826NYC has spent two decades nurturing young, creative minds across the five boroughs. Dave Eggers’ organization enables a better future for underserved kids through the power of writing and the exploration of endless possibility.
Despite their success and the lives changed, the nonprofit’s broad purpose and inconsistent messaging lacked the impact needed to stay top-of-mind for donors. As their agency of record after designing brand identities for both 826NYC and their store, we were charged with the new task of giving them the right tools to tell a stronger story.
Purpose & Meaning
We started with a visit to 826NYC’s Brooklyn superhero supply store. What appears to be a comic book shop is actually 826NYC’s “secret identity.” Behind the shelves of comic books, kitschy toys, and colorful capes is an unmarked door that kids open to find themselves in the 826NYC tutoring space.
That entrance encapsulates their personality, and after gathering the insights of all stakeholders—staff, students, alumni, volunteers, funders, and school reps—we reshaped the brand. We created a new purpose and mission, and developed a visual system inspired by the superhero supply store—blending old-school pop art with their modern educational spirit. In addition to a color palette and typography, we included a graphic toolkit with unique, hand-drawn illustrations that told their story.
The visual and verbal principles were assembled into a “not-so-secret” identity book, making it simple for any stakeholder to communicate the beliefs, purpose, and goals of 826NYC. This brand book is simple, yet tells 826NYC’s remarkable story in a big, bold manner—exactly the foundational brand asset to propel the organization forward.
he brand book that CBX created and the process that we engaged in with them to get to the final product was transformative. Our fundraising, volunteer recruitment, and programs are all transformed thanks to the work the team at CBX provided.Joshua Mendelbaum, Executive Director