| Renovation Design
"experiential design", "environmental design", education, advocacy, "The Education Trust", renovations, "Washington, DC", "think tank", "wall art", "hand drawn", students, "students of color", illustration, Adobe, Illustrator, Photoshop, vector, art, mural, murals, in-house, graphic, design, designers, colorful, "data visualization", expressive, abstract, "Pedro Bell"
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Renovation Design | The Education Trust

Renovation Design | The Education Trust


Wall designs featured in PBS NewsHour interview with Andrew Nichols for The Education Trust, highlighting innovative graduation solutions at Georgia State University  (4:07). 


Challenge #1:Uniquely reflecting the mission and brand

In the Fall of 2015, The Education Trust (Ed Trust) went through major office renovations. New office spaces were created, a staircase leading up to another floor was established, old-school conference room equipment became upgraded, new carpet was installed, and accent walls reflecting the brand were added. The in-house design team consulted on many of the changes, and was commissioned to create custom wall designs that reflected the company culture, brand, and mission.


Video | ArtLife/LifeArt Series  | Sela Lewis


The Education Trust is a special place to work. Ed Trust works with policymakers, advocates, and educators to raise achievement for all students. And the multiple ways they go about that are both conventional and unconventional. It was very important early on to design and present a concept that was hand-crafted, custom, and unique to this organization. However, this would be a challenge, as most of what we present to the world as a designed product is usually text-dense, with heavy color-blocking. Knowing there were plans for accent walls  (inspired by a limited collection of Ed Trust colors) we needed to come up with a way to reflect the brand as data-driven and reflect a part of the company culture that’s not always obvious: The people who work here and the students we care about.

Gallery | The Process


Part of The Education Trust’s mission is a student-focused and data-centered education advocacy organization. Interpreted as a hand-drawn collage of students and data motifs, in an expressive yet humanizing way. The concept uniquely shows who we advocate for to guests and current staff.


A chalkboard effect was used to both enhance Ed Trust’s full color palette (to reflect their true range of abilities) by focusing mostly on line art.


Illustrations of students were used instead of photos to avoid dated attire, hairstyles, etc.


Challenge #2: Creating dual levels of harmony

Designers use the words unity or harmony, which refers to your design system co-ordinating well. The challenge with designing these surfaces was twofold. First I needed to create harmony among the different spaces. Secondly, I needed to ensure the individual has a harmonious experience with each surface. The way an individual interacts with a  long staircase wall is different from the way they encounter a wall that only a few feet wide.



Partially inspired by 3M Australia headquarters designed by THERE in Sydney, AU (photos 7-9), I really liked that someone took the time to illustrate a custom-made piece. But I looked at it briefly, and immediately put it away. I don’t mind people knowing my inspiration. But like Rick Owens, I don’t like mood boards. Instead, I prefer to get an impression of something and just let it arise out of my subconscious organically.


Creative direction, illustration, design, production, project management, presentation 

Select photography by SD33 Art Direction & Design.


December 20, 2016

  • Creative Direction
  • Experiential Design
  • Identity Design
  • Illustration