together to inspire typography, patterns, textures and colors.

The Hexagon Angle

Typography that could convey the modern, clean space and simple, efficient work esthetic was a priority. The hive hexagon was a shape that kept re-merging in our design process, and began to embed itself in some of the textures and patterns, especially manifested in the multicolored floor tiles.

With an intense design sprint to hone and fine-tune the final logo, the clipped ‘r’ became the single signature of the final brand mark. Done in collaboration with CobP Design.

Key Services


Brainstorm hundreds of names, and then develop a short list of finalists, each reviewed and checked against competitors to make sure it was protectable.


Generate a wide array of unique concepts for the brand experience, and then manage the selection process to ensure all stakeholders had a voice in the final direction choice.


Manage a cohesive array of assets for a wide variety of applications with key stakeholder institutions, architects, vendors, and media.

“The Iron team did a fantastic job developing and managing a creative and cohesive brand, from naming & brand development, right through website and exterior signage."

— Shane Trost, Senior Director, Brand Communications, Cornell University

All photography courtesy University Photo at Cornell University

Brand Repository

With a brand project with so many stakeholders, it was critical to be able to share elements quickly and efficiently. We utilized the BrandFolder™ tool to allow all the essential brand elements to be available in the Cloud from any location. This made it possible to download all logos, colors, messaging, fonts, photography and even support graphics from a common directory, for easy access for all team members who touch the Rev brand.

Privacy Preference Center