After almost 20 years of reimagining what could be possible in classrooms across the country, it was time for DonorsChoose, one of the nation’s most beloved and innovative education nonprofits, to refresh its visual identity and story. When DonorsChoose first launched in 2001, the technology was the centerpiece of their work – an easy-to-use, direct-to-teacher crowdfunding platform that made learning possible for millions of students across the country. With one click, donors could send money whizzing through the internet and into a classroom full of children anywhere in the country. But it wasn’t uncommon for first-timers to ask, “Donors choose...what?” In order to compensate for a challenging name, there was an ad hoc visual language that relied heavily on outdated symbols like apples and books. Our goal was to bring the DonorsChoose identity up to date and reflect the vibrancy, joy, collaborativity, and endless possibilities of the platform for everyone involved: teachers, students, and donors.
With the DonorsChoose platform, anything is possible. Donors can give to who they want. Teachers can ask for what they want. The new brand evokes a sense of classroom abundance and boundless possibilities. The classroom is a magical place full of color! The primary palette was inspired by the vibrancy of our everyday learning environment. The main color is inspired by a simple classroom item — the composition notebook page. The vertical magenta line is the guidance the teacher provides, the light blue lines is where student works get done. The intersection represents the connection between the two. We worked with Frere-Jones Type to develop a custom typeface that the primary logotype is set in. From there, the team developed a full-body display face that conveys a sense of playfulness yet holds its ground. A large part of the DonorsChoose brand is supporting teachers in their efforts to fund classroom projects. Part of the product offering is making sure they are prepared to take the energy and excitement around their campaigns onto social media. We created a digital "Design Playground" toolkit where teachers can customize social assets to promote projects. Custom messaging and the ability to choose color and illustration are at the hands of the user wherever they are.
DonorsChoose is the spark that ignites students’ curiosity, awe, and wonder. The new brand is all about DonorsChoose making teachers’ dreams come true and empowering them to do even more. The platform quite literally helps fill the shelves of classrooms around the country. No teacher or classroom should ever feel limited by geography, money, or a lack of imagination. The brand is made of infinite building blocks, not just evoking the classic educational tool, but showing that when teachers and DonorsChoose join together, students can learn, grow, create, and explore a world with boundless possibilities. The Design Playground digital toolkit has been visited by over 5,000 users and has a 24% conversion rate with an average active time of nearly two minutes.
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