Aspire Education

Website/print rebranding project done for a local education nonprofit, Aspire Education, with Lisa Fischer and Kiersta Wild as a part of Make a Mark San Francisco. In our initial meeting, we learned that the nonprofit was struggling with visual hierarchy as there was content meant to be directed to not only potential students, but parents, sponsors, and affiliate companies. One of our directives was to thus narrow down the number of paths that could be taken from the landing page as well as to create different levels of focus. 

We decided to use illustrations predominantly to help distinguish Aspire from other nonprofits that often relied on stock/ photography as well as a charter school in the same area that unfortunately had the same name.

For the illustrations, I wanted to incorporate an overarching theme to keep all the images cohesive and suggested 3 possible routes:

  • Plants: to symbolize growth, with hard work yielding into a future harvest of opportunities.
  • Dreams: reflecting the endless possibilities of a career by using otherworldly/ nontraditional representations
  • Space: ability to reach great heights with no limit to potential

The team at Aspire were drawn towards the idea of space, supplementing that space could further represent expansion and how students can make new discoveries and take different paths to success. As the final redesign focused on 3 pages, I decided to have the narrative focus on home -> training -> space.

With the restriction that apple green remain one of the primary colors, Lisa narrowed down a color scheme based off the initial banner image, which was used for all following imagery to keep style consistency.

The landing/ home page was therefore based on the idea of community and cyclic nature bringing people together and giving back and so depicts a neighborhood. The image also not only reflected Aspire's roots in Oakland (the bay area via San Francisco's hills) but the nonprofit's dedication to students regardless of income levels through the use of layering.

As the page providing resources for learning + preparation, the tutoring page depicts people in training.

And for the page containing success stories + routes for continuing education, the third design depicts the result to the overarching story with an image of the reader having reached space. The multiple planets were to signify the different paths that can be taken while showing those who've come before, depicting a continued community of people striving and helping to reach their respective goals.

I was contacted a few months after the event to create additional banners, including banners for an About page and another tutoring page as the previous one was deemed a bit too abstract.

As the organization was based out of Oakland, the home/about page also features a community like space, loosely based off Lake Merritt and featuring oak trees, which are dominant in the area.

The remade tutoring page is more directly applicable, reflecting the worlds that can be opened by reading/ studying/ education. I also secretly hid the word "Aspire" in braille throughout the image ;).

Icons followed the same principles of the illustrations, following Lisa's guides for color and use of line, to remain cohesive.

Here's a snippet of the resulting collaboration draft with Lisa (visual identity, logo), Kiersta (web design, ux), and myself (iconography, illustration):