top of page

SPIRIT Research Initiative

The team at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health came with a critically important project as they set out to launch an exciting new research initiative. Working closely with the team, we developed a carefully considered branding and identity system for the launch of their research center. We centered the design system around the team's ambitious mission and brand pillars: acceptance, connection and protection. 

The SPIRIT Research Initiative invests in a public health approach to addressing mental health and well-being by identifying social determinants of mental health, addressing social inequalities, and investing in child and adolescent primary prevention efforts that scale to the population level. 

Social Psychiatry: Center for Innovation in Research, Implementation, and Training 


The Logo Mark

The brand icon is a representation of the most important brand values: putting the individual at the core, offering protection and shifting paradigms. We broke apart some of the letters in the logo as a reference to the inevitable cracks that exist in our emotional lives. We chose a forward slanting italic font to speak to momentum and innovative thinking.

The mark begins with a central icon and radiates outward. While the primary icon is favored and used in the majority of applications, alternate forms of the icon that can be applied in appropriate contexts. The expanded icon mark creates an energetic and vibrant pattern play, while the simplified icon marks can be applied at smaller scales.

SPIRIT's colors are intentionally vibrant. We started with the primary blue, which stems from Columbia’s leading brand color (with just a hint more saturation). We balanced this calming tone with energetic shades of magenta, cyan, orange and purple. 

The Color Palette

We picked up on the graphic elements in the logo mark to develop a series of patterns and prints to use as graphic elements. Each speaks to important themes within the brand mission: breaking patterns, radiating outward, making connections and innovative thinking.

Patterns & Prints

The curation and application of images throughout the brand collateral and marketing was carefully considered. We sorted through a slew of photography to select a range of humans that helped represent those most vulnerable in our mental health research. We wanted to show a range of emotions and express the concept of layered feelings, and drive home the importance and radiance of human connection.

Image Making

The launch of the center's website was a critical first step to get these important messages out to a wider audience. The site touches on the Center's unique mission and approach, and serves as a tool to bring current and future members of the research collective together. Learn more at Columbia SPIRIT Center

The Website

More Case Studies