Community Engagement

Branding a Movement Countering Violence and Fear in El Salvador

Supporting a network of Catholic Sisters to create community-led change

Patterns of color and symbols of unity are starting to emerge in some of El Salvador’s most dangerous neighborhoods, and the unlikely suspects are a group of Catholic Sisters. 

From fighting human trafficking to skill-building with youth—the Catholic sisters of El Salvador work tirelessly to create a refuge in a country afflicted with endemic gang violence and fear. 

In 2018, Alight (formerly the American Refugee Committee) engaged IDEO​.org to amplify these sisters’ voices and propel their impact. The goal was to create a unifying identity for these changemakers. The sisters are humble as you might expect—quick to eschew praise for their work. But when you speak to anyone in the local community, their impact is clear—overwhelmingly, our design team heard that to be in the presence of a Sister is to thrive and feel invincible.

A circle, for example, represents the wholeness and momentum of the ColorDoers, the cornerstone of the movement. While the hand represents a sister’s ability to hold space and highlight the potential of their communities.

I am not a protagonist; I build protagonists.

Sister, El Salvador

Together with some of the Sisters and community members from La Chacra, Apopa, and San Julian, we created The Color Movement, a brand that embodies the joy the Sisters unleash and connects their work across El Salvador visually. The brand is simple, modular, yet rich in symbolism. Everything—from the bold swatches of color to the dynamic patterns—is designed to be owned by anyone: easy to replicate, but impossible to miss.

As the Sisters spread The Color Movement, they give kids and community members alike something positive to rally around, opening up meaningful pathways of connection to the wider world. A more public and recognizable brand for the sisters’ grassroots movement helps them better connect with communities, making the safe spaces they create easily recognizable and unifying them as a distributed beacon of hope across Salvadorian communities grappling with numerous social challenges. The Color Movement identity has also created a clear pathway for potential collaborators and funders to contribute to the sisters’ important work—driving even greater momentum towards the stories of joy and resilience they are fostering every day.

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