• Tinkergarten
  • Education
  • Branding

A playful brand system for a play-based learning program

Tinkergarten is a seasonal play-based learning program that takes place in parks across the United States. Designed by early education experts and led by trained community members, Tinkergarten classes support children aged 6 months-8 years in developing important life skills through play-based activities in local green spaces. 

As part of an exciting effort to bring the joy of Tinkergarten to more communities across the country, the organization’s leadership sought a contemporary new brand identity—one that could reflect the exuberance of their classes, convey the robustness of their curriculum, and possess a grown-up appeal for their customers: the parents/guardians and caregivers of young children.

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Starting with plants, not pixels

Our design exploration kicked off in an unusual setting: a eucalyptus-shaded, 70-acre park in the heart of San Francisco. Experimenting with leaves, clay, sunlight and other earthy elements as materials, we began to imagine ways in which a playful, nature-loving identity might come to life.

Learning about play-based early education

To immerse ourselves in the unique magic of the Tinkergarten experience, we spoke with participating families and class leaders, and reviewed a richly diverse playing field of organizations offering play-based learning, outdoor classes, and early educational programming. Tinkergarten emerged as offering families the perfect balance of rich learning opportunities, a tight-knit community, and of course, muddy, messy fun.