Victor Fatanmi: Building Brands with Personal Storytelling

When asked to share a unique fact about himself that nobody knows, Victor Fatanmi chuckles before admitting that it's a difficult task, as he shares almost every aspect of his life on social media. 

As humorous as it is, this response highlights Victor’s ethos. He is a believer in personal storytelling and has used his mastery of it to create opportunities for himself. However, while these aspects of his person are evident today, to truly understand him, we must go back to the beginning of his journey.

Early Beginnings

Victor Fatanmi was born in Osogbo but grew up in Ife, Osun State. As a child, he was curious about life and had a million questions for anyone willing to answer. He was also very drawn to creativity and design. He would cut out pictures of footballers from newspapers and cello tape them to exercise books to create magazines, or use bottles to create trophies for football tournaments he organised.

His father had a library that Victor would spend lots of time in, not reading, but checking book covers for illustrations. He was drawn to calendars and the images that adorned them and had a particular fondness for dictionaries that contained drawings, learning the words accompanied by visuals. 

Victor's fascination with illustrations foreshadowed his future career, although he did not know it at the time. When adults asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, he gave answers typical of children his age, citing popular professions like pharmacist, architect - never designer.

Discovering His Path to Design

In 2010, Victor gained admission to study Estate Management at the Federal University of Technology, Akure. In his first year, he often spent time with his elder brother who was completing his final year at the university and running a magazine. Despite his inexperience, Victor was never shy about giving his opinion on the magazine’s design. 

After offering his unsolicited advice a few times, his brother asked him to go learn design from professionals since he clearly had an interest. However, since he could not afford the professional design classes, Victor began experimenting with design software on his laptop, eventually teaching himself the principles of design by studying the work of prominent designers and agencies.

During this period, he met Bolaji Fawole, who grew from being his roommate to a huge influence on his life and career path. Fawole’s more structured mindset and organisational skills complemented Victor’s creativity, resulting in a formidable partnership. The pair collaborated on business ideas, starting a design studio on campus together. 

Victor's burgeoning passion for design and entrepreneurship gradually overshadowed his interest in academics. By his third year, he had stopped attending classes, channelling his time and energy into honing his design skills instead. In 2014, Victor's artistic development and entrepreneurial drive converged in a pivotal decision - he dropped out of university to focus fully on building FourthCanvas, the design studio he founded with Bolaji.

Properly established in 2015, FourthCanvas has grown into a strategy-led brand design consultancy that has successfully worked with some of Africa's biggest brands, including PiggyVest, Nomba, and Ventures Platform, among others; offering a range of services, including brand strategy & positioning, visual identity, campaign & ad development, UI/UX design etc.

Building Fullgap

In 2019, Victor and Bolaji realised that automating administrative processes like invoices and contracts would make their work more efficient. They wanted to create a tool that could be used by both teams and freelancers who often struggle with recurring admin tasks. Originally built as an in-house product, the scale of their idea led to the incorporation of Fullgap as a separate company in 2022, with two additional founders joining them. 

Fullgap launched its MVP in April 2023, offering project management, client onboarding, invoicing, payments and many more tools. The platform's user-friendly interface and comprehensive functionalities make it a valuable asset for freelancers and businesses, allowing them to focus on delivering exceptional service without worrying about recurring tasks. Victor has successfully transformed Fullgap into more than a product — a movement tagged, “Power to The Creative Ones.”

Building a second company is a daunting challenge, especially when it is in a completely different industry from the first. But Victor, optimistic as always, believes that the key to building businesses that last is being able to live through the drag and figuring it out. 

Personal Storytelling

“I've always enjoyed the fact that you can make online friends. You can treat the internet as a big marketplace where you have a mic and people just listen to you.”

Storytelling, especially on the internet, has been an important part of Victor's work and brand, contributing significantly to his success. Even before he knew what the appropriate name for it was, he has always been interested in sharing his personal experiences, opinions, and journey. 

At FourthCanvas, and now Fullgap, storytelling has not only attracted investors but also fostered a sense of community around the businesses. For him, personal storytelling is more than just communication; it's a means of forging genuine connections with people, transforming strangers into supporters, clients, and even friends. 

Authenticity remains the most important quality to Victor, and he constantly urges people to see themselves as significant and unique enough to captivate an audience with their stories. More importantly, he wants people to get comfortable with sharing not only polished or finished parts of their story but also the raw, unfiltered experiences. By sharing these parts of their journey, people can resonate more deeply with their audience.

Victor’s interest in storytelling is not a strictly online affair either. Across various platforms like Founders Connect Live, Tech Cabal’s Moonshot, and many others,  he has shared his insights and experiences on storytelling. In addition, his online course on Selar offers practical guidance for those eager to leverage storytelling for personal and professional development. 

Shaping The Future

In recognition of his contributions to the advancement of brand strategy, design, and the future of work, Victor Fatanmi received The Future Awards Prize for Technology in 2023. His entrepreneurial journey, from self-teaching design principles to co-founding FourthCanvas and Fullgap, exemplifies the power of passion, perseverance, and effective storytelling in business.

As he continues to lead and share his narrative, Victor’s journey serves as an inspiration to others who are striving to make a difference in the world, and his commitment to empowering individuals and businesses is a reflection of his dedication to creating a better future for all.