School’s Out Washington (SOWA) is the longest running Afterschool Youth Development (AYD) intermediary in the nation. What’s more, the Founder is still the Executive Director. These facts are just a couple of the reasons we chose this worthy organization as the recipient of our inaugural This Brand Is Your Brand (TBIYB) program, in which we choose one nonprofit to provide with a range of our branding and interactive services on a pro bono basis.
The School’s Out Washington brand had a lot going on. From a cacophony of competing messages to a logo that was literally juggling too many ideas at once. We worked with them to get to the core of what they are all about, which is supporting and enhancing youth development programs across Washington state through training, funding and advocacy.
We knew right away that we wanted to enliven the colors and create a clean, friendly brand. The result was a vibrant integrated word mark that leverages their well-known acronym and provides a handy pull-out icon that can be used for all kinds of purposes.
We used lowercase type and soft rounded edges to communicate youthfulness and approachability. School’s Out Washington is a long name that people have long been abbreviating as SOWA. Putting that acronym front and center in the logo helps their audience clearly associate it with them.
The graphic of the youth reaching upward signifies realization of potential. The arm shapes break out of the circle to symbolize unlimited possibility. The arms are also positioned at 3 o’clock to represent afterschool.
Guided by the core values of quality, equity, connection and innovation, the School’s Out mission is to foster productive partnerships that create inspiring opportunities for Washington’s youth to learn, grow and thrive, because what’s good for our youth is good for all of us. This new tagline clearly describes the two primary goals and functions of the organization.
With a strong, flexible brand in place, we began to apply it across marketing collateral such as a brochure and annual report. As we worked through the pieces, we developed icons, infographics and additional text standards.
When it came to the website, we worked with the SOWA team to provide a plan for a new content architecture and updated interactive design concept that incorporated the new branding. They incorporated many of these suggestions into their live site until they are ready for an overhaul. Below is our concept.