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Understanding humans through data: Busara’s brand identity

Understanding humans through data: Busara’s brand identity


Rebranding Busara to help them reach their goals

Illustration conveying the new brand identity being assembled by people.

Illustration by Traci Yoshiyama


This year, Nairobi Design Week has worked closely with Busara to support their growing Communications team. The first priority was to give Busara’s brand identity a refresh.

Busara’s focus on data driven analysis paired with their appreciation of human centred design, made the project particularly interesting and fulfilling.

We hope the article below gives you some insights into the process of how a behavioural science approach worked with design to create Busara’s brand identity.


This piece was first published on Medium and is written from Busara’s perspective.




– We’re growing and expanding to new geographies and markets.

– We want to be easier to work with, both internally and externally.

– We want our brand to highlight our value and work.


Since 2011 (when our founder, Johannes, paid $8 to receive some pretty awful branding options) until 2019, our brand has seen many iterations.

Animation of old Busara logos

Today, Busara counts a talented team of 150 staff working across 5 markets. Our growth has been increasing steadily; we have built a global community of transparency and rigor in behavioral science, as well as developed many exciting partnerships with private and public institutions.

As we continue to expand internationally, we want our brand to match our ambitions. Our focus and mission statement will always remain “to advance and apply behavioral science in pursuit of poverty alleviation”, and we are moving closer to that goal: with an office in India and projects in Peru and Fiji, we now work beyond the African continent.

And, while we are working actively to undertake new research that pushes the boundaries of our field, we also know that great content is even greater combined with design: readability improves, the output is more memorable and our clients are, we hope, more likely to enjoy the experience.


A behaviorally-informed process

We are an organisation of Behavioral Scientists who focus on practicing locally-relevant science. We are also a community of driven, committed, at-times-over-zealous and sometimes-meticulous-to-a-fault professionals. As you may expect, our rebrand story is no different.

We collected data about our brand from both internal and external sources from November 2018 to April 2019, after which we studied our market and best practices in branding for B2B organisations like ours. An overview of our research and findings are presented below:

Process workflow diagram for Busara's brand identity research.


After this extensive 5 month study, we finally know ourselves better, and can put an analytical finger on our insights.

Abstract graphic of many different people and personality types

We found out that:

  • We do not fit the standard of a “traditional non-profit”, with many of our staff placing higher than average value on personal growth and career motivation.
  • We also don’t fit into the “traditional consultancy” box, with high levels of public sector motivation and pro-sociality.

In addition to this, we uncovered aspects of our organisation’s “personality”, and categorized all our results into 4 main themes:


This data serves as a good reflection of where we are, today. But in order to plan for tomorrow and meet our board-mandated 3-year strategy, we identified elements we want our brand to convey in the future. This signalled the start of the brand redesign process.

Yes, until this point, it hadn’t even started.


Having completed the preliminary research, our talented Creative Lead and Design Manager, Micheal, set about formalizing our brand brief, which included all aspects of our identity, illustrated (in part) below.

In order to avoid tunnel vision and to benefit from the perspective of experts entirely external to our brand and market, we worked with Nairobi Design Week throughout the process. We agreed on the underlying imperative: to have a flexible visible identity, one which operates more as a system than a strict guideline, which can adapt to different situations and even appeal to different people or markets.


Presenting the new brand

The prior research and in-depth iterative process enabled us to develop the central concept for our brand:

Watch our video below to learn about our new brand and supporting materials:

Our goal is to ensure Busara has a consistent brand, with a clear identity and value proposition. This will happen over time, so you will see our new brand roll-out over the next few days, weeks and months!


Busara's brand identity development pixel grid

Our brand and all branded materials are created on a 12×12 grid which enables us to work on many different scales, from an icon to a country map, as illustrated here. With flexibility as our founding principle, our brand can live in a dynamic way and grow over time.

As the brand is implemented by our staff, we have created tools to enhance the adaptability of the materials for different uses, with various templates, new photography, vibrant colours and a refreshed voice. To ensure easier and faster application, we have selected a single font powered by Google, Muli, for both headings and body copy. In light of this new brand reveal, we will be updating our materials over the next few months as well as deploying new products. Indeed, this is a brand which reflects its organisation: it is constantly moving and growing.

We look forward to creating new content that serves clients and partners, and seeing this brand identity adapt over time!

For more exclusive content, access to the latest findings from Busara’s research and insights from news and trends, sign up to their newsletter here!

Authors: Caroline Martin, Adrian Jankowiak

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