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Provoking community-wide social dialogue with 904WARD

Posted by Natalie Spindle on Jan 8, 2018 11:04 AM

How can we get the community engaged in social issues not always openly discussed? That is the question 904WARD challenged Brunet-García to answer as it shines a spotlight on social inequities in Jacksonville, Florida. In fall 2016, Brunet-García began the development of a brand identity to advance the dialogue around race, identity, and important social issues.

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904WARD, a Jacksonville-based initiative founded in 2015, focuses on creating opportunity, recognition, and equity within the city. The all-volunteer group mobilizes Jacksonville’s private, public, and nonprofit sectors to create an inclusive community for all residents.

“When 904WARD first came to Brunet-García, our entire team was intrigued by the group’s mission,” said Account Manager Chad Villarroel. “I really enjoy the brand identity work we get to do and appreciate that 904WARD turned to us for a memorable brand to supercharge their amazing work.”

The group sought a brand identity to effectively communicate their purpose in a provocative way. 904WARD’s logo should be memorable, contemporary, and welcoming to people of all backgrounds. The square element of the mark incorporates negative space that connects to the opening of the W, creating a dialogue box that perfectly depicts the tagline: “Dialogue to make a difference.” The identity offers immense flexibility depending on the application. 

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“This design element is a nod to the importance of difficult conversations, no matter how big or small the issue may be,” said Creative Group Head Katy Garrison.

904WARD was thoughtful about the use of color in the logo, but also understood the risk of using only black and white. This presented an interesting challenge to Brunet-García’s team: How do we assign color to their identity without utilizing colors that might have negative connotations? By using an unconventional color palette and a gradient, the design incorporates a little flavor.

“The first step in challenging norms and solving issues is to open up a dialogue,” Garrison said. “This notion of driving change through necessary, often times difficult, conversation is what this logo is about.”

The group also tasked Brunet-García with a project to act as a catalyst for initiating these necessary conversations. The Race Cards were the brainchild of Alicia Somers, Sunny Gettinger, and Imani Hope, and gained the overwhelming support of the entire 904WARD membership. Knowing change starts at the community level, this group of activists wanted a tool to help introduce important dialogue and ignite community action. A true passion project, the group turned to crowdfunding to propel the idea to reality.

904WARD supplied the initial content for the Race Cards, and Villarroel made key edits to ensure readability. The questions are thoughtfully crafted to engage community members in important discussions. The Race Cards are designed for use with any small group—family, coworkers, friends, neighbors, faith groups, or fellow community members who have never met.

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Each deck of 52 cards contains provocative questions, such as:

  • When did you first become aware of your race?
  • What do these hashtags mean to you: #blacklivesmatter, #bluelivesmatter, #alllivesmatter?

Questions span individual experiences, the state of justice, race relations, and perspectives on concepts like privilege and equity.

“904WARD intends for the Race Cards to be a catalyst for change in the Jacksonville community, and beyond,” said Villarroel. “The group wants this project to help people from all different walks of life, religious backgrounds, races, and ethnicities to gain a better understanding of one another and create perspective. I hope that richer perspective will open eyes and minds, eventually leading to equity for all people in our city.”

"I loved seeing the 904WARD branding evolve from a logo to the Race Cards concepts and ultimately into the tangible card deck," said Erin Colledge of 904WARD. "The Brunet-García team did a phenomenal job translating the logo and project designs across many mediums and purposes—from designs for the deck itself to the website and social assets to printed invitations, project overviews, and more!"

Each deck includes guidance on how to facilitate a meaningful conversation and create an atmosphere of respect, while challenging participants to consider how their own experiences in life shape their perspective.

Learn more about 904WARD, the Race Cards, and register to join the upcoming Race Cards launch event in Jacksonville on January 11.