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Department of Labor & Art

Gengo ID and Website for Gengo, c.2012

Simple, cross-language communication.

Cuban Council Did

Backend Concept Design Frontend IA Identity

Gengo, meaning "language", came to Cuban Council with a desire to mature their brand from small Silicon Valley startup to that of a global leader in providing affordable, people-powered translation services to individuals and enterprise-level clients alike. The brand needed to express their deep cultural ties to Japanese culture, and evoke the simple, human nature of the service they provide.

After a fact-finding and truly inspirational trip to Tokyo, our solution upon returning to the Cuban Council offices was to create a custom logotype that would embody the many aspirational qualities of the brand. The letterforms are derived from simple oval shapes, riffing off of the Zen Ensō, symbolizing absolute enlightenment. All marks in the identity share this feature, creating a uniform system, from the gengochan character used as a guide throughout web, print, and brand collateral, to the iconography representing Gengo's four major user groups.

Everything, right down to the tone of voice used and the photography style, was considered in the redesign of the Gengo brand. All components work together to evoke the central characteristics of the Gengo service and ethos – wisdom, simplicity, and humanism.

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