Trollbäck+Company has designed a new brand system for Sesame Workshop – the non-profit behind Sesame Street – with a logo that nods to the Sesame Street sign and translates into a network of motion graphics referred to as “the longest street in the world”.
Sesame Workshop is best known for producing the Sesame Street television show and all of its spin offs. All of the company’s philanthropic work, from creating classroom curricula to large scale social impact projects, seek to help the world’s most vulnerable children.
The New York-based studio became involved in the project via an existing relationship, according to Trollbäck+Company executive creative director Rosie Garschina. She had previously partnered with Sesame Workshop’s design director Victor Newman on Paramount’s BET rebrand.
Garschina describes the initial brief as “incredibly thorough and focused on its directive”, which she says contributed to the success of the rebrand. A key focus was to discover opportunities to both “unify and differentiate” the Sesame Street and Sesame Workshop brands, she adds.
From a strategic perspective, Garschina says that the brand language was devised with “emotive principles” in mind. While Sesame Workshop aims to deliver “a more optimistic and visionary tone”, there was room to create a “playful and sensory” personality for Sesame Street.
One of the unifying assets in the brand system is the Sesame Workshop logo. The goal was to “access the equity of Sesame Street”, says Garschina, as the previous logo was “lacking in awareness and a visual association”.
The studio worked collaboratively with Sesame Workshop’s leadership team to ensure the logo adopted the right number of visual cues – such as the horizontal containers that nod to the Sesame Street sign. Garschina says that they also had to design a logo that was “in alignment with the organisation’s philanthropic work”.
Through a motion graphic network that Garschina refers to as “the longest street in the world”, Trollbäck+Company sought to activate the logo across a variety of distribution channels. This “signature behaviour” aims to “speak to the non-profit’s vast community of collaborators”, Garschina explains.
She adds that Sesame Workshop’s vice president creative director Theresa Fitzgerlad was “a pivotal voice in steering the work”, the logo in particular.
The brand’s primary colour system comprises grass green, sun yellow and sky blue. In a bid to “compliment and accentuate” these hues, Trollbäck+Company created “vibrant gradients to motivate the linework” and symbolise to Sesame Workshop’s “visionary approach to education”, says Garschina. In the wider visual system, the new colours “are literally illuminating new avenues”, she adds.
Both brands have historically used VAG Round, which is a geometric sans-serif typeface originally designed as a corporate typeface for the Volkswagen AG motor manufacturer. The studio opted to retain this typeface, says Garschina, leveraging the “sizable type family” across both brands, while “styling them differently” to the previous branding.
She says: “This was one of the key ways we were able to unify and differentiate both Sesame Street and Sesame Workshop.” Trollbäck+Company’s partners at the brand are extending the system into a family of hand drawn fonts.
The new brand system will extend across the Sesame Workshop website, social media, print and branded collateral.