Illustration by Lucía Miranda
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 K-12th Vocabulary Workbooks
SHARED VISUAL IDENTITY THROUGHOUT 3 SERIES,
3 SUBJECTS, 3 AGE GROUPS - ELEMENTARY SCHOOL SPANISH
I became lead designer around the time we started this series, so one of my first recommendations for the initial design process was stressing the importance of integrating the graphic element into the research stage. This research served as a framework to develop each brand system, implement teachers' recommendations about learning processes and how graphic resources help synthesize or reinforce lessons and understanding. Graphic innovation at the service of content is one of the distinguishing features of this series.
FAMILIAR WORDS IN FAMILIAR SCENES
One of the key elements this new Spanish series focused on was for the users to obtain the necessary tools to build a solid knowledge of the Spanish language, and greater skills in the use of spelling and grammar. With this and the target age group in mind, we commissioned illustrated scenes with children in different environments, some imagined and some borrowed from local landmarks, with words integrated into the drawing into the form of what it actually represents.
INJECTING ENERGY AND DYNAMISM INTO THE MOTHER LANGUAGE
One of the distinct design elements of this new series was the 'petal' form, used in different applications throughout the elementary levels of both Spanish and Social Studies: the brand's logo, the covers, chapter openers, page layouts, titles and headers, themed sections, and icons. In addition to the 'petal' elements, I designed and oversaw the implementation of a combination of a bright and inviting color palette, dynamic page layouts, and top-notch illustrations that proved to be a huge success among both end-users: students and teachers.
SUPPLEMENTARY COMPONENTS INCLUDED
In addition to the student textbooks, other complementary materials designed for this series include:
Oversized "Big Book" for reading in class
Stickers and cut-outs related to textbook activities with its enclosing folder