Unstoppable: College Summit Branding

Fossil Foundation’s partnership with College Summit has been focused on supporting the launch and mission of the PeerForward program. Only ten percent of students in low-income communities graduate from college, while almost all of them once aspired to get there. College Summit’s belief, and the essence of PeerForward, is in the power of peers to level the playing field and give all students the opportunity to attend college.

College Summit has already helped more than 250,000 students across 500 high schools chart their own learning path. They’re opening doors for underserved students by identifying Peer Leaders to participate in their PeerForward program and inspire those around them. These powerful students then increase the counseling capacity and change the college-going culture within their schools, inspiring their peers to apply to and attend college.

The proof: The most influential person to a high school student, is another high school student.

What’s In a Name

As part of our partnership, we shared our branding and design expertise to help College Summit create the look and feel of the program with fresh branding and logo designs.

Before we could dive into the design, however, we needed a name that would truly convey the mission and potential of the program. It needed to encourage young people to take action, and portray these peer mentors as role models, leading the way to a brighter future for all students.

After a two-day session with College Summit to soak up all we could about the project goals, our creative team got brainstorming. We generated many different name options and—after College Summit tested different options with the youth they serve—PeerForward was born.

The Design Process

Once we had our name ideas, our designers got busy, well, designing. First and foremost, they made sure they fully understood the essence of the program—that its mission is spread by these peer leaders inspiring those around them. “We wanted the design to make these students excited about the program and be proud to wear the logo,” says Evalyn German, lead designer on the project.

Here’s what happened next:

  1. We researched: We looked at similar programs and how their logos were used, and we focused on marks that were strong, clear and bold.
  2. We sketched: And erased, improved and finessed. All sketches were inspired by the idea of impact spreading—a spark ignited—just like the influence of the PeerForward students.
  3. We reviewed: Once the favorite sketches were recreated digitally, a document full of options was passed around internally for input, revisions and approvals.
  4. We collaborated: In the end, we shared our work on logos and type treatments, and College Summit took the ideas a step further to brand the program.

Then, of course, the new designs were put to work: “This wonderful branding is now infused into everything College Summit touches—from our website and social media platforms, to our Peer Leader backpacks, school materials and swag,” says Keith Frome, CEO of College Summit.

Unleashing Potential Together

This is our favorite kind of project. Jill Elliott, Fossil Group’s Chief Creative Officer, says, “Our creative team was thrilled to share their talent in ways that would help more young people unlock opportunity. We love any chance to make the world a little better through our work.”

We set out to build brand recognition. But ultimately, it was about helping to build a new generation of leaders who will create ongoing change: Getting more students to college, and thus giving more young people the chance to reach their potential.

As Keith Frome puts it, “Fossil Group and Fossil Foundation have been a key part of the success of College Summit’s launch of the PeerForward program in both financial support and hands-on development.” We are proud to have helped in any way.