Broaden

Identity, Digital Design, Video

Introducing 5,400 strangers blindfolded to shatter stereotypes & connect deeper.

Broaden (formerly Pick Your New Opportunities) was conceived by founder Michael Diaz to raise awareness of implicit and explicit misconceptions in society and lay the foundation for acceptance, understanding, and cooperation among humans of different ages, races, genders, disabilities and sexual preferences.

He began by blindfolding and introducing fellow students lounging around the common areas at the University of Central Florida. After seeing two participants walk away together and date for three months, the trial-run handkerchiefs were replaced with every imaginable type of paper and the one-on-one introductions soon turned into group round robins. Eventually this led to blindfolded icebreakers with entire classrooms on the first day of the semester with the help of Professor Cynthia Hutchinson in the College of Health Education and Human Performance.

Soon, this grass-roots social initiative took off as countless volunteers facilitated events and utilized the free, engaging, and versatile Broaden tools. Printable 8.5×11 paper blindfolds, detailed facilitation instructions, and lists of categorized questions helped empower volunteers with the confidence to meet, convince and introduce complete strangers blindfolded.

Broaden believes that in order to live more peacefully, people of all backgrounds need the opportunity to find joy in one another, explore their beliefs, and grow together. Founder Michael Diaz feels strongly that the sensory-deprivation during blindfolded introductions reduces inhibitions, amplifies active listening, and creates an environment for mindful discussion.

Broaden aims to provide the best possible experience for those interested in meeting others on a deeper level. Diversity takes center stage in its ethos, with each of its sightless icebreaker formats being dynamically adapted to the audience size and background. No two interactions are the same as different questions, blindfolds and seating configurations have been improvised to facilitate conversations with over 5,400 participants to date.

Building on the platform of diversity, the logo and visual language created by Mike Ideas encapsulates the unifying, worldly and thought-provoking nature of Broaden; with a fused double sunrise logo nodding to the power introductions have to broaden horizons. The mask-shaped logo can serve as a sponge to display photos and reveals participant faces when cut out of digital rectangles. The logomark void on a digital blindfold illustrates the core brand messaging – that the future of communication is open and accepting.

Mike Ideas placed intention on Broaden’s commitment toward bringing unique individuals, conversations, and organizations together in service of an open-minded future, and produced a band line that acts as a totem for the movement to lean on: “listen closely”.

Resisting the temptation to depict predictable eyemasks, ears, or eyes, the retro-inspired typography and sun trademark echos a simpler time. A time where people talked more than texted and lived more connected, an aspiration at the heart of Broaden’s spirit.

The color spectrum incorporates a warm yet bold palette through the filter of tones normally tied to sunlight, happiness, playfulness, vitality and friendliness. Orange and black are used sparingly to subconsciously imbue Broaden with the identity blurring nature of Halloween.

The bright and together-forward emotion of the photography (curated from Pexels & Unsplash) captures Broaden’s personality, giving viewers an phsycological anchor for the connecting, empathetic side-effects they can look forward to from a blindfolded introduction.

Mike Ideas also designed and developed the (now retired) Broaden website which housed a myriad of question lists, blindfold templates and how-to guides used to attract and engage NEW advocates.

The spirit of the project lives on with teachers continuing to utilize the blindfolded icebreaker method and friendships enduring from blindfolded introductions to this day.

Portfolio View

 
Client
Mike Ideas
Sector
Activism
Discipline
Digital Design
Art Direction
Brand Identity
Office
Winter Park
Project Team
Michael Diaz
Joshua Moussa
Taylor Ashley
Joseph Almeida
Cynthia Hutchinson
Carlos Gonzalez
Michael Carrington
Kathy Bates
Susan Berkowitz

"we rotated the hole within the letter "b" to create a widened sun on a broad horizon line"

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"This unique social activism project empowers people to create blindfolded icebreakers."

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"introduce students, teachers, pedestrians, commuters, strangers, dancers, musicians, neighbors, coworkers, roommates, family, friends, anyone "

Coming soon: Learn more about this project