Case Study by Giuliana Tarini RGD, College of Early Childhood Educators
The College of Early Childhood Educators was looking to strengthen their brand and increase awareness of the organization to the public as a whole. What began as a request for a pull-up banner evolved into an overhaul of all brand collateral, creating a more cohesive look and message to help achieve their goals.
The College of ECE regulates Ontario’s early childhood educators in the public’s interest. It is an organization that helps to serve and protect children and families by setting registration requirements and ethical and professional standards for registered early childhood educators (RECEs), and governing member conduct through a complaints and discipline process. Currently the College has over 55,000 members across Ontario who carry the title Registered Early Childhood Educators (RECE).
I was hired as the College's first in-house Graphic Designer. They decided I would be a fit for the team because of my background with designing printed publications. I also have a strong passion for branding and was able to help the organization recognize the importance of brand awareness and cohesion.
The College of ECE's outreach team delivers presentations all over Ontario to build the profile of the College and ensure that their regulatory mandate is well communicated. The College wanted to refresh their current booth design to reflect the organization’s mandate and vision. They felt strongly that their previous banner did not represent them accurately and failed to stand out against other organizations.
After refreshing their existing banners, I presented some other options for their brand collateral, such as pocket folders, business cards and greeting cards, with the goal of creating more brand cohesion for the organization.
The demographic that would see this re-design would include members, employers, parents and other stakeholders—all coming from different backgrounds and age groups.
Introducing design into existing processes.
In an environment where staff are not used to working alongside a designer, it can be a challenge to communicate the importance of a strong brand. The College’s communication department does an amazing job of supporting its brand through the use of consistent language, but to take it to the next level it was important to educate the College's employees about the existing brand guidelines and begin integrating design templates into day-to-day applications such as social media platforms, e-blasts, websites, presentations, resource packages and publications. Having a designer present at cross-department meetings for new launches and actively involved in internal and external collaborations has helped the company realize the importance of design when it comes to their brand.
Appealing to target audiences.
Being aware of your particular audience and using imagery that reflects the people you are trying to reach is important for making a connection, establishing trust and building a rapport. The College understands that visually representing early childhood educators in an authentic way is important when it comes to building this trust. During the design process I continuously ask different people for their opinions to make sure the representation is accurate. We try to capture all of our own photos at centres across Ontario that shows real life scenarios in childhood education. By representing the diversity in the centres and participants and accurately reflecting the issues that may arise in childhood development, we connect with our audiences on a deeper level.
Delivering under tight timelines.
The main priority for the College was to finish the banners in time for an event, which was around a month from the date I received the brief. I had to factor in time for copy writing, editing, receiving proofs, printing and shipping —a process which took around 2-3 weeks. Working as an in-house designer means tight timelines and multiple projects on the go. While the copy was being approved I was multitasking and developing various design concepts. As soon as the banners were sent to the printer, I began working on my proposal for revamping their stationery.
"I would like to express my gratitude to Giuliana for creating graphics and designing our standing banners that we have used for our outreach activities. Each banner has an individual message that reflects our company’s mandate, logo and photos that were selected by Giuliana, signifying the work in the early learning and child care sector. The graphics and pictures on the banners are vibrant with our logo at the top; they are eye-catching and noticeable when people pass by our booth or table. They complemented our booth space and added to the professional branding; making our booth to be recognized by the public and professionals when we attend various events." – Marina Bulgakova RECE, External Relations Analyst
"Our new banners have attracted a lot more attention, primarily because they visually convey not just our brand but what the organization is about. We’ve had very positive feedback from both staff and the public on the appearance of our new folders, too!" – Julia Lipman Baker Manager of Communications
I look forward to designing more useful resources for the Registered Early Childhood Educators to support them in their professional development. By actively listening to feedback from our members and the general public I hope to suggest alternate ways that design can improve the way we communicate and evolve our messaging with the brand.