826 Cool Cat Shack

For: ArtCenter College of Design – 360 Transmedia Campaign
Role: Research, Brand Strategy, Digital Design, Print Design, PackagingDesign, Copywriting, Motion Design, Spatial Design

Overview

With poverty on the rise, kids from low income families lack the resources to thrive in school and into adulthood. 826 National Chapters is a non profit that provides free writing, tutoring, and publishing programs to students ages 6-18yrs from under-resourced communities. The goal: provide students with the skills to succeed and inspiring, creative spaces to shine. Their playful storefronts remove the stigma associated with tutoring; provide a gateway for meeting families, teachers, and volunteers; and generate modest earned income to support our free programs.

Challenge

Create a new 826 Store concept in a specific underserved Los Angeles neighborhood using an abandoned or transitioning retail business. Adapt that business conceptually to an “826 Store” theme. Design a (non-static) identity, messaging, and transmedia materials, including, façade/floor plan, packaging system, website, banners and posters in the local area, simple video, and a website with an e-commerce platform.

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Print Campaign

Just like social media initiatives, print campaigns allow the Cool Cat Shack to bring awareness within the community about the institution, educate the audience of upcoming events, and promotions.

Motion Piece

The motion piece will allow the audience to feel the essence of the Cool Cat Shack. I encourage you to watch it before you review the reset of the project.

Website

The website is a digital portal for people out-of-state to learn about the Cool Cat Shack, news, celebrations, and community events. Users can read the kids creative writing and purchase goods to support the shack.

Visit live site

Native Mobile App

The native app is exclusive to 826 tutoring centers and local schools. It allows the student to write in their own personal writing notebook, encourages drawing, lets them share their entries to their friends, and learn about cool cats.

Social Media Campaign

Social media initiatives allow the Cool Cat Shack to celebrate the success of the students while creating awareness within the community. Campaigns are also used to educate the audience of upcoming events, promotions,  the cool cats and products.

Products & Packaging

In creating the product line, we wanted to produce items that will make people curious and enticed to purchase. The products portray the spirit of the Cool Cat Shack and creative writing.

Spatial Design

The goal of the spatial design is to evoke creativity for the student and give the visitor an immersive experience of what the 50’s era felt like with a fusion of the Latin culture.

Original Store Facade 

New Store Facade  Concept

Process

Demographic

Mid-City is a neighborhood in the city of Los Angeles in the Central L.A. region of Los Angeles County. General population are hispanic families with low income. 2,865 families receive food stamps due to poverty. Majority of local businesses are auto shops and small businesses.

School Data

Marvin Elementary is the target school in need, 87% of students are hispanic. The target area is in such need and at a high poverty level that all children qualify for the free lunch program.

Personas

Jose Jimenez (The Student)

Age: 10 years old Type: Introvert

Hobbies: Play with friends, playing video games, and plays soccer

Motivations: Make his parents poud. Wants the new Nintendo Switch.

Goals: Improve literacy and grades in school, beat friends in soccer.

Pain Points: Reading and writing deficiency is causing Jose to fall behind in classes.

Mina Alvarez (The Parent)

Age: 38 years old / # of children: 3
Occupation: Cashier Income: $15/hr

Motivations: Providing for her family. Make sure that her kids get a good education and go to college.

Goals: Teach her kids how to interact with others, and to be responsible for their actions.

Pain Points: Doesn’t have enough time in the day for her children. Has to work two jobs to pay the bills.

Alex Padilla (The Tutor)

Age: 38 years old / # of children: 0
Occupation: Copywriter Income: $65/hr

Skills: Writing, editing, and storytelling.

Goals: Alex wants to be able to give back to his community.

Pain Points: Cannot find a volunteer program were he can share his skillset. Doesn’t have a lot of time to give but is willing to volunteer at least 2x per week.

Location

The existing storefront chosen for the 826LA project is on the cross streets of Washington and Marvin. The school is approximately 0.2 miles from Marvin Elementary. This allows the kids to travel safely in a minimum timeframe after school is over.

Floor plan

Key Insight

Because of the predominance of hispanics in this area, in creating the Cool Cat Shack visual language, we wanted to merge the latin culture of the community with the icon’s of the 50s from the arts, film and music. Such as Frida, James Dean, El Santo, to Elvis Presley. By sharing these cool cats with the kids of the community, they can see that people from their culture are cool.

Brand Development

Brand Statement

Wish you could be as cool as some of the most known Latin and American peeps of the 1950s in art, music, and film? Here is your chance.

The Cool Cat Shack is the place where people of all ages can find nostalgic items from their favorite cats. Whether you are looking for a hip 50s vintage shirt or gag gift, you will find it here. We are located in the heart of Mid-City, the home of Ray Charle’s first recording studio. At The Cool Cat Shack we believe that every kid has the potential for greatness. Encouraging creativity is the heart of learning, and being crazy cool, which will help our little cats thrive to create a better future.

Ya dig it daddy-O?

Brand Values

EDUCATE

Educate our kids and helping them become creative cats. By improving their literacy and writing skills, they will gain more confidence, better self esteem, and improve their speaking skills. They’re the future and have the power to make their community a better place.

MENTORSHIP

Our Teachers and Volunteers are the main resource and key to making a positive shift for the kids. With their help, they can shape and mold the minds of our kids thru mentorship.

celebrate

Bring awareness to our community by telling them the good news of our program and our students achievements. Their contribution in supporting the Cool Cat, they help keep the program running, and give the kids a chance to have access to resources they would not usually have due to limited funds.

Unity & Equality

No matter what ethnic background you are from, all are included and welcomed into our program.

Keywords

Nostalgic / Vintage / Hip / Inviting / Playful

visual brand driver

Color atmosphere

Visual Language