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Second Step Catalog

Committee for Children - Seattle, Wa

The Committee for Children (CFC) is a non-profit tech company that sells an educational program, Second Step (SS), which uses researched-based guides to teach students about social-emotional learning. One of their sales tools is to release a catalog, twice annually, to school districts nationwide explaining the benefits of each program. 

When I began at CFC in 2018, they had just finished going through a rebrand for both their CFC and SS branding. Although the new logos, fonts, and colors were amazing, we were faced with a new problem: how to use them. In the case of Second Step, I saw the catalog as an opportunity to explore the new brand while establishing future standards.

The first roadblock I faced: not everyone shared my vision for what could be. CFC is a company that has been around for 40 years, most of which as a small company. In the last few years, they experienced a staffing boom, but much of the small-company mentality still existed, including the fear of change and the need to say everything to their clients while leaving nothing out.

We had a history of being rather wordy and the previous catalogs echoed this reputation. Additionally, there was no defining difference between each program, so it was easy to get lost. Lastly, there was a color overload that was hurting the brand.

II wanted us to focus on reducing the amount of text through the use of graphics and charts. I wanted to design to breathe and have lots of white space. So, I put together a presentation focused on the one word that makes many marketers shiver when a timeline is tight: “redesign”.

I was met with instant hesitation.

At this time, CFC would get nervous with big changes and liked to stick with the safe road, especially when a new Creative Manager has yet to prove himself. We only had 2 months before having to send the catalog to print and marketing felt it was too risky.

That said, I knew this was the right path and pushed on. I threw a hail Mary pass to the Marketing Director with the promise that if she would be willing to give me the chance to try this, I would take full responsibility for the results. If we failed, I promised to resign from my position. She was impressed by the boldness of the promise and gave me her blessing. With that, it was time to succeed.

My team, never failing, stepped up with energy and excitement to try something new. We focused on creating simple blob shapes that complimented the new Second Step logo, put together a photoshoot to have original imagery, and cutting our text in half ... then cutting it in half again. We were able to establish our font hierarchy, color usage, and a new standard for a layout design for Second Step.

The new catalog was meet with high praise both internally and externally. Suffice it to say, I got to keep my position, and the new look was applied to all new marketing pieces moving forward and continued to develop over my next two years at CFC.

This redesign went on to win gold in the 2019 Marcom Awards under the category of "Print Media Design". Sometimes you just have to take a big risk to make a big change!

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