Six Cinquième finds design “middle ground” for equity consultancy Masla Empathy Lab

The Montreal brand consultancy wanted to show that no one is perfect through rugged lines and imperfect blocks.

15 November 2023


Six Cinquième has just completed work for the Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion consultancy Bindia Savaria Consulting, now Masla Empathy Lab.

Going into the project, Six Cinquième’s central concern was finding balance when working with topics such as inclusion in the workplace and equity. The Montreal agency also wanted to redefine expectations. “Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion consulting can often exude a serious and intimidating vibe,” says Six Cinquième’s co-founder Ash Phillips, “we were determined to avoid that perception.”

Six Cinquième turned to Masla’s founder, Julie Savaria, as a north star during this process, aiming to replicate Julie’s “welcoming approach” and “straightforward tactics” visually. For the name, Six Cinquieme drew from Julie’s background in biochemistry, forming the idea of a Lab. The other section of the consultancy’s new name, Masla, is a Wolof word which draws from Julie’s Senegalese heritage and nods to tolerance.

Children’s building blocks served as an unlikely inspiration. The idea came to the team after it began thinking about self-improvement and collective building. “In childhood, our world views are untarnished and less biased. We aimed to capture that essence,” says Ash.


Six Cinquieme: Masla Empathy Lab (Copyright © Six Cinquieme, 2023)

Geometric shapes are paired with a sans serif and used as dividers and a framework for photography and typography. Each icon represents a different pillar of the consultancy – Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.

Abstract icons like this are a popular approach today, but Six Cinquième layers a new treatment over them where uncertain lines are used to bring them to life. “A certain level of vulnerability and a willingness to make mistakes” is needed for work with Masla Empathy Lab, says Six Cinquième. Imperfect lines serve as a marker of this reality.

Having operated as a solo facilitator for some time, Julie Savaria embarked on the rebrand to establish a face for a whole team to work under. Some of Six Cinquième’s past projects includes work for CBC Gem’s Revenge of the Black Best Friend and a brand for steel pan player Pöng.

GallerySix Cinquieme: Masla Empathy Lab (Copyright © Six Cinquieme, 2023)

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Six Cinquieme: Masla Empathy Lab (Copyright © Six Cinquieme, 2023)

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Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. In January 2023, they became associate editor, predominantly working on partnership projects and contributing long-form pieces to It’s Nice That. Contact them about potential partnerships or story leads.

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