Smart Beginnings

Smart Beginnings

Smart Beginnings Alexandria (SBA) is a nonprofit operating within a statewide organization that aims to help every family find the services and connections their young children need to be ready for school.  To help refine and amplify their message, they engaged Mekanic to create a new brand system, story, and website. 


With an audience ranging from families and physicians to politicians and care providers, the language and visuals had to convey one succinct message: every family deserves a smart beginning.


To help the organization inform more local parents about the resources available to their children and prompt community leaders to act as brand ambassadors, we designed a brand that conveys familiarity and friendly, youthful visuals. Street signs served as visual inspiration to symbolize SBA’s the focus on the local community. The mark also resembles a crayon, which is one of the the first tools children use to express themselves creatively.


We paired the mark with rounded typography for practical and aesthetic purposes. Through our discovery work, we learned that some of the families in SBA’s primary audience are L2 English speakers or non-English speakers. We chose a typeface that could easily be translated into other languages without compromising the visual look of the content.


The website’s main purpose is to help users navigate to the provider section and find the services they need. We compartmentalized providers by the age groups they serve and the type of services they offer, such as healthcare or early education. We executed this provider system roadmap through conversational filtering. Because most families use their smartphones to access information, we kept the web design simple to optimize mobile site-load times and minimize the data usage for cell phone plans with limited data.


Additionally, we directed photoshoots at local homes and local care provider centers to capture the authenticity of the families at the center of the brand story.