Illustration by Nicole Rodríguez
HOW TO ADVANCE DESIGN INNOVATION STRATEGIES FOR AN ESTABLISHED BRAND TO GAIN COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE
Client: SM Puerto Rico
Roles: art direction, senior designer, design & market 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 most established products, the Spanish K-6, Social Studies K-6, and Spanish 7-12 textbooks, were all due for their 3rd edition in consecutive years. The plan was to launch the 3 new series under a new sub-brand called Aprender Juntos (Learn Together) in order to distinguish them from the older editions and rebrand them. Some of the innovations offered with these new series posed a few design challenges for the team: creating a shared visual identity with common elements throughout the 3 series but each catering to the study subject and age group; designing and integrating specialized workbooks for each subject; and the first time our team designed products both for classroom as well as virtual learning environments that responded to the current school needs.
Total Individual Components Designed for this Project
Total number of words studied in the 7th-12th Vocabulary Workbooks
SHARED VISUAL IDENTITY THROUGHOUT 3 SERIES,
3 SUBJECTS, 3 AGE GROUPS - MIDDLE & HIGH SCHOOL SPANISH
As the students are introduced to the middle and high school levels, so should their texts grow alongside them. Even though these books are a continuation of the elementary level Aprender Juntos (Learn Together) Spanish series, we decided to nix some of the previous, characteristic design elements, like the 'petal', in favor of a grown-up, slightly more serious visual systems: one for middle school and one for high school. These include a redesigned logo, new typographic sets, color palettes, icons, and section headers, as well as new covers, chapter openers, and page layouts.
FAMILIAR FACES IN FAMILIAR CONTEXTS
These being textbooks for the Spanish class, wanted to showcase prominent hispanic and/or latino authors whose works were also featured inside the books, so one was chosen for each grade, with accompanying imagery of elements related to their craft or body of work. For 7th, Spanish playwright Lope de Vega was picked; for 8th, Puerto Rican poet Luis Palés Matos was chosen; for 9th, Chilean novelist Isabel Allende is featured; for 10th, we chose Spanish writer/poet Francisco de Quevedo; for 11th, we picked Puerto Rican poet Lola Rodríguez de Tió; and last for 12th, Argentinian writer Julio Cortázar was chosen.
EVOLVING LESSON DISPLAYS FOR EVER-EVOLVING MINDS
We wanted to match the student's growth and age on our book's pages, on how the lesson were presented, and how graphic elements can contribute to a better engagement with the end-users. This is why we redesigned the chapter openers for both middle and high school levels, and the lessons are filled with eye-catching graphic elements and wonderful, detailed illustrations commissioned by artists from all over Latin America. It was a challenge to design pages that were both pleasing and fun, all the while not sacrificing the increased contents of these levels, but I think we did a pretty good job. I created as well as oversaw the implementation of these page layout designs on all textbooks.
SUPPLEMENTARY COMPONENTS INCLUDED
In addition to the student textbooks, other complementary materials designed for this series include:
Teacher's Guide with CD