Fall 2017


Re-imagine a new brand identity to motivate students to think about their future.

Project Management*Responsive Web

My contribution

I took on the role as a project manager on a team with one UX designer, one visual designer, and one front-end developer. The team was made up of members from Scout, a student-led design firm that pairs up young designers with entrepreneurs. We had three stakeholders, the two founders of ScholarJet and their CTO. Together, we spent roughly 10 hours a week for four months rebuilding their brand and improving their website.
From left to right: Joe (co-founder), Tuan (co-founder) and Francisco (CTO)

Research and discovery

We started by hearing from the founder, Tuan, about his passion for the company. His story gave us insight into what was important from their existing brand identity and what needed to be elevated. Our stakeholders had a lot of hopes and dreams for our engagement with them. I facilitated an exercise whereby we gathered all their expectations, prioritized them, and got an agreement on a roadmap to move forward. The team would deliver brand guidelines, which included a new logo and illustrations, updated pages on their existing website, photography and videography content, and marketing materials.
We also established this question to align the team to move forward:
How might we get students to apply for college scholarships during highschool?

Lay of the land

Before jumping into user research, I worked with Francisco to establish a sitemap and determine which pages in the existing site needed work. Because of the limited timeframe for development on our end, we split the work between our developer and their team.
Age 17 | High-school Student
Like a burden on her parents.
DJ’s, goes to shows, learns about pop culture.
That music and dance are her outlet.
“I’m not sure how college scholarships work.”

Understanding our users

Our UX designer took the lead in doing field research at local high schools in Massachusetts. He was able to capture insights from informal conversations with many students who fit the target persona of ScholarJet. Together, the team gathered this data and summarized the findings into a persona named Angie.
Angie is a junior in high school with hopes of affording college. Although her parents can help afford some of the cost, she doesn’t want to be a burden to her family. She’s unsure of how much college will cost and is overwhelmed at the thought of writing lots of essays for scholarships. She loves music and is learning to DJ on the side.
Top: logo concepts Bottom: final logo

Building the Brand

Our visual designer began by tackling the logo for ScholarJet. After learning more about the name (ScholarJet blasts you into the future, faster than a scholarship) she focused on education and airplanes as imagery. We worked together to communicate her ideas to our stakeholders, and her work totally won them over. She extended the branding with fun visual elements that could be added to both their web and print marketing materials.
Joe, Tuan and Francisco celebrate with students who recently won scholarships. Photo By Lindsey Michelle

Believing in the mission

Throughout this design process, Tuan and Joe were actively seeking their own funding for the venture. We loved being around such inspirational clients, and attended in their pitches for funding. I’ll never forget seeing Tuan do a celebratory backflip (two days after getting his wisdom teeth out) after winning both the judges and people's choice award.
The Mission

Delivering on our promise

Leading this team of rockstars led me to learn a few lessons. First, trust that your team has your back. My team kicked it out of the ballpark from the beginning research phase to the end with our development handoff. I created a cadence and let the team do the rest! Second, manage expectations early and often. Our clients were so eager to do it all. I had to negotiate what the team could deliver to ensure the design team was capable of handling the work. In this case, we learned to communicate openly and honestly (which came in handy around finals time because our design team delivered early). Lastly, working for a product you believe in will give you the strength to go above and beyond. My team ended up delivering on more than we promised because we really believed in the ScholarJet team. I’m so excited that they are still going strong! Check out their website.
Special thanks to my design team Mo Godin (UX), Mckenna Shuster (visual), and Will Slotterback(development) for making this project possible!
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