Painting by Cándido Portinari
HOW TO REFRESH A WHOLE SERIES' TIRED AND DATED BRAND SYSTEM?
Client: SM Puerto Rico
Roles: art direction, senior designer, design research
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.
SM's History textbooks were dated and tired, both in content, design, and sales numbers. Due for their re-editions, and in order to spark new interest in these products, we started off rebranding one of the books in order to test it out in the market. Since the market reception was so favorable and sales started to pick up, we went ahead and developed similar brand systems for the rest of the books that could make them readily recognizable as part of the new History series.
Total Individual Components Designed for this Project
Estimated number of high school students in target market
DISTINCT IDENTITIES THAT COMMUNICATE WELL BETWEEN THEM
Since the users for these products were high schoolers, we developed 4 different brand systems, 1 for each of the books, that responded to each of their needs and requirements, but could communicate well between each other, especially as the user progresses from grade to grade. These include fresh, new color palettes, typography and icon sets.
Being the first book worked on, it set the plate for the subsequent 3, in terms of design, content and layout. In order to bring these products up to date, we went on a different direction previously taken with the History books: we chose a bright and crisp color palette, mixed traditional fonts with more casual scripts, and developed custom graphic elements featured throughout the lessons.
For the second book, we maintained most of the design decisions made for the first book but tweaked them a bit: new but reduced color palette, same typographic treatments but different fonts, all of these applied to the graphic elements as well.
This book was particular in that we were tasked to do only minimal cosmetic modifications to already existing design elements due to time constraints, so with this in mind we kept changes simple and in keeping with the previous books.
This book, US History, has always had a different look and design from the other History books, so we kept it that way refreshing the design elements to bring it up to date.
ART AS A MEANS FOR CONTEXT
Part of the books' revamp was the redesign of the covers so they could easily be identified as a series. We chose to showcase paintings relevant to each of the book’s themes, both in content and authorship. I was in charge of researching and final selection of the paintings; design and composition of covers.
For the América book, Paz (Peace) by Brazilian artist Cándido Portinari, part of a mural that stands in the UN's NY offices and reminds us of the importance of maintaining peace and the attempts to end violent conflicts.
For the Mundo book, a detail from Discussing the Divine Comedy with Dante, from Chinese artists Dai Dudu, Li Tiezi y Zhang An; a visual representation of the world's history through time.
For the Puerto Rico book, we chose Naranjito, depicting a rural landscape of a local town by Puerto Rican artist Carlos Dávila Rinaldi.
And finally, for the Estados Unidos book, Washington Crossing the Delaware, by German-American artist Emanuel Leutze, which commemorates this important historical event.
DYNAMIC CONTENT FOR A DYNAMIC SUBJECT
We developed fun, dynamic, and colorful content layouts and similar brand systems for all of the books so that they would be readily recognizable as part of the new History series. I developed, designed, and oversaw the implementation of this extended visual language: layouts, icons, color palette, and infographics and illustration styles.
SUPPLEMENTARY COMPONENTS INCLUDED
In addition to the student textbooks, other complementary materials designed for this series include: