Building a brand you can trust

San José Spotlight is the city’s first nonprofit digital news organization. They are independent, community-funded, and dedicated to covering the area’s biggest issues without bias. They came to us with nothing more than a name and their mission: to turn a new idea into a brand rooted in trust.

They sought a local agency partner that believed in their vision, and we certainly did—so much so that we took on their project pro bono. Each year, we waive our fees to support a local nonprofit and San José Spotlight was the perfect pick.

Award Winning Project
  • Logo
  • Tagline
  • Brand Guidelines
  • Pitch Deck
  • Marketing Collateral
  • Social Media Campaign
  • Strategy & Engagement Plan
  • Website Design & Development

As a news organization, SJ Spotlight’s biggest obstacle is the community’s rising distrust of mass media. They must project an uncompromising image of innovation and ethics.

Our job was to create an image that looked both professional and modern, and could stand strong in a market of already-established mastheads.

It’s in the details.

The logo mark (a magnifying glass) and the tagline both speak to a “search for truth.” Other details like typography, color, and layout were chosen to weave traditional and modern design elements so the brand appears both editorial and timeless. Photography is crucial too, offering authentic captures of San José life. Every creative decision contributed to projecting an image of trust and setting San José Spotlight apart from other news sources in the area. They look relevant in a struggling industry, and honest in a field that is plagued with corruption.

Without a doubt, our success as a new nonprofit in Silicon Valley would not be possible without Design in Mind! Choosing them to create our brand was one of the best decisions we made and we’ll continue to turn to them as our organization expands and grows.

San José Spotlight
Ramona Giwargis
Co-Founder & Editor

We’re proud to support their mission.

As San José Spotlight began to promote their brand to potential investors and launch to the public, we helped them with a series of materials to support their efforts. We created a temporary landing page to spread the word, email templates to feed continued interest, and promotional materials to power their fundraising events. The unique synergy between our teams helped navigate early feedback and develop an engagement strategy to that was crucial to their success.

How do you measure success?

Less than two years after launch, Spotlight reported incredible growth.




Spotlight-hosted events




page views


articles published

How has the brand evolved?

We helped San José Spotlight launch their site, too—officially bringing their idea (and news) to life.