Goethe-Institut NY Language Campaign

Inspired by the similarities and uniqueness of the two cultures, German and New York, this inclusive campaign successfully launched the Goethe-Institut New York Language Program

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Goethe-Institut New York


Campaign Branding






Project brief:

The Goethe-Institut develops initiatives to provide a current, clear and realistic image of Germany. It introduces, organizes and supports projects that present and augment a variety of views of Germany. One of the most important goals is to build bridges between people and organizations in Germany and the United States, thereby counteracting existing stereotypes and prejudices.

Alfalfa Studio was asked to create a brand identity to launch the Goethe-Institut New York Language Program. The client was looking for:

  • A fresh image that positions them as vibrant, modern, inviting, and fun; inclusive, yet unique to New York
  • A visual campaign aligned with and able to carry the legacy of the brand
  • A graphic that clearly conveys the Goethe-Institut New York’s mission to promote German language learning and foster cultural exchange

Functionally, the campaign needed to be flexible enough to be used on multiple platforms and media for promotional purposes.


The design direction proposed was inspired by one of Goethe-Institut’s core values: A rewarding and open exchange of cultures and ideas.

The concept for Two Cultures, One City is inspired by the similarities and uniqueness of the two cultures, German and New York. By combining graphic icons representative of each culture—The pretzel vs the hot-dog, the Empire State Building vs Berlin’s TV Tower, the yellow taxi vs the VW Beetle, and many more—we create a new place enriched by the exchange.

The visual style is informed by classic line drawings found in the work of artists like Picasso and Jean Cocteau. The illustrations are friendly and organic, making the overall image inviting and relatable. The design is flexible because it can be used as whole or in parts, in multiple colors or in a single color. It conforms to all corporate style guidelines provided by Goethe-Institut.


Alfalfa delivered a rich modular system that works as individual pieces and as a full composition. The custom-made illustrations that make up the campaign encompass more than thirty German and American icons including the Ampelmännchen, Brandenburger Gate, VW beetle, Berlin TV Tower, soccer, beer mug, pretzel, Bremen town musicians, hot dog, statue of liberty, Brooklyn Bridge and the Empire State Building among others.

The rich flexibility of the identity was easily adapted to every communication channel including social media; advertising —rich media banners, printed ads; collateral—brochures, postcards, posters; and merchandising —tote bags, umbrellas, metro-card holders, mugs and notebooks.

Service Provided:

Image making
Editorial Design


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