Established in 2000, DonorsChoose is a nonprofit organization in the United States that provides an online platform where teachers and school administrators can crowdfund specific requests for their classrooms — which can range from buying materials like cozy classroom carpet or microscopes to funding experiences like going to Carnegie Hall or entering a culinary competition — and allows people to easily browse requests and donate. Since launching, more than 4 million people have contributed over $900 billion, fulfilling more than 1.5 million requests. Donations go straight to DonorsChoose who then purchase the request and ship it to the school and their transparency about how each dollar is spent has earned them a great status among charity watch publications. Yesterday, DonorsChoose introduced a new identity designed by Brooklyn, NY-based Hyperakt.
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.
The old logo wasn’t great — it wasn’t terrible either — but it effectively signaled a quick association to schools and classrooms through the classic tablet classroom chair. Now that the organization is more well known it can afford a less descriptive logo and the new one capitalizes on the name recognition with a fun and extra bold wordmark where the two words that make up the name neatly stack on one another — I’m not sure if it was intentional but I see a little kid in the “O H” combination. The logo has a great irreverence to it, mostly due to the “R”, that I feel serves as a reminder that ultimately this organization benefits kids and that learning should be a joy. The “that blue” choice, in this case, is actually helpful, adding a burst of energy to not just the logo but their website in general and, to date, this project has the best rationalization for its choice.
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.
The logo is based on a great custom typeface by Frere-Jones Type that has such a great personality and is full of interesting quirks, like the “M”, “Q”, and extra exclamation-y “!”. It’s like Gill Sans Extra Bold but if Gill Sans Extra Bold were actually good.
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 illustrations and icon perhaps take the easy way out of going with the minimal-fun, heavily geometric look but given the large amount of drawings they made and how they are used in heavy grids it does actually make sense to keep them simple and they work very well together whether in single-color stroke or full color fills… or in combination.
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 toolkit where teachers can customize social assets to promote projects! Custom messaging and the ability to choose color & illustration are at the hands of the user wherever they are.
The applications are all neat, thanks to the grid approach of the icons, and colorful, thanks to, well, all the colors. The bus stop poster a couple images below is probably the best representation of what this identity can do, with a great, striking composition that mixes all the elements quite well but, in general, the kit of parts approach works very effectively to provide the organization different ways of using them.
Overall, when I see this identity my main feeling is of joy and exuberance which hopefully is something that triggers more people to fund more projects and share in on that good feeling of helping kids learn and grow.