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    Branding, naming and logo design for the Cumbe Center for African and Diaspora Dance in NYC
    Published:
Cumbe is the home for African and diaspora dance in Brooklyn. It offers classes and cultural education for dances from Africa, the Americas, and the Caribbean. Through dance and music, Cumbe creates a community of young people, adults, and families that celebrates exuberance, sensuality, power, and laughter. Performances, talks, and dance parties encourage a deeper understanding of the origins, meanings, and evolution of these many dances, as well as the connections between them.

The goal was to create an identity that represents Cumbe as an open, fun, vibrant, and community-building educational center focused on African and diaspora dance. Our methodology includes communicating the Cumbe mission, values, personality, and vision through design directions that:

            • Are memorable and unique
            • Allow for expansion
            • Work in all media and sizes
            • Are as effective in one color as well as multi color
            • Have no negative connotations in any culture
            • Clearly differentiate Cumbe from the competition
            • Are appropriate to the education and cultural arts categories
            • Appeal to the targeted audiences

As a New York dance center, the Cumbe brand must compete in a densely populated visual landscape. New York is home to some of the most distinguished music and dance schools in the world, as well as a vast array of performing arts, dance, and music educational organizations. Establishing a strong and differentiated brand in this context is challenging, particularly for a newcomer.

To convey Cumbe’s ethos, our research and creative exploration led us to use warm colors, hand-drawn typography, and the motifs and rhythms of African art and music. The geometric shapes in the final identity evoke African patterns, masks, and art while the dynamic letterforms and angular lines evoke the energy of beating drums and moving bodies.

In only a couple of years after the launch of its brand, Cumbe has established itself as the definitive home for African and diaspora dance, with a loyal community of dance students and enthusiasts. In addition, it attracts some of the best and most respected dance and percussion teachers in New York City. Cumbe now offers an unparalleled array of classes for everyone from novices to experienced dancers from all the boroughs of New York.

Jiho Choi, a Cumbe international student from Korea, describes her experinece at the Cumbe Center: "I went to DanceAfrica in 2012 and when I was walking around the street bazaar I saw the Cumbe flyer. I loved the logo and the bright red and yellow colors of the brand . . . that’s what brought me in. I immediately felt welcome! Cumbe is very precious to me. It has given me much more than dance. I have learned how to feel when and while I dance. The Cumbe community inspires me."