Sesame Workshop on how design is helping its mission

The non-profit has just released an updated look and feel, in part to separate it slightly from Sesame Street, which is one of a number of projects it works on. Here, we get the back story to the new branding, and the workshop’s wider work

“The Sesame Street brand has been in everyone’s hearts for the last 50 years, and it was time for us to make sure that everyone knows the difference between Sesame Street and Sesame Workshop,” says design director Victor Newman on the brand’s recent identity update. “Our goal was to refresh our look and to elevate and unify our brand globally.” 

Against the backdrop of the Civil Rights movement and the War on Poverty, Sesame Street was created in 1969 as a way to use television to help prepare disadvantaged children for school. Once the show found its preschool audience, Sesame Workshop, originally known as the Children’s Television Workshop, stepped in to ask how it could “serve other populations and meet other educational goals”.

Now it operates as a non-profit organisation responsible for producing the well-known and loved Sesame Street but also a range of other educational children’s shows, as well as social impact initiatives, schooling programmes and research and innovation projects. Its mission was and remains “to help children everywhere grow smarter, stronger, and kinder”. 

All images: Sesame Workshop, Trollbäck+Company

Last month the brand released a clearer identity to unify and differentiate the two parts of the business. “When the brand started it transformed how we talk to and interact with children. They put everything into speaking to children in a different way, putting them on a positive path and actually educating them,” says Newman.