In a time of change, the Chicago Teachers Union wanted to redefine its position in the fight for the working conditions of educators in Chicago. It has a long story with many sides, but the fight and the spirit has never changed. Our challenge was to craft a message that would be relevant for everyone, including new members, and create a new look for the future.
When organizations and businesses approach us about branding, we always ask: Do you mean you need a new logo or is it something more? For the Teachers Union, we started at square one with mission, vision, stakeholders, and audiences. To pull out the valuable information we rang a series of workshops designed to democratize voices and get everyone working together. We convened leadership, educators, and the communications team to bring consensus to their brand.
From there, we did qualitative research to deepen our understanding of their audiences. This ways of branding is deeply personal and contextual. It’s designed to draw our truth — good and bad — to get to a brand’s essence. When we combine that insight with the organizational vision, we can craft messaging that truly speaks to people.
Through iterative design, we created this final logo and system for the Chicago Teachers Union. Combining visual assets with written ones, we compiled a set of brand standards to be used by their internal team to make sure their brand is communicated consistently.
Since we had a firm handle on their vision through the branding work, we worked closely with the communications team at the union to develop a site that remedied a few issues: There were technical issues with the old site and search, it looked old and outdated, information was spread around, and it was tough to update.
We moved the site to WordPress on a flexible system that they could keep updated themselves. We also designed this in a component-driven way, so the Union would have a lot of options to build pages themselves and make updates as they saw fit.
We also proposed and designed the section Educators of Chicago to tell individual stories, which sometimes get lost in the politically-charged stories we hear on a regular basis.