Cities United


Cities United


IDEO partnered with Cities United to refresh its brand to celebrate its 10th anniversary and boldly proclaim its mission to end the gun violence epidemic. Cities United already had a strong brand foundation with its stated mission, vision, and values. By articulating a promise, defining a personality, and seeding brand principles, we developed a playbook for tangibly expressing the passion coursing through their entire organization.

We created a new brand identity system that celebrates their inclusive, “both/and” approach to building relationships and reimagining public safety. The new monogram of the letter “C” comprises three intertwined shapes that symbolize the interconnected systems crucial for achieving the vision of Cities United. The visual identity is rooted in the city environment; city grids inspire iconography, illustrations, and layouts. VTC DuBois is the primary typeface, inspired by W.E.B. DuBois’s lettering and designed by the Black-owned Vocal Type Co. The color palette embodies the textures of city life with hues reminiscent of asphalt, sunrise, and brick.

We designed a new responsive website to be a vibrant hub for city leaders, sponsors, and community members. The intuitive design, bolstered by the new brand identity, shares the organization’s mission, resources, ongoing projects, and partner network, inviting stakeholders to join in their transformative work.

We also created a video to humanize Cities United’s mission and showcase its nationwide impact. The video underscores the unity, resilience, and hope embodied by Cities United through a chorus of voices.

This comprehensive rebranding amplifies Cities United’s reach and impact, helping them share their goal of creating safe, healthy, hopeful communities for young Black men, boys, and their families.

This project is part of a commitment IDEO made in 2020 to provide pro-bono design services to organizations focused on advancing racial justice.

Key Team Members

Jarrod Ryhal, Project Lead
Ben Healy, Project Lead
Nico Gibson, Visual Communication
Konyin Ayuba, Visual Communication
Brian Janosch, Writing
Christina Drill, Writing
Claudio Fresneda, Motion
Kenny Okagaki, Sound
Brian Pelsoh, Guide
Zena Barakat, Guide
Jamila Janakiram, Guide
Lauren Collins, Guide