CAST Schools

Design Intern

|

Fall 2021- Spring 2022

Description

I design the “CAST Shop” for my Design Internship with CAST Schools, which is a network of specialized career-themed in-district public charter schools. This shop will cater to all of the CAST Schools and align with the values and mission of the organization.

Tools

Figma, Figjam, Adobe XD, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Google Suite

Collaborators

Solo

CAST Shop by Jon Rodz, CAST Schools

The Problem

Establishing a Reflective and Appealing Apparel Shop for CAST

CAST Schools is seeking to establish an apparel shop that aligns with their brand values and mission. The shop needs to be appealing to wide variety of stakeholders. The current solution does not fully meet these needs, and CAST Schools is looking to create a more reflective and appealing shop.

The Solution

Creating a Sustainable Apparel Shop for CAST

I designed a comprehensive solution for the CAST Shop, including a website, apparel designs, advertising strategies, business and supply logistics, and a design system for future growth.

Website + Collection + Ads

The Process

Roadmap

1.

Research & planning

2.

Supplier & Distribution Logistics

3.

Brand and Web Design

4.

Jon Rodz Collection

5.

Advertising

Proposal

In August 2020, as a marketing intern in my junior year of high school, I noticed one of the six CAST Schools released apparel for a fundraiser; CAST Tech High School set up a shop for that year's school clothes.

I noticed that the apparel did not fit the CAST brand's language and design. With words like "Tradition," (CAST uses words like “Innovative” and “New” and “Unique”). I had an idea of redesigning the shirts (seen on the right). Creating designs that break every brand standard.

ORGINAL SCRETCHES FOR CAST SHOP

Being that CAST is a mission-focused network of schools with the motto of "Real Dreams. Real Futures." I knew that CAST apparel needed to reflect the brand. I started sketching some of my own ideas and wrote a proposal for CAST to see if I could take on this project. The project was green lit and I became a marketing intern to a design intern overseeing this project, solo.

What is CAST?

Vision: is the "WHY" coming to life. What would the world look like if everything went perfectly, looking into the future. CAST has multiple visions "Create exemplars to address San Antonio’s persistent educational challenges and income inequality across all school districts. Develop student problem-solving, creativity, and critical thinking skills. Ensure all our students are academically prepared for higher education. Develop students’ career readiness, to include communication skills. Create a pipeline of citizens to address the workforce and leadership needs of San Antonio and beyond. Acts as a learning lab for future educators through the development of relevant curriculum, with a focus upon business and technology, and the implementation of personalized learning within the instructional design of the school"

Mission: Are the steps taken to help advance the vision. "Reinvent schooling in a way that maximizes options for students while preparing them to be College Ready, Career Ready, and Life Ready."

In June of 2016, Charles Butt and H-E-B announced they would provide startup funds to develop the CAST Network and its first school, CAST Tech, in partnership with San Antonio ISD and Tech Bloc, a technology economy advocacy movement, as well as a core group of local employers. San Antonio College and UTSA rounded out the partners. A committee of industry leaders, school superintendents and workforce development experts proposed the CAST model after studying innovative  school models across Texas and the nation.

CAST Schools are built in partnership with public schools. Today, CAST Schools are a network of 5 schools in three (3) different school districts, East Central ISD, Southwest ISD, and San Antonio ISD. The network’s sixth school, CAST Teach opens in August of 2022 in Northside ISD.

CAST Schools have 6 campuses, each focused on a different industry.

Their tagline is “Real Dreams. Real Futures.” and after getting a full understanding of the brand, I was able to put my own story into what CAST does. They help students get from A, their dream career, to B, now that dream career is a future. It will happen.

The CAST Philosophy

Industry and other community leaders are equal stakeholders in school design and governance; they collaborate and work alongside students and co-create everything from projects to school curriculum and schedule.

As a community, we help all students reach their full potential. Our schools are intentionally diverse and integrated, and our enrollment practices create schools that reflect the communities we serve. We use data to drive continuous improvement and to ensure that every child's needs are seen and met.

Students act as co-creators and co-problem solvers at the school and beyond, offering ideas, posing new questions and authentically engaging in their education. Student-led learning promotes effective collaboration, development of leadership skills and the development of self-management, goal setting, self-advocacy, and student agency.

Student learning is connected to real-world needs outside the school walls; students travel to the workspace and design relevant projects for real audiences with competitions, presentations, and other authentic exhibitions of learning.

Research

I looked at the data from the fundraiser CAST Tech did to find the impact a shop would have to a school, to find patterns and see what students are buying.

Here’s the breakdown:

MOST BOUGHT ITEMS

Very few bought a pom beanie, a stadium blanket, a folding chair, a sports pullover, a colorful windbreaker, tech hoody, and tights. No student bought a duffle bag.

1266 Clicks

99 People = 19% of CAST Tech students bought items

From Aug 3rd to Sept 2nd, the campaign peaked during the beginning and ending, with 1,266 clicks total. CAST Tech had a student population of 520 students so only 19% of students bought items. We could replicate the same success with every CAST campus, reminder that this was during COVID, when schooling was completely virtual as well.

Survey sent out for how much the school would buy:

Parents/Educators would  pay $10 for a shirt

Students would pay $20-$25 for a shirt

CAST Schools are based in low income areas, 50% of students are from the school districts, which are economically disadvantaged. 50% are from all over the city.

Impact

After researching the small fundraiser CAST Tech during a time no one was going to school and the shirts were not stylish, it is safe to say that this project will help CAST fundraise. CAST Tech had $8,502.35 in revenue, so with 6 other schools there would be at a minimum of $51,000 new revenue.

Stakeholders

CAST doesn’t also serve students and educators. They have a wide range of people who are involved that would be impacted by this shop

STUDENTS
Students from six schools from varying backgrounds

FAMILIES
The family and friends of CAST students

CAST CAMPUSES
Six CAST campuses across 4 districts.

CAST Network
The CAST team, leaders, and boards

ALUMNI
Graduates of one of the six CAST campuses

INDUSTRY PARTNERS
Mentors, partners, companies and community memebers.

Supplier & Distribution Logistics

CAST is a super small team and does not have the infrastructure to supply product, manage product, or distribute products

It seems like every business that sells shirts offers this. A temporary site they put up for a limited time, they manage everything, and once that fundraiser period is over, the temporary site shuts down, makes the shirts and ships the product. This is not what we were looking to build. We wanted to build something much more sustainable and something that lives on the CAST Schools site.

This option was working with a local business to manage the shipping and print the shirts. Literally like dropshipping but local. Allows us to keep inventory at their place so when the schools needs inventory we can go grab it and sell. It's very lengthy process to set up and they might charge us for a lot, managing the site, holding the inventory, not very cost effective.

The other option was CAST Do It Yourself. We buy the shirts, manager and ship, though in this case there is no shipping. It would cost a lot to buy the shirts and a lot to set up.

Prinitfy is a great tool and we used Prinitify for distribution, we got to have them take care of production while also having 0 risk, $0 down. It was perfect, though the quality won't be as good, it is DTG which in my opinion isn't the same as screenprinting. DTG is worse but it makes it cheaper for everyone.

Sub-Brand Architecture

REORGANIZE SUB-BRAND: CAMPUSES

CAST had an amazing style guide designed by DeBerry Group, now know as talkStrategy, however, it failed to give the exact colors the campuses used which led a bunch of different colors of the logos. It also failed to show visually how as the campuses grow, then there’s a system that exist to design the logos.

For that reason I updated certain parts of the existing style guide.

CAMPUS LOGOS

NEW SUB-BRAND: PROGRAMS

CAST offers various programs, and In mid-2020, CAST launched the first program, CAST Live and CAST News. CAST Live is a live event with students interviewing local leaders and CAST News updating the community. With a growing number of programs, the design needs to be visually different yet identifiable. The CAST Shop was a perfect opportunity to standardize the various programs, the old identity had mix matches of colors.

PROGRAM LOGO BREAKDOWN

For program logos, the design includes the “CAST” wordmark with the program name next to it in Metal Grey (HEX: A4BAC2), at the end a modern simple solid icon in Lead Yellow (HEX: FEC527) that characterizes the program. The icon can be the same size as the type or superscripted.

The tracking for the Metal Grey program name is -54% in Gotham Bold font.

PROGRAM LOGOS

Web and Mobile Design

WOOCOM DEFAULT DESIGN

CAST Schools uses Wordpress so we set up WooCommerce which left us with the default which is extremely ugly but also not functionally at  all for our stakeholders. Alumni, parents, and students might only want to buy their specific school. Industry Partners and the CAST Network might want to use the generic logo to show they support all the schools.

Also, where’s the cart? Is the shop self contained? There was a lot of questions. I created a site map to start the page design.

SITEMAP

WooCommerce has a way it splits things into categories and tags, which is helpful because by categories we can make it easier for our stakeholders to navigate the site. Here’s how I broke down the categories

CATEGORY ORGANIZATION 

Version 1

The next process was creating the web design with the structures, This process was iterative.
In my first iteration, I took a stab at trying to do everything on one page, from telling what the CAST Shop is, to showing the current the collection and what the collections about, to a section about student fundraising.

After testing it with people it was deemed way to confusing, so went to redesign the site again which was much more simpler.

Less Really Is More...

The redesign went straight to the point, straight to the clothes and it also has a place at the top to sort through categories.

I actually prototyped this for my boss to see, interact with and approve, here.

I built it on Wordpress’s WooCommerce, connected Printify and now for the fun put of designing shirts!

Standardize Design Elements

CAST had a bunch of different elements all at play, however, they weren’t playing together, partly because they didn’t know how they could play together. I looked at all the design elements used, Photography, Typography, Icons and Illustrations. I also defined what CAST Schools personality is. Check out the pages straight from the style guide for more info on defining.

PERSONALITY PAGE FROM REDESIGNED BRAND STANDARDS

For Typography and Photography, the DeBerry group had already defined the typeface and how to display images. However, I added a typeface CAST uses a lot “Chinese Rocks” and for photography, we started using pixels in our design so I added too.

TYPOGRAPHY & PHOTOGRAPHY PAGE FROM REDESIGNED BRAND STANDARDS

I had an in-depth look at the style CAST needs for the CAST Shop. This page took a look at Icons used by CAST and how Illustrations should look like. Illustrations would inform my designs for the shop apparel.

Jon Rodz Collection

As we got to talking about the design, we decided to have a program where CAST will hire alumni and San Antonio artist to create the apparel. I got to create my collection using my “Spark” design element into CAST.

Each school had a different personality so I wanted to make sure that each personality shown through in the design. There were 2 versions of the shirts, one with the campus logo and CAST colors. Another, with the CAST Network logo with my colors.

As an alumni from CAST Tech, the school that started me on this path, I was excited to design this one. Based on my original concepts as I defined the CAST style the illustration took shape to be what it is now. The image shows the process that took shape to make this shirt. This design used the grey to be an electronic board and CAST Tech is close to downtown so the Tower of Americas being the center of the shirt made sense. CAST as a whole is innovative but CAST Tech prides itself especially.

This was the first shirt I designed for CAST Stem. From looking at all of Stem's design, I noticed that they love their neon green and loved their gears. Words like "logistics, build, engineering, observe, creators, thinkers, mind, math" led my design for this shirt. But not everyone is a mathematician here. The pathways CAST Stem offers are diverse, and the copy on the shirt needed to be welcoming to everyone at CAST Stem and the Network as a whole. "Building Dreams" a play on from "Real Dreams. Real Futures." but building sounds very stemmy.

CAST Med is all about the medical industry, words like heal, remedy, cure came to my mind, however, they didn't really fit the Network as a whole. CAST Med campus prides itself on educating their students to learn spanish and english, dual language. So the copy is in Spanish. After sketching the heart appeared and the words "Cuidando Con Corazon" fit so well, translate to "With All My Heart" Giving it your all, caring with your all.

CAST Lead was interesting. The school's focus is hospitality, so like hotels, eCommerce. Airplanes arises when looking at the words they school uses "Lead Here. Lead Anywhere." Airline is also hospitality so it fit so perfectly.

CAST Teach, all about educators, getting students to become teachers! This was the last shirt I designed and I was terrified this shirt wouldn't look as good ad the others, after all how do you visually show education without it looking generic? But I feel this works. CAST transforms futures, but teaching literaly does that.

ALA loves their rivers, and their logo is a tree. ALA is all about exploration, it's about adventure, world, grow, discover. That got me thinking of the "Eyes Of Wonder" like viewing the world with excitement, no judgements, curiosity. ALA is also the only school that's not just a high school, pre-k to 12th grade. This copy embodied CAST mission and the schools personality.

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DesignedBy
Jon Rodz
From the City of San Antonio

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