When we did user-testing, Kip scored as gender-neutral name especially for younger testers (below 30). Within the current 13–18 group, Kip (along with Alex, Ryan, Corey, Harper) are now considered unisex names. You’ll find on all kids, regardless of gender.
The clip was a hat-tip to Sanrio’s Hello Kitty, and it seemed really cute to have a clip holding the penguin ‘tuft’ up. It also provided a second accent colour we needed to make Kip more distinctive. When shrunk down to icon size (which is the main use-case, as a face you can talk to) it doesn’t really look like anything — just a spot of colour. When we tested images and icons with the Slack botcommunity, most users would call Kip ‘he’ or ‘she’ depending on what they personally identified with.
To some degree, we designed Kip to be funny. Like, a dopey derpy penguin toddling off to do your errands. It felt ‘right’ to add the second colour/hairclip, and that’s what we did.