Creating a new visual identity, core vocabulary, and messaging platform is the work of many months and many minds. When we at the Mellon Foundation began undertaking this work, we had just announced our new strategic direction—one that articulated a new approach in our institutional thinking, and a new assessment of both our grantmaking and our operations through the lens of social justice. What needed to come next, we knew, was a transformation of how we communicate to the world who we are and what we do, and how the world comes to understand our values and our work. Our identity—the identity of the Mellon Foundation—needed pristine clarity on what we stand for, what work we support, and what we seek to achieve: justice in the arts, culture, and humanities today; and justice in our collective future. We wanted to communicate the metaphorical exclamation points of these extraordinary efforts, and celebrate the successes they signify.
The new brand identity you see now—on our website, in our communications, and everywhere that bears the Mellon Foundation imprimatur—reflects an intensive and at times even provocative creative collaboration. With our agency partners, we analyzed our institutional evolution, visually articulated our core attributes, undertook broad yet thorough perception research, and verbalized our aspirations for Mellon in the years to come. Because this process touched the very essence of the Mellon Foundation itself, it was grounded in rigorous inquiry, dialogue, and reflection. At every stage, we were asking ourselves this question: how do we integrate who we have been into who we have become—and who we hope to be?
The answers lay in the leap we took to center social justice at Mellon, from staying silent about our grantmaking to voicing its impact, from a static and distanced relationship with the arts, culture, and humanities to one that is alive, responsive, and ever evolving. Those leaps shaped the openness and vitality of our new identity: the beauty and energy of our new logo, imagery, and typography; the powerful, adaptive color palette; the design inhabited by artists and what artists make; and the words we use to celebrate our grantees, to make clear our perspective, to convey the significance of our work, and to state plainly the social justice mission that lies at its heart. This is an identity that is wholly unique to Mellon, and wholly unique to the disciplines we champion. In their unparalleled dynamism, the arts, culture, and humanities are invigorating forces; they draw strength from the ceaseless interplay among deep questions, deep knowledge, and deep joy. The new Mellon identity draws on this same deep well—one that reaches back through generations of artists, culture-makers, scholars, thinkers, and visionaries.
We remain galvanized by the work that led to this transformation, and proud to now share it with the world. And we remain, as ever, excited about the work that lies ahead—for the Mellon Foundation, and for the just future we’re building together.