Enterprise Rebrand
Country Base: USA
Industry/Sector/Keywords: Associations/Foundations, English Education, Member Association, Teachers, Learning, Nonprofits, Language Arts, Literacy, Educational Policy

Below: Before and After Images in Slide Show, Video, Summary, Credits

Industry Setting

The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) is the oldest US literacy organization, founded by the brightest minds uniting as conscientious objectors to then happenings in education. NCTE continues defining education policy as a national association. However, factors like member differentiation (K-16) and historically focusing on a benefits paywall instead of public social conversations diluted impact when competing against niche membership organizations.


Stagnation in identity and story mirrored with member growth, declining for a decade. NCTE’s renewal rate was lower than the average. New leadership saw the need to reset the brand and organization – developing the next stake in the ground of value differentiation and visual distinction. Brains on Fire was commissioned to rebrand and unite various stakeholders in the diverse member organization under a systematic identity as personal and vibrant as the membership.


Consensus among member leadership was critical to adoption. The identity had to work for a wide range of members, encompassing the rebel-creator archetype that unified them. The final design brightened and modernized the brand with a bold message, aiming to reframe the current education narrative by “Turning the Page.” This spirit line set the overall brand tone, and connected back to NCTE’s founding purpose: changing an unjust status quo. The primary logo, including a dog-eared page, nods to the reading and ELA focus. The color palette system features bold, bright colors, with a supporting system for member Sections.


NCTE’s annual convention unveiled the identity in 11/16 to 7,000+ attendees. Participation via conference hashtag on Instagram increased 42% year-over-year, heavily utilizing the “page-turning” language with numerous positive brand reviews. Member brand adoption was further confirmed when NCTE’s membership rates stabilized after a 10+ year decline.


Client: NCTE – www.ncte.org

Executive Director, Rebrand Project Director: Emily Kirkpatrick
Special Projects Coordinator | Office of Executive Director, Internal Project Manager: Lori Bianchini
Senior Director of Operations, Internal Brand Implementation: Lynn Neal
Director of Communications, Internal Brand Implementation: Jenna Fournel
Director of Publications, Internal Brand Implementation: Kurt Austin
Director of Affiliated Groups, Internal Brand Implementation: Kristen Suchor

Brand Strategists/Designers: Brains on Fire – www.brainsonfire.com

Courageous President, Team Support: Robbin Phillips
Word-of-Mouth Inspiration Officer, Creative Director: Geno Church
Account Executive, Project Manager: Emily Kosa
Lead Design Thinker, Web Creative Director: Ben Hart
Brand Storyteller, Brand Voice + Copywriting: Amy Taylor
Community Strategist, Brand Implementation Strategy: Moe Rice
Art Director, Brand Manager: Sean Madden
Graphic Designer, Brand Execution Design: Jesse Bowser
Designer Craftsman, Brand Execution Design: Greg Ramsey
Account Executive, Web Project Manager: Gustavo Delgado
Designer, Web Design: Josh Maynard
Production Manager, Production: Alison Quarles
Account Executive, Special Projects: Abby Pautz
Office Manager, Special Projects: Mary Susan Fiedler
Community Manager, Social Strategy: Laura Garvin
Community Manager, Content Manager: Amanda Knight
Graphic Designer, Brand Development: Deb Trout
Insight Consultant, Insight Support: John Moore

Brand Neuroscientist, Competitive Analysis: Justine Foo, PHD