Athletics

Creative Ecosystems

Cultivating Black Connection

Our Role

Brand Identity Responsive Web Design and Development UI / UX Design

Collaborators

FK Screamer typeface donated by Florian Karsten, Studio Pro typeface donated by ThinkWorkObserve

  • Answering the call At the height of the 2020 Black Lives Matter demonstrations, Athletics responded to an open call seeking an agency partner to bring an intriguing idea into being.

  • New power source Activist-creative Annika Hansteen-Izora had a vision to cultivate Black creative ecosystems, communities led by Black people to advance art, creativity, and imagination.

  • For creatives of color Arm-in-arm, we set out to build an online directory of Black creative organizations that helps other Black creatives find resources, inspiration, and community.

  • Out of many, one The brand and platform we designed and developed connects individuals with like-minded communities ranging from galleries to incubators, publications to parties.

Origin story

The precursor of Creative Ecosystems was an extensive Google Sheet established by Annika to facilitate financial support for Black-led funds and creative organizations. Based on the overwhelming support this document generated, Annika had an ambition to build a more permanent platform dedicated to connection beyond investment, something akin to Image of the Studio, the directory of New York creative agencies launched by Athletics in 2013. Enlisting us as a pro bono partner, Annika challenged Athletics to build a minimum viable product that could continue the momentum of her Google Sheet to start building more enduring Black creative ecosystems.

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From list to system

Technically, our challenge was to create an engaging, beautiful, intuitive digital experience based on a simple list, without losing the clarity and ease of this analog format. For the individuals and organizations using the platform it needed to be effortless to self-create profiles, without intervention by the Creative Ecosystems team. In that sense, the site needed to be a living, breathing organism: an ecosystem unto itself. We’re honored to have worked with Annika and her team to bring this resource to the world, and are eager to see it flourish in the months and years to come.

Black creativity deserves to hold dedicated and intentionally made space on the internet. Partnering with Athletics on this project made it possible to create this online tool in support of that mission.

Annika Hansteen-Izora

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Intersectionality in design

The visual identity is rooted in the idea of support, togetherness, and intersectionality. To this end, dual typefaces swap display roles based on the context or type of content. The monogram embodies energy and potential through its spring-like shape, while also signifying intersectionality: the power of multiple forces or identities converging in a single form. The platform being fundamentally based on collaboration, we designed every aspect of the identity to co-exist with different organizations and brands, while retaining a clear presence for Creative Ecosystems as the curator and cultivator.