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Economic Architecture: A Complex Idea Well Worth Understanding

Written By More Vang

January 13, 2019

Economic studies show that financial markets across the globe work extremely well. For about 5% of the population. Everyone else is either denied access or participates on the fringes with few tangible benefits. Even more startling is that the main beneficiaries of the market are the people who decide its structure. In controlling how things are set up—legally, financially, practically—they influence what gets valued, who benefits and so on. Markets are structured for these select few to profit. That leaves the majority of people with little to show for their efforts.

But according to the Economic Architecture Project, a division of Ashoka, the market also holds the greatest potential to help the most people. Their solution, gleaned from hundreds of innovative projects happening right now, is both incredibly simple and deeply complex: people think the market is a naturally occurring phenomenon when, in fact, it’s a man-made construct. If you can get people to accept this fact and see things differently, then you can change the structure of the market to create a connection between seeking profit and improving the quality and character of people’s lives.

Our first and toughest task in helping the Economic Architecture Project develop a brand was to understand the complicated nature of their undertaking. It took many meetings, each with a slew of questions, to even begin to crack the code of their language. And just when we thought we’d got it we realized we hadn’t. But our client worked with us every step of the way to distill hardcore economic terms down to simple and relatable phrases. Together, we found the words and images to bring their ideas to life. And we created a logo and brand identity that shows movement—a changing structure if you like—representative of economic “architecture.”

The empathy part of our process took over three months. Once we really understood them—what they do and how they want to be seen—our creative and web development teams put together the website you see here in about three weeks. (When you do the hard work up front, you can pull off miracles. Having said that, we’re not generally in the miracle business.)

Even before we fully understood it, we believed in our client’s vision that the market can be a powerful force for good. And they believed in our ability to present them in an authentic and engaging manner. In working together so openly, in digging deep to reach a common goal, we were able to deliver a strong, simple website that gave the Economic Architecture Project real credibility. And presented them as true thought leaders to their audience of investors, supporters, and changemakers doing vital, innovative work the world over.