Illustration by Damian Zain
HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY ADAPT AN ALREADY ESTABLISHED BRAND TO A LOCAL MARKET?
SM is a Spanish publisher with a strong presence in Latin America, operating in nine countries, including Puerto Rico. It specializes in publishing educational texts and materials, fiction for children and teenagers.
Guau is a preschool textbook series originally published by the SM Spain branch, and now it was to be launched for the Puerto Rico market. We were tasked to adapt this already established brand and originally created for the Spanish market to fit the context and needs of the local users. Our strategy was to leave the core elements that had strong brand recognition and focus on the way they were implemented. I oversaw the design and incorporation of new elements to —and tweaking of— the existing brand system, resulting in a new yet relatable identity that would better suit the end-users needs.
Client: SM Puerto Rico
Roles: art direction, senior designer, design research
Total Individual Components Designed for this Project
Number of Preschool Programs in Target Market
AN INTEGRATED SYSTEM THAT PROGRESSES AND GROWS ALONGSIDE THE PRESCHOOLER
The main challenge for this project was to develop a brand identity revolving around, and working with, 3 established characters, one for each preschool level: Lúa for PPK, Oto for PK, and Bimba for K, and they were meant to be recurring guides/companions for the students throughout the lessons. Each grade level has a specific color code and custom branding elements based on their corresponding character.
Originally designed for Spain's market, the logo was to be kept basically the same, but some tweaks were necessary to fulfill the local educational requirements. Since the books' users are preschoolers starting to read and write, it was important to emphasize the correct letter shapes taught at this level, specifically the shape of the letter a, switching the double-story a to a single-story one.
Also, more pronounced bracketed serifs were important since serif characters are favored for early readers. As a nod to the main characters of the series, a paw print substituted the a’s counter to give it a fun spin. Lastly, the identifier Proyecto (spanish for project) was added.
Each grade level had a specific primary color code applied to their corresponding graphic elements. Since these were for preschoolers, an ample secondary palette was chosen for other design elements throughout the lessons.
We commissioned the re-illustration of the Lúa, Oto and Bimba, the 3 main characters around which the whole series revolves. These were very closely based on the original renderings, and a different illustrator was chosen to illustrate each character and the scenes of their stories. I oversaw all character development and illustration commissions from inception to completion in keeping with deadlines, maintaining ongoing communications and with external illustrators.
JUDGING A BOOK BY IT'S COVER CAN BE A GOOD THING!
For the textbook covers, as well as for the Workbook covers on the 'Add-ons' section, we used with the clay versions of the characters portrayed on the original Spanish covers, but mixed it up with custom backgrounds and design elements. The books are plastic spiral-bound so they can be laid flat easily on the work table and, therefore, easier to write on for students of these levels.
CHARACTERS AS FRIENDLY COMPANIONS FOR LEARNING
The Guau project arises from extensive editorial work experience with preschool and kindergarten levels. It gathers the best of previous series, as well as the suggestions of dozens of teachers who shared their experiences with integrated education. With these considerations in mind, we developed fun and colorful content layouts appropriate with the needs of each grade level where the series characters play an important role. I developed, designed, and oversaw the implementation of this extended visual language: layouts, icons, character development, and illustration styles.
SUPPLEMENTARY COMPONENTS INCLUDED
In addition to the student textbooks, other complementary materials designed for this series include:
Math, Writing and Art Workbooks
Face masks of the characters
Posters for the classroom
Stickers and cut-outs related to textbook activities with its enclosing folder