Responses by Michael Johnson, creative director, Johnson Banks
Background: Following the appointment of a new CEO and the development of a revised strategy, Teach First wanted to look at its rather “corporate” brand style, which had become confused by multiple sub-brands. There was also a clear desire to tackle the ongoing issue of inequality, to help every child reach their potential and develop a grittier, more direct tone of voice.
Reasoning: The idea begins with a simple T/F monogram that echoes Teach First’s new brand narrative—building a fair education for all—allowing the educational charity to be clearly identified from the smallest space on a social post to the largest billboard site. The design approach continues with a new typographic language, punchy color palette, bold graphic style and a revised art direction approach. We also introduced a snappier and cheekier tone of voice.
Challenges: It had to be adaptable across a bewildering array of target audiences: graduates, teachers, professionals considering “switching” to teaching, headmasters, government departments, philanthropists, corporate sponsors, and so on.
Favorite details: The new tone of voice encourages Teach First to say less, not more, using straightforward communication in an increasingly jargon-heavy sector.
Visual influences: We wanted the visual style to stand completely apart from all the clichés of the education sector, which nearly always features shots of children and teachers in classrooms. All fine, to a point—but all the same.
Anything new: We learned that with detailed and complex projects, the most important thing is to search for something very, very simple—that can then be inflected in many different ways. You see this in the A/B solution for Teach First’s new advertising campaign.