Rebranding the Carnegie Math Pathways

Examining a fragmented brand and designing a new cohesive visual identity

Background

The Carnegie Math Pathways, "Pathways" for short, is a national network of college faculty, researchers, designers, students, and curriculum experts committed to developing an innovative researched-based pedagogy that builds students' flexible expertise and confidence in learning mathematics. The two Pathways curriculum programs, Statway and Quantway, serve over 30,000 students across 70 colleges and have yielded positive student success rates since their inception in 2010. In the beginning, the Pathways brand lacked cohesion since materials were designed ad-hoc as one-off projects. As the network expanded, I designed a new visual identity that could grow alongside the network and allow other designers and advocates to visually represent the Pathways network accurately, professionally, and cohesively.

Role

Product Designer, Workshop Facilitator

Type

Visual Design, Branding

Duration

4 months

Auditing Existing Materials

To learn more about the problem of the disjointed and fragmented materials, I conducted an audit of existing materials.Through the audit, I was able to better understand the current state of things and begin thinking about a more systematic approach to rebranding the Pathways.

Materials in existence before rebranding

Involving Key Stakeholders

To explore the problem space further, I facilitated a branding workshop with key stakeholders to identify a direction for the Pathways’ visual identity. This process allowed me to understand the diverse perspectives of people involved, what works well and what doesn’t for them.

Branding workshop held to come to a consensus on a direction for the Pathways’ visual identity

Key Insights

From my initial process of understanding the problem by auditing existing materials and bringing together key people involved in maintaining the brand, I synthesized my learnings into the following insights.

Connect and Distinguish

Viewers need to visually connect AND distinguish a suite of multiple Pathways products.

Shared Uniting Voice

Pathways advocates need guidance in representing the program accurately and professionally, across varying contexts.

Carnegie Connection

The Pathways brand needs a visual connection to the Carnegie Foundation since the program will spin off.

Logo Design

I started sketching different icons and shapes to represent the network. I also investigated other brands, such as Adobe, that also consist of a suite of products. This investigation provided a good analog and springboard for the new Pathways logo. Eventually, I used hexagons, which naturally connect to other hexagons (e.g., beehives), to represent each curriculum product. Thus, I was able to connect each Pathways program by shape while distinguishing them by color.

Pen and paper skecthes for ideation and discovery
The final Carnegie Math Pathways logo and the story of its form

Deliverables

Because the Carnegie Math Pathways was scaling and quickly spreading to colleges and universities across the U.S., I planned out the following key deliverables to be used in different areas of the higher education landscape.


Logos

The new logos for the Pathways curriculum products share the hexagon shape and are distinguishable by color and their first two characters.

Style Guide

The style guide serves as a rough guide for how Pathways advocates speak about and visually design for the Pathways. It is also used to onboard new network members to the mission of the Pathways.

VIEW FULL STYLE GUIDE

Promotional and Research Materials

High visibility materials and graphic assets were designed and disseminated to policymakers in the U.S. Department of Education, and presented on at national and international education research conferences.

VIEW STATWAY OVERVIEW

Public Website

As a separate project, I led the design of the Pathways public website to engage new users, nurture current network members, and build an online presence.

Moving Forward

In October 2017, the Carnegie Math Pathways transitioned to WestEd, a nonprofit agency working to improve education and other important outcomes for children, youth, and adults. The Pathways brand and visual identity have remained intact and have gone through minor visual updates to reflect its new home with WestEd.


Credits

  • Christopher Thorn, Content expert
  • Jojo Manai, Mentor
  • Lisa Savčak, File management and dissemination