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Same Mission, New Look: Behind the Scenes of our Design Refresh

It’s an exciting new day at DonorsChoose! We just released our new visual identity, with a fresh take on everything from our logo and font to our color palette and illustration style.

We’ve all been fans of the orange chair over the past 7 years, but here’s a sneak peek behind the scenes and why it was time for our org’s look and feel to evolve.

We were fortunate to collaborate with the social impact designers at Hyperakt on our new look, and they helped us outline some pretty big design hurdles. Namely:

The color orange is a really hard primary color to work with. On a white background, it looks great. On black, suddenly we’re a Halloween party. On any other color…blech.Our old logo was R E A L L Y   W I D E. That makes it hard to read, which is why so many people call us “Donors Choice” or the grammatically befuddling “Donor’s Choose.” It also doesn’t work well alongside our partner logos, and when we’re working with some of the most respected brands in the world, we want to bring our A-game.Our beloved chair is nostalgic, but that style of desk doesn’t exist in many classrooms today. And, of the tens of thousands of things we send to classrooms every day, that desk is not one of them. Where’s the motion? Where’s the emotion? Where are the people? There’s so much more to DonorsChoose than a single chair or color, and we wanted the core elements of our identity to say more.

So what does it all mean?

Logo

Our new logo is a wordmark. It’s bold, and it takes the form of basic shapes, evoking building blocks that form the foundation of a great education. 

Color Palette

The best classrooms are bold, vibrant places, and that’s reflected in our color palette. Our new primary blue is the merger of the blue lines and magenta margin line of a piece of notebook paper, symbolizing the work that students do under the guidance of their teachers. With a full-color palette, our website and all of our emails, social media images, and print materials work together with a consistent look and feel. 

Illustrations

We no longer represent DonorsChoose with just one icon – the chair. Now, we have “The Tapestry”: a growing collection of the many pieces, parts, and experiences of our thriving community. The single color wireframe tapestry represents the ideas teachers have; a blueprint for a quality education; a wish waiting to be fulfilled. The full color tapestry is about potential realized; the magic that happens when donors help teachers bring education to life. 

We now have a way to represent all of the people who are a part of the DonorsChoose community! Like the rest of our illustrations, our people are created from basic building block shapes and reflect the diversity of our supporters and the students and teachers we support. Our human figure illustrations are always in action — just like our community. 

Design Playground

We didn’t think it would be any fun if we put in all this work and kept it to ourselves! Our teachers and donors are some of the most creative people around and love to shout their favorite projects from the rooftops… or at least from Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. So we made it easy for people to play with all of these assets on our new Design Playground, where you can personalize and customize your favorite images to share on social media, print a flier, or wallpaper your phones and desktops. (We’ve also got some new swag if you prefer to wear your DonorsChoose pride!)

We hope you’re just as excited as we are about the new look and feel of DonorsChoose. After all, YOU were the inspiration for a new visual identity that better reflected the dynamic group of educators and supporters who help bring learning to life on our site every day. Tell us what you think!

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