Re-messaging and Branding the Chicago Teachers Union

Building on the brand equity of a powerful social justice institution during a time of change to unite and empower educators and allies.

In a time of change, the Chicago Teachers Union wanted to redefine its position in the fight for the working conditions of educators in Chicago. It has a long story with many sides, but the fight and the spirit have never changed. Our challenge was to craft a message that would be relevant for everyone, including new members, and create a new look for the future.

We worked closely with the leadership team, board, communications staff, and educators to create new brand strategy, messaging, and visual identity.

Brand Strategy & Design Research

When organizations and businesses approach us about branding, we always ask: Do you mean you need a new logo or is it something more? For the Teachers Union, we started at square one with mission, vision, stakeholders, and audiences. To pull out the valuable information we rang a series of workshops designed to democratize voices and get everyone working together. We convened leadership, educators, and the communications team to bring consensus to their brand.

From there, we did qualitative research to deepen our understanding of their audiences. This way of branding is deeply personal and contextual. It’s designed to draw our truth — good and bad — to get to a brand’s essence. When we combine that insight with the organizational vision, we can craft messaging that truly speaks to people.

Brand Strategy & Logo Design

Through iterative design, we created this final logo and system for the Chicago Teachers Union. Combining visual assets with written ones, we compiled a set of brand standards to be used by their internal team to make sure their brand is communicated consistently.

Brand Standards

We wrote a comprehensive set of standards for the CTU internal team to use when messaging and designing assets for their internal and external communications.