Connecting the community with Mexican arts traditions.

Connecting the community with Mexican arts traditions

The Challenge

Los Cenzontles is a nonprofit cultural arts academy, a band, a production studio, and a community space for youth and families. Its mission is to amplify its members’ Mexican roots in the Bay Area and beyond. While the organization does focus on historical preservation, its website should not feel like an artifact. Looking to make its resources more available to bilingual audiences and reach more people overall, Los Cenzontles wanted to improve its Search Engine Optimization (SEO), make its site available in English and Spanish, and refresh its overall look and feel.

Arts & Culture
SEO & Content Strategy
User Experience & Design
We set out to make the Los Cenzontles website easy for their community–and other communities–to find and enjoy.

Our goal was an exciting one: to capture cultural traditions in a digital space.

We set out to make the Los Cenzontles website easy for their community–and other communities–to find and enjoy. That meant it needed to be modern, mobile-responsive, discoverable, and accessible.

Setting the tone

We worked closely with the Los Cenzontles staff to figure out which visual components would convey the energy, culture, and flavor of their community. We started by asking them to craft a list of words to describe their future website. The words they came up with were: substantive, supportive, blossoming, dignified, caring, vibrant, clear, feels like home, movement, connection.

A stellar collection! With these descriptors as a guide, we went to work developing a style guide.

Designing in style

Designing in style

Based on the lively and poetic descriptions the Los Cenzontles staff provided, we created a collection of patterns and textures that embodied Mexican heritage to use throughout the site. These visuals added a sense of continuity and cultural connection. We used photos and videos of the community in action to create a human connection. The most prominent example is the homepage banner, which showcases traditional dancers in motion.


“ Firefly was an amazing partner throughout the development process of our new website. Always very organized, flexible, and clear, they guided us through all the stages it entails. From the beginning, they assessed our organization’s needs and desires to provide insight on best practices and create a design that represents our work and serves our community. As challenges, new ideas and questions came up, they would quickly create easy-to-follow next steps. We are extremely grateful for their support and are very excited about our new digital home!”

Dave Millar
Director of Development and Marketing, Los Cenzontles

If you build it…

In terms of site UI, we wanted to immediately engage site visitors in the Los Cenzontles world. New site visitors now see a pop-up inviting them to join the Los Cenzontles mailing list, with an option to receive emails in English or Spanish.

Scrolling down the homepage, visitors are invited on a journey to dive deeper into the academy, band and production, join the family, visit a timeline of milestones, donate, and shop in the tienda. The website footer makes it easy to get involved with Los Cenzontles or just reach out, through an email option, a short form to join their mailing list, and links to its social media channels.

Language of choice

Language of choice

Los Cenzontles serves a bilingual audience; it only makes sense that its website would be available in Spanish and English. An easily accessible button allows visitors to toggle back and forth between languages as needed.

Here’s how Los Cenzontles is serving the community, online and off.

Here’s how Los Cenzontles is serving the community, online and off.


New users year-over-year, with Los Cenzontles reaching a broader audience


Increase in traffic to key pages, with visitors spending more time exploring their dynamic, cultural content


Increase in mailing list sign-ups, indicating a growing base of supporters eager to stay connected and engaged with Los Cenzontles’ initiatives

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