Room to Read

Transforming a BRAND that TRANSFORMS LIVES.


ROOM TO READ came to us with their founding story of BRINGING BOOKS to children who did not have them. Over time, their programs evolved to strengthen learning outcomes by teaching children to learn to read and love to read as well as advancing gender equality through EDUCATION. All of this was not reflected in their outdated visual and verbal identity.


The organization’s innovative approach and expanded mission deserved a strategic brand refresh. Room to Read had discovered that their programs to educate children in historically low-income communities needed to extend beyond books and encompass a comprehensive literacy experience. They also had to ensure that girls were not dropping out during their transition between primary and secondary school, and that children of all genders were completing school with the skills to make informed decisions. Room to Read expanded their efforts beyond literacy to provide life skills and mentoring support to girls who often face enormous family and societal pressure to drop out of school. With all of their experience as an implementation organization focused on developing foundational skills for primary and secondary school children, they also started contributing their research and insights to the education sector. At the same time, their supporter base was expanding and diversifying to include more geographies around the world and more age ranges. Younger audiences were being introduced to the organization, and supporters were learning about and engaging with Room to Read through social media.



Our objective was to simplify, clarify and align Room to Read’s brand story with its impact, as a foundation to the visual identity work. We audited the category to be aware of how children, humanity and equality are represented to ensure we could distinguish Room to Read visually from other organizations. Then we set out to get to know the organization, its needs and its current and future strategy. From our immersion with stakeholders, we helped sharpen and revise the organization’s mission, vision and values to tell their story in a more succinct, emotional and accurate way, while communicating Room to Read’s innovative character in a way that aligned with the programs they deliver and the wide range of audiences they communicate with. A key finding was that the brand is about much more than books. It’s about giving children room – safe and engaging physical spaces as well as mental space and time – to learn and grow.



With an updated brand story as a foundation, work began on the logo and visual identity. We identified the key equities in their logo–the roof, the books, the words. We explored the breadth of where we could take the logo to be future-proof. The previous logo was contained, more like a physical room, or classroom. Now, the definition of room has expanded, digitally, and as in the additional meaning of the word room as opportunity. The final logo, a roof with ‘Room to Read’ underneath now encompasses all that the organization does as well as giving it room to grow. Secondary marks act as monograms, favicons for social media and other variations for multimedia and digital applications. The optimized color palette is more harmonious, with a variety of tints for flexibility and variety. The new typeface is downloadable and open-source, making it easier and simpler to use in different countries and formats. The system also includes a vocabulary of shapes with an organic, playful nature, and the roof symbol and iconography have a hand-drawn, child-like quality. Together, the system feels like it belongs in all the places and with all the people they serve.

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