Group Created with Sketch.
Teaching Matters

Branding to Advance Excellent Education for Every Student

Since 1994, the education nonprofit Teaching Matters has provided excellent educational coaching and resources to improve the quality of education for students in the New York City metropolitan area. Having supported more than 1,600 schools, trained more than 38,000 educators, and impacted more than 670,000 students, in 2022, Teaching Matters sought to expand their reach and open a new chapter for their brand, impact, and website. Together, we co-created a brand and website that draws a clear connection between excellence in education and outcomes for students—one that feels joyful, prioritizes equity, and elevates teachers to invite a new generation of educators into the Teaching Matters community. 

Brand Assessment

Uncovering a Heavy Brand’s Bright Side

When we started working with Teaching Matters, the story of the education nonprofit was founded on deficit framing—focusing on the problems and inequities that plague the education system. Its visual brand, with dark colors, hard corners, and bulky components, failed to reflect the brand’s optimism. Alternatively, asset framing offers a more compelling story for nonprofit brands. Asset framing focuses on the strengths of people in education and the solutions toward better education outcomes. To better understand the Teaching Matters brand strengths and landscape, we conducted interviews, research, and workshops to surface strategic insights. We then distilled our findings into a brand assessment that laid the foundation for transforming the brand—primarily defining itself not by issues but by impact. 

Brand Stratetgy

Charting the Strategy to Elevate Excellent Teaching 

Having worked closely with the Teaching Matters team in interviews, workshops, and surveys to assess their brand, we were ready to move forward and open the next chapter in their organization’s story. In our assessment we uncovered key brand themes, such as: equity being a unifying messaging, addressing the opportunity gap, and showcasing the transformative power of excellent education. With these learnings and themes to guide us, we were able to chart the brand strategy for Teaching Matters, which would feed into the brand’s messaging and design. A key part of this strategy involved articulating the organization’s theory of change—one that drew the throughline between access to high quality professional development resources for educators, educational outcomes for students, and closing the opportunity gap across classrooms. 

Brand Messaging

Branding That Changes Systems & Shifts Mindsets

Teaching Matters is on a mission. They’re changing more than systems—they’re changing mindsets. With our brand assessment and strategy to guide us, together with the Teaching Matters Team, we created a new language for articulating the organization’s impact. Shifting from deficit to asset framing, we created a new mission, vision, and tagline for the brand as well as defining the organization’s values, personality, roles, and more. Connecting the organization’s resources, optimism, and impact to the brand’s verbal language set the Teaching Matters team up to better embody the brand and better engage their core audiences around their shared vision of improving education equity by championing excellent teaching. 

Visual Identity

On a Mission to Capture the Joy in Education

Before our partnership, Teaching Matters’ brand failed to demonstrate the joy in excellent education. To bring the organization’s new verbal brand principles to life, we created a refreshed visual identity for the organization that emulated the brand’s energy, optimism, and values. The organization’s name “Teaching Matters” is a powerful statement, and to elevate its power, we opted to make the logo a typographical mark with the organic, chalk-like underline. Throughout the system, we used those organic elements on components like stars, shapes, and squiggles to reflect the lived experience of educators. To elevate the brand’s optimism, we used bright, vibrant colors throughout, and to elevate the brand’s hero—educators—we used photography of Teaching Matters educators, often in silhouettes. Together, we created a robust design system that demonstrated the joy in the Teaching Matters mission. 

User Experience & Content Strategy

Engaging Educators, Administrators, and Donors

Educators—especially educators in under-resourced communities—have competing priorities. When they’re seeking a resource, they deserve efficiency and an easy user-experience. Of course, Teaching Matters speaks to more than just educators, the organization also works with administrators, donors, researchers, and more. To design the user experience and underlying system that catered to these audiences, we led workshops to identify the different ways the website can help people achieve their goals, then organized dozens of pieces of content to engage them online. The result tells a clear brand narrative of the core resources and values that define Teaching Matters’ work, driving educational resources and coaching, and inviting any visitor to get involved in the organization’s critical mission. 

Website Design

A Brand Experience that Invites, Engages, and Inspires

In Teaching Matters’ website, we translated our strategy, branding, and UX research and work into a digital brand experience that represents the organization’s values, mission, and impact. We started the design process by establishing a new design system to introduce the brand’s typography, colors, imagery, and design components. Working closely with the team at Teaching Matters, we iteratively reviewed and extended our website design in stages, discussing and refining as we built a comprehensive design system of styles, components, and templates that carry throughout the website. The result is a strongly branded website experience—one that’s vibrant, emulating the brand’s high energy while elevating the organization’s commitment to closing the opportunity gap in schools by advancing excellent education. 

In the Teaching Matters website, we built a strongly branded experience—one that’s vibrant, emulating the brand’s bright energy  while elevating the organization’s commitment to closing the opportunity gap in schools through excellent education.

Website Design & Development

Elevating the Impact of Excellent Education and Educators

Teaching Matters believes in building a world where every student has equitable access to excellent teaching, regardless of zip code. To advance that vision, the organization partners with school leaders to advance teacher excellence through professional coaching and foster learning, which meant that the Teaching Matters website needed to engage teachers—but engagement is just a first step. To make a meaningful difference in addressing education inequity, Teaching Matters’ website needed to give teachers—their brand hero—a reason to believe. It needed to compellingly demonstrate their  theory of change. Throughout the Teaching Matters website, in our content strategy, we demonstrated with data and personal testimonials just how much excellent education can make a difference in changing an inequitable system. 

Website Design & Strategic Content

Coaching & Resources for Every Educator at Every Level

To activate Teaching Matters’ theory of change, the organization’s website needed to elevate and make easily accessible the breadth of teaching resources for educators. With resources for teachers ranging from Pre-K – 12th grade, the Teaching Matters website shares the programming, curricula, and coaches available to help educators achieve excellent teaching for every student. The Our Services section of Teaching Matters’ website is designed not just to show these resources and coaching programs for educators, but also to instill trust in their ability to elevent excellent education. Throughout the pages and resources, we interspersed impactful statistics, testimonials, and videos affirming the Teaching Matters means for change. 

Website Design & Content

Engaging Experts, Volunteers & Donors to Raise the Bar

Like most nonprofits, Teaching Matters speaks to several key audiences with different interests, needs, questions, and action paths. Key amongst Teaching Matters’ audience are educators and education experts, volunteers, and donors. To ensure that these audiences with their various needs and backgrounds, we created the Teaching Matters website to ensure that each stakeholder could quickly identify their path for engagement and pursue their curiosities, take action, or deepen their relationship with the Teaching Matters brand. In the content structure, the Teaching Matters website speaks to these audiences, demonstrates channels for engagement for educators, and for the non-educator audiences, the website offers ways to make a difference, catering specifically to the needs of supporters and donors. 

Copied to clipboard http://...