Creative Boom: Mother Design devises dynamic and impactful new identity for Brooklyn Org
Often, areas on the outskirts of a major city can seem a bit sprawling and lacking a sense of cohesive identity. As anyone who’s ever listened to The Beastie Boys will know, though, Brooklyn does not have that problem.
Located on the westernmost edge of Long Island in New York, geography should have destined Brooklyn to be the neglected younger sibling of the moneyed powerhouse that is Manhattan. Yet despite (or perhaps because of) bordering the nation’s commercial capital, the second-most-densely-populated county in the United States retains a strong sense of community and a clear idea of what it stands for.
It’s in this light that design studio Mother Design has created a new brand identity for Brooklyn Org, formerly known as Brooklyn Community Foundation: the first and only public foundation solely dedicated to Brooklyn’s charitable community.
Mother is also creating an advertising campaign based on the call to action, ‘For the Love of Brooklyn’, to introduce locals to the organisation. The campaign, which will debut later this autumn, will highlight how easy it is to support philanthropy via brooklyn.org.
Background and brief
Brooklyn Org was founded in 2009 as Brooklyn Community Foundation and aimed to encourage more significant investment in the borough’s nonprofit community. Since then, it has moved $100M+ to nonprofits through strategic grantmaking and Donor Advised Funds.
The organisation has also built a reputation among community foundations globally for advancing new models for participatory grantmaking and community engagement and organising community action for racial justice, Covid-19 and immigrant rights.
Acknowledging that fundamental challenges remain, the foundation wanted to relaunch with a new strategic plan and a call to action for every Brooklynite to join this new and growing movement to address inequity and injustice across the borough.
The new name signals that Brooklyn Org is a gateway for learning about the vast, innovative, yet underfunded nonprofit sector in the borough. Despite being home to 30% of the city’s population and 30% of the city’s nonprofits, Brooklyn organisations receive just 7.6 per cent of charitable funding.
Inspired by the density of Brooklyn, the visual direction created by Mother Design, which worked on the project pro bono, pays homage to the close-knit, diverse community that makes up the borough and feeds its sense of ambition and confidence, both at an individual and collective level.
The wordmark is inspired by Brooklyn’s famed neighbourhood blocks. The typography, called Community Gothic, has been designed by Frere-Jones type foundry.
The colour palette allows for a high level of versatility and reflects the richness of the local community. Mother Design has also created a framing device inspired by postcards from Brooklyn to hero its people and iconic landmarks.
The website at Brooklyn.org, meanwhile, has been designed as a hub for understanding the challenges communities are facing and pooling resources to support local nonprofits. It tells the stories of changemakers working in the borough and offers visitors an opportunity to make an impact by supporting them through memberships, merchandise, and more. It also offers nonprofits one simplified entry point to apply for funding.
“Our designs capture the spirit of Brooklyn and provide the organisation with a fresh visual identity that matches their dynamism and all the impactful work they do, day in and day out,” says Danielle Horanieh, managing director at Mother Design. “Being based in Brooklyn ourselves, we’re honoured to have worked with the now Brooklyn.org for the rebrand of its next chapter. This organisation has been influential in empowering social justice initiatives that benefit the local communities.”
Brooklyn Org was publicly unveiled at the Brooklyn Changemakers Ball at Weylin in Williamsburg, hosted by comedians Ana Gasteyer and Phoebe Robinson and raised money for its grantmaking to Brooklyn nonprofits.