Teaching has taken a surprising turn amid the coronavirus pandemic. Juggling kids, work and home-schooling is a new reality for many families around the country, while teachers are having to adapt lesson plans and structures to keep children educated remotely.
In response to these new circumstances, a group of teachers and educators formed Oak National Academy, a free ‘online classroom’ and resource bank designed to support teachers and help create lesson plans. Given the pressing nature of the situation, Oak National Academy needed a quick turnaround – a week, in fact – and enlisted design studio Johnson Banks to get the brand up and running.
Johnson Banks pulled together a team of designers, coders, animators, writers and illustrators, who collaborated across the brand identity, helpful icons, lesson plan templates, and the website at the heart of it all. The brand logo – a floating acorn – draws on oak iconography, which is subtly reinforced by woody tones of rich green and dark violet used across the plaform.
“It struck us that an acorn falling was an apt metaphor for how education works,” said the Johnson Banks team in a statement. “As it falls, it releases seeds and renews. Just as the apple allegedly fell on Newton’s head, or the ‘penny drops’, we realised that the moment just before impact could be perfect.”
The website design is clean and simplistic, allowing the team to fully realise the project in such a short amount of time. However, the visual design of the platform also makes it straightforward and unintimidating for the vast number of users already recorded – 23,000 lessons were started on the day of the launch, and the website attracted over 200,000 unique visitors within its first few hours.
“We’ve done small identity projects fast before – but creating a nationwide brand across multiple channels, in a week? Very, very testing,” says Michael Johnson, creative director at Johnson Banks. “But very rewarding to do something which is already proving so useful to thousands of teachers, parents and families.”