In 2018, this math tutoring organization for underserved Black, Latinx, and low-income household K12 learners had demonstrated remarkable pilot-stage success, and was gaining rapid traction among donors and education leaders across the country. As a brand, Saga was very effectively communicating its impressive quantitative results, but at the expense of highlighting the attributes that enabled the organization to achieve those results; namely the organization’s humanity and unwavering commitment to equity.
While the Saga name was initially generated by combining its founder’s initials, the meaning of the word those letters formed (“saga”: a long story of heroic achievement) links well with the organization’s mission to equip young adults shape their futures. Rather than rename the organization, we sought to create a brand story that would give the Saga name context by weaving in the idea of each student’s story.
While Saga Education provides math tutoring support, its model and outcomes are about much more than math. Through a series of interviews with donors, school District leaders and alumni tutors, we learned that these critical audiences saw improved math scores as a marker of something bigger: the power of supportive relationships to help young people see and achieve their own potential. While Saga’s rigorous outcome data were impressive, we discovered that the brand could achieve greater emotional resonance -- and more effectively recruit the tutors it needs to scale -- by reorienting the brand around Saga’s belief in the power of human relationships.
Saga Education is both of and for a diverse community of people -- particularly young tutors and students. As such, the organization needed a new visual identity system that was youthful, and celebrated the Black and Latinx young people at the core of Saga Education’s mission. The foundation of that design system is a multicolored abstract mural design that connects adults and youth through a bright, diverse, energetic pattern of shapes.
The refreshed Saga Education brand launched in January of 2019. Saga’s trajectory of success has only accelerated since, with accolades from Fast Company, and transformational support from the Gates Foundation, College Board and others. Saga has expanded from New York and Chicago to additional cities including Washington, DC, and has plans not only to grow its reach to thousands of additional students over the next decade but also lead the way in as the field calls out for a national tutoring corps to help all students emerge from the challenges of 2020.
“We are proud of the new brand we’ve built together at Saga with the support of Mighty Good. It is a powerful reflection of who we are and what we stand for -- something we’ve long known but not always expressed with such clarity. It marks a significant milestone in our story and is one of the many things we are doing to put ourselves in a position to grow and serve more students nationally.”
-- Antonio "AJ" Gutierrez, Saga Co-Founder, Chief of Marketing and Communications