The Trails School for Early Learning is a Chicago preschool whose mission is to prepare children to be critical thinkers, lifelong learners, and compassionate citizens, all in a natural oasis on the city’s northwest side. Its classroom is environmentally conscious, from the natural light, natural materials, all the way down to the natural cleaning products. Out back it boasts a “nature playground,” complete with a forest destination perfect for infant transcendentalists.
Naturally, this identity was inspired by the school’s geocentric curriculum. The warm, inclusive mark is an abstraction of both the rings of a tree and ripples in a pond, implying growth, development, and impact. The inner shapes have a subtle arrow shape that implies guidance that grows outwardly until it literally becomes “well rounded.” Around this I built a system that that radiates the open-ended ethos while still feeling safe and responsible. A warm earthy serif teeter-totters against a trustworthy sans with a playful side, while the color palette feels cheerful, inviting, and cozy.