International Institute of Buffalo
An involved identity for an inclusive Institute
One hundred years ago, the International Institute of Buffalo was a program serving foreign-born women. Today, the Institute is an established Western New York organization, serving thousands each year. The Institute offers integration; refugee resettlement and employment programs; provides services to survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking; offers translation and interpretation services to break down barriers; presents global education programs for students, adults and businesses; and hosts international visitors.
Our first order of business in creating a new brand and website for the International Institute was to deeply understand the organization and its mission. Our team conducted one-on-one interviews with stakeholders and partners around the country including human rights workers, politicians, academics, attorneys and executive leadership at other nonprofits. In addition to our one-on-one research, we fully incorporated perspectives from International Institute leadership, their Board of Directors and outcomes of the organization’s strategic plan. The result of this research is a new brand and website that supports the cutting edge, collaborative and nationally recognized human services work being done in Buffalo.
The composition of clarity
The new International Institute identity is multifaceted, working for the Institute in multiple ways. The logo art is based on Tangrams – a Chinese puzzle game where the player creates forms out of geometric shapes – allowing us to compose an identity system using a set of matching but unique icons representing the Institute and each of the four departments within. This approach allowed the organization to create an understanding and alignment about services and structure internally that were previously lacking, and separately establish the foundation for better communicating the services and mission of the Institute to the community.
The updated brand was used to create the foundational organization of the website, tying the brand strategy to the website content and user experience. The main navigation highlights each of the internal departments – New American Integration, Survivor Support, Interpreting and Translation, and Education and International Visitors – defining the structure and services of the Institute for key audiences and the community at large.
The site also engages users who are interested in becoming involved with the organization by seamlessly connecting them to opportunities for volunteering, donating or attending an event. Our Development team created integrations to make connecting with the community as simple as possible for the staff at the Institute. The new forms and supporting back-office workflows we created replaced a series for forms, email addresses and phone numbers users previously had to wade through.
A harmonious and bold result
The logo, colors, content and photography on the website combine to celebrate the people and cultures the Institute serves. The color palette for the brand represents security and harmony with a bold red accent that speaks to the strength and history of the International Institute. The tone of photography and content support those themes by showcasing the populations served and celebrated by the Institute. As the user explores the site further, they’ll find concise, but informative, information about services, events and the mission of the organization.