Mixteca is a non-for-profit organisation providing essential services to Latinx immigrant communities in Brooklyn, NY. The support Mixteca provides to those communities ranges from mental health to adult education, immigrant rights services and more – following the belief that anyone has the right to thrive.
With this in mind, the organisation approached Trollbäck+Company with the intent to develop a new brand identity that would embody that ethos. The result was the incredibly vibrant and multifaceted work you can see below, a powerful identity that is quite rare to find in other charities worldwide and is certain to help the brand stand out.
Today we are getting Behind the Idea following a chat with Nadia Husain, Design Director at Trollbäck+Company.
What was the brief?
Mixteca needed a refreshed brand identity that evoked their evolving identity as an organization, and in the community. They are a vibrant, warm, welcoming pillar of the community, celebrating roots and heritage of the Latinx community, while helping immigrants thrive in the United States. The brief was to work with Mixteca to define and articulate their core brand values, and then create a visual identity that reflected those values.
How did the initial pitch/brainstorming phase go?
It was very collaborative! Knowing the brand strategy, we knew there were many different visual directions we could go. The early stages were all about exploring references and rough sketches to collectively identify what aesthetic felt right for Mixteca’s warm, strong brand. We made this early stage very collaborative – almost like a workshop – it was an ongoing conversation with Mixteca’s stakeholders. We asked: What mood or tone are you drawn to and why? What logo sketches are you drawn to the most and why? What colors and references feel right for the brand? Discussing and narrowing these choices were the key to focusing the design and moving forward with logo and design development.
Tell us more about the concept. How did it come to life, and why was it the right choice?
Through workshops and a lot of collaboration, we collectively decided on a visual language that positioned Mixteca as a shining, vibrant beacon for the community. They do so much for the community – not only do they advocate and facilitate immigrant rights, but you can also take a yoga class, or a computer class, learn English, get counselling, get health advice. Once we knew the action and emotions that rippled throughout the organization, what they were drawn to, their personalities, the rest was super intuitive. We knew the brand needed to feel warm, harmonious, welcoming, while also feeling energetic, vibrant, and confident. We wanted to evoke the powerful and meaningful ripple effects that their organization creates.
What was the production process like? What was the biggest challenge?
The biggest challenge was creating tools for their busy team that were not only beautiful and varied, but also modular and scalable in use. They are a small (and mighty) team, and we needed the brand to say and do a lot without a lot of finagling and “design” preciousness. How can we create tools that look good in a variety of different mediums — flyers, social, website — that reflect who they are as a brand, and are eye-catching and memorable at the same time? We created a loud, proud logo that feels impossible to ignore, yet still super warm and welcoming. We created a diverse, vibrant color palette where every color can work together and still feel cohesive. We created a variety of modernized Aztec-inspired patterns that could be used in a range of ways across all of their mediums. We chose a strong, bold (and free!) Google font so that web development could be seamless. It was really about making a system that reflected who they were, while also giving them the tools to make a lot of elements fast.
What’s the main message of the identity/project and why does it matter?
The main message internally was to enrich, equip and empower the Latinx community in Brooklyn and beyond. So it’s about empowering positive impacts in immigrant communities. This is a cause I feel so passionate about. I am the daughter of an immigrant, and I truly understand how much immigrants love and contribute to this country, even when our country doesn’t love them back. I want that to change. I want immigrants, from ALL parts of the world to feel welcomed here, to not be afraid, to not feel whitewashed, to embrace their culture while also enriching their lives in the United States. This was an opportunity to contribute to that change.
What is one unique aspect of the identity/project?
The overall goal of the project was unique, both for me and for our studio. It was about raising brand awareness and love for a pillar of the community, in service of contributing to the community as a whole. That dedication motivates everyone from Mixteca who we worked with. They are so passionate, so dedicated, and so loving – they are the definition of warmth and strength. Building Mixteca’s visual identity was one of the most fulfilling projects I’ve ever worked on. It was more than fulfilling—it was lifegiving – to activate my skills to empower a strong facet of Brooklyn’s immigrant community. It makes me realize how contributing to your local community can have so much impact on so many lives.
How long did it take from inception to delivery?
In total it took about four months. And even though this project was non-profit work, we didn’t treat it like a part-time or after-hours project. We gave it full-time energy, just like we would with any project. To be able to dedicate full days-- full weeks-- to think about it made a world of difference. I would recommend that every studio gives their creatives full-time dedication to projects that contribute to community. It’s an investment that goes beyond money.
What do you hope it achieves for the brand?
I hope this project gives Mixteca greater brand awareness and love, I hope that it empowers them to raise the funds they need to strengthen their community. I feel the visual identity reflects who they are – warm, welcoming, strong, vibrant, a second home. I want people to want to contribute, not just because they are a wonderful organization, but because it looks so fun and so hip to be a part of.
Credit list for the project?
Executive Director of Creative Strategy: Bo Bishop
Creative Director: Nadia Husain
Designers: Nadia Husain, Koda Ko
Senior Producer: Betsy Jones