Foundation for a College Education

Graybird supports Foundation for a College Education to build a robust volunteer college advisory.

The Challenge

Walk in the door at Foundation for a College Education (FCE) most evenings and you will find high school students learning in groups, working with tutors, or chatting about what they will wear to Senior Celebration, the annual event honoring its high school graduates. At STEAM, you might catch middle schoolers critiquing each other’s puzzles at the end of their 6-week engineering design project. The hard work and forward motion are palpable. But that’s not what FCE’s logo, website, and marketing materials communicated about this mighty East Palo Alto organization that supports underserved students of color to graduate from four-year colleges. The stone arch, adopted by FCE twenty years ago as the emblem of higher education access, had become tired and cliché. In 2017, Graybird Foundation stepped in with a significant grant to give FCE the identity overhaul it needed.
FCE Mentoring

The Bold Move


Graybird Foundation zeroed in on Trust and Inspiration, two emotions that FCE stakeholders wanted to see in the representation of its new identity. In addition, the logo needed to connect the organization’s name with the complex and demanding process through which students and families navigate along the path to college graduation. Graybird worked with a special marketing committee at FCE to select three logo designs from an initial group of 16. In true form with its value in community, FCE tested these designs with students, parents, staff, tutors, and donors, which informed the final selection of the new logo. The new identity combines the organization’s name in a clear, strong typeface and bold color, carving a direct path to achieve the goal of a college degree.

3 colors. FCE’s extended name is a graphic mouthful. Using purple and red to emphasize the meaningful words helps the readability of the word mark.

While the line connects the words College Education directly to the ultimate goal, it moves through the maze, representing the complex process of applying to college and navigating the road to earn a 4-year degree.
Foundation for a College Education

The two words, College Education, are in the same color so they read as one unit. Red, the strongest color, is used to emphasize the ultimate goal.

The red center, directly attached to the word College, represents the goal, a college degree.
Bruce Ives LifeMoves
​Graybird has been the perfect partner. They listened to who we are and who we aim to be, and then deployed their tremendous talent to the task of making our brand match our sense of ourselves. We couldn’t be happier or more grateful!

— Julie Lythcott-Haims, FCE President

Moving Forward

Empowering Staff as Marketers

Like many small, community-based organizations, FCE is powered by hardworking staff dedicated to developing and executing program, and to smooth operation of the nonprofit, but not to marketing it. Graybird designed and produced a comprehensive “starter pack” of critical brand assets including a new website, redesigned business system, and templates for newsletters and invitations. For a period of time following FCE’s new identity launch, Graybird supported FCE staff who conscientiously rebranded several communications vehicles to promote their student-centered programs and the organization in general. With the help of Graybird’s brand identity workshop and detailed brand guidelines, staff members continue to independently create and manage the production of FCE-branded material for both internal and external audiences.

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