Mockup of Brazil Raizes page
🏆  Overall Prize, Most Genius Design

Google Creative Campus

In response to a competitive pitch given by Google Creative Campus, my team created a targeted campaign called Google Raices* to help individual countries in Latin America understand and discuss racial equity using Google products.

*Solution not owned or endorsed by Google.

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CONTEXT
Google Creative Campus Pitch
DATE
Jul - Aug 2020 (6 weeks)
TOOLS
Figma, Google Slides
Team
Nicole Rachid, Arianna Montoya, Siladityaa Sharma, Carolina Plaza
role
Strategist, UX/UI Designer
skills
Strategy, Comms, Marketing, UX/UI
background

A racial reckoning, worldwide.

I was one of 40 participants of the 2020 Google Creative Campus. As part of our 8-week course, we split up into teams to solve a pitch on racial equity around the world. My team was mainly comprised on individuals from Latin America, so we decided to focus our solution on the region.

challenge

Many Latin Americans struggle to define their racial identity.

opportunity

Each country has its own unique characteristics, racial demographics, and local slang.

core campaign line

Hack the narrative.

Introducing Google Raices

A curated platform dedicated to facilitating conversations and discussions around education on heritage, culture, and racial equity in Latin America. Raices translates to roots in Spanish (Raízes in Portuguese).‍

Integrated into Google's product portfolio

Each Raices page is tailored to the country you’re located in and brings together Google’s top products like Google Arts and Culture and Google Translate to elevate diverse resources and perspectives on racial equity, local culture, and heritage, including verified content contributions marked here by the green box and Raices tag.

Our goal is to add richer context in order to hack the narrative, search algorithms and the nuances behind mixed-race identity and racial equity within the context of these individual countries. 

Brazil RaĂ­zes page
Mockup of Brazil Raizes page

An important facet for us as we were building this was the fundamental understanding that every country in Latin America has its own unique racial makeup, history, subcultures and art that arise from those subcultures. Shown above is the Raices home page for Brazil, populated with resources highlighting Brazilian voices, articles and artists such as Portinari.

We also considered an integration with Google Translate that would register common terms related to race and mark any that were negative/outdated in red.

Cholo search results
Mockup image of Raizes results after searching the word "cholo"

With Raices, if you want to learn more about the context behind some questionable terms like cholo, when you search it, you’ll be able to see a red alert tag letting you know this word has a derogatory definition, along more resources and link that will take you to your country’s Raices page. We also thought the images page in particular could be a place where Google can help combat visual stereotypes that are associated with some of these definitions, instead providing options, tied again to the Raices framework.

Brazil to Colombia to Mexico (and beyond)

We picked Brazil as our pilot country since it's the largest country in Latin America with a strong Google brand presence. Our main target countries for Spanish pilot were Colombia and Mexico.

Mexico raices page
Mockup of Mexico Raices page

Like the Brazilian page shown above, here we have the Raices page for Mexico, highlighting Mexican voices as well as stories from Arts and Culture featuring icons like Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. The Google Translate feature also notes terms that are specific to the Mexican vernacular.

Promotion and communication

To promote the program, we laid out three core channels to target our marketing:

  • Television Broadcast Advertising: 30 second spots
  • Social Media: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter
  • Localized YouTube advertisement & influencer marketing: recruit local personalities as ambassadors

Google Arts and Culture

Google Arts and Culture was a product we recognized as having huge reach and potential. We imagined Google Raices acting as a singular tag to help launch and distinguish new story series and curated article lists that speak directly to race, culture, and heritage in these individual countries.

Clip of mockup of Brazil article headline for Google Arts and Culture

We also explored  current collaborations and creative programs through the Google Arts and Culture platform, including the Art Zoom series (shown below: GAC's existing J.Balvin episode). By hosting special Raices x Art Zoom episodes, we could highlight artists from BIPOC or marginalized backgrounds to provide a perspective on their country’s art history that hasn’t been done before. 

We explored other features of Arts and Culture, such as the Experiments section, creating fun interactions like a Cultural Crossword puzzle to learn about new artists.

Art Zoom Series and Experiments
Raices x Art Zoom
Invite contemporary musicians to introduce their home country's art history.
Image of Google Experiment Crossword puzzle
Cultural Crossword Puzzle
Learn about new artists through GAC Experiments.
target
Young adults, ages 18-35
Countries
Brazil, Colombia, Mexico
Interests
Racial equity, local and national issues

Image source: Document Journal
KEY POINTS

Latin America is incredibly diverse.

In Latin America, despite the majority population consisting of mulatos/criollos/mestizos (terms for mixed ethnicities), people continue to be discriminated against very frequently because of the color of their skin. Many of these issues stem from histories of colonialism, discrimination, eugenic systems, and colorism. For people of mixed race, it can be incredibly difficult to define one's heritage and race. Our team conducted a survey of ~100 individuals in Brazil, Ecuador, and Costa Rica (where our team members are from) and found that: 

  • About 47% in Brazil declare themselves pardos, while 10% declare themselves black.
  • In Costa Rica, 65% of people who identify as white don’t feel connected with their race

But many LATAM countries don't recognize racism as a problem.

For a long time, racist connotation has been embedded into the fabric of society and into daily vernacular. Below are some of the common words our team found in spoken Spanish and Portuguese across the region.

Prieto (Spanish): dark-skinned person
Indio (Spanish): indigenous person
Cholo (Spanish): refers to person of indigenous descent, Mex-Am stereotype associated with gang culture
Pardos (Portuguese): refers to individuals of mixed race in Brazil
Mestizo (Spanish): mixed white/indigenous
Mulato (Spanish/Portuguese): mixed black/indigenous, derived from the word "mule"
Villeros (Spanish): used to refer to individuals living in shanty-towns

Initial research and whiteboarding
Because we were all situated in different countries and time zones, we collaborated on Miro to consolidate our research. We began by first analyzing the demographics and racial knowledge in our home countries, followed by focused research in the LATAM region.
Components
We used Google's Material Design guidelines and brand colors as the reference for our designs. We sought to make our idea as realistic as possible.
Presentation
We presented three times to three separate audiences -- once to our peers and twice to internal Google teams. The last two presentations to the internal teams were revised in order to lead a more focused discussion relevant to the leaders on the call.
Incorporating feedback
After each presentation, we continued to incorporate the feedback we received from our peers and leaders in order to refine our strategy and design.

Broadening my horizons, even virtually.

The 40 of us were supposed to attend the Cannes Lions festival together for a week, but we couldn't because of COVID. It turned out to be a blessing in disguise because we were able to spend 8 weeks working together. My team had the honor to present our idea to internal Google leaders, which gave us the encouragement to push our ideas even further. This experience opened my eyes to how beautiful diversity is and how big the world is.

credits

Nicole Rachid (Brazil): video editing, animation, Portuguese translation
Arianna Montoya (Costa Rica): research, Spanish translation
Carolina Plaza (Ecuador): research, Spanish translation
Siladityaa Sharma (India, US): UX/UI

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