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BankBlackUSA

BankBlackUSA is an independent, grassroots organization with a mission to promote financial advocacy in Black communities and build upon the work of past generations to level the playing field and close the racial wealth gap.

BankBlackUSA logo around the photograph of a person looking directly at viewer.

Following the deadly police shootings in Black communities in July 2016, a group of like-minded activists took to Twitter to support the #BankBlack movement. Through their mutual desire to liberate the Black community from injustice, they created BankBlackUSA.

Through Instrument’s Build. Grow. Serve. program, we identified BankBlackUSA as an ideal partnership—their mission is one we profoundly believe in, and we were proud to partner with them to redesign their website, elevate their brand, and create an extensible platform that supports the brand’s movement through impactful storytelling.

Creating a voice that captures the movement

To ensure our messaging captured the magnitude of the #BankBlack movement, we worked with the BankBlackUSA team to sharpen their brand voice. We clearly defined a set of attributes which were used as guardrails to ensure copy was always cohesive and recognizable as belonging to BankBlackUSA.

This was especially important for their blog to ensure it aligned with the gravity of their mission. It was repositioned from a basic blog to Capital B—a celebration of power, strength, and cooperation of the Black community with interviews, articles, and press releases surrounding the #BankBlack movement.

Three mobile phones showing different pages of the blog.

Refocusing the brand around its origins

As we refocused and sharpened their brand, we recognized the historical significance of the existing brand and wanted to expand upon it. To pay homage to their origins, we modernized their existing logo—which was inspired by the intersections of Tulsa’s Greenwood District, one of the country’s most prosperous Black Wall Streets in the early 1900s—by building a visual system around its shapes and humanizing the Bank Black movement through bold, action-oriented typography and a vibrant color palette.

BankBlackUSA Logo

Framing the future of the movement

Leveraging the modernized logo, we built a visual system that used the unique shapes of the intersections as a framing device for photography across the site. Each block or intersection serves as a canvas for our photography—which aims to show the breadth, diversity, and vibrancy of the Black community.

Shapes containing images of people that are used to make up the BankBlackUSA logo.

Honoring Black makers and designers

In emphasizing the need for banking Black, we felt it important to support Black designers and makers in the process. In doing so, we created infographics inspired by the work of W.E.B. DuBois—a famed sociologist who created groundbreaking data visualizations on institutionalized racism—purchased typefaces from Black designers, and supported Black-owned photography sites to bring the brand to life.

Collage of inspiration from W.E.B. Du Bois for the site.
 Infographics inspired by the work of W.E.B. DuBois.

Building trust through collaboration

For the team behind the organization, BankBlackUSA is a labor of love—with volunteers from all over the country coming together to advance the cause in addition to working full-time jobs.

As outsiders to their organization, is was essential to build trust and treat their work with the utmost care and respect. To accomplish that, we conducted stakeholder interviews and kicked off a highly collaborative discovery process to ensure that both of our teams were fully aligned on the future of their brand and website—working hand in hand to define goals, their audience, and a collective way forward.

Collaborations and partnerships on digital post-its.

Considering communications across channels

While the BankBlackUSA website plays a major role in advancing their mission, it’s just one piece of their online footprint. To best support the organization’s communication goals, we took a holistic view of their digital ecosystem—defining the role that each of their channels play, providing best practices informed by a competitive landscape audit, and offering considerations for the types of content they could create to achieve their goals.

To support BankBlackUSA’s ambitions for the long-term, we created an expansive design library to achieve consistency in their future work. From plug-and-play social assets to a robust set of brand guidelines, the design library provides BankBlackUSA with a strong foundation to build from as they move forward in their mission.

When you’re in the trenches, you rarely get the opportunity to stand back and take in all you’ve accomplished. Instrument gave us that chance. They served as a prism of sorts—a conduit for casting our work, its opportunities, and our potential as an organization. They forced us to dialogue with all we’ve done and unearth possibilities that were previously unforeseen. We’re now sharper and more focused as we traverse forward, and we have Instrument to thank for that. ”

Robert Herring III — Co-founder

Design

UX / UI Design
Art Direction
Visual Design
Creative Direction
Motion Design

Strategy

UX Strategy
Information Architecture
Content Strategy

Engineering

Technical Strategy
Front-end Development
Prototyping

Content

Launch Ready Copy