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May 26

We’re Back In-Person With A “Brand” New Tinkergarten

by Brian Fitzgerald

The Big Idea

It feels like a pretty big deal to unveil a new brand look and feel for Tinkergarten—complete with a bold and beautiful new logo, a vibrant color palette, images of kids tinkering anywhere and playful illustrations. Our announcement today, however, communicates so much more. This is a foundational shift to support our long-held vision—that all parents are empowered as their child’s most important teacher; all families nurture our planet; and all kids learn how to thrive in our dynamic world. 

At the heart of what we do is live, weekly instruction, an at-home curriculum, and a rich learning community to keep kids outdoors and learning all year long. Over the last year, we’ve shared the sadness with our community about needing to pause our in-person classes, and at the same time responded to the acute need to keep their families thriving during the pandemic. While keeping nature at our core, we reached into homes and helped kids fill their days with stimulating outdoor play time. As daily family life has shifted, we’ve met the challenges with an at-home Tinkergarten that can be accessed anywhere via any connected device, that inspires hours of outdoor, independent play. 

With hope on the horizon, we announce the return of our in-person programs. Our live sessions are now available in two formats to meet the needs of families everywhere: at home instruction that fosters outdoor learning anytime, anywhere, and small group in-person classes outdoors in hundreds of locations across the country.

What Else Is New At Tinkergarten?

We’ve also heard from many families about how much you learn from sharing ideas with one another, and how important the social aspects of connecting with others in the community are to kids and parents alike. So, we used that feedback to make significant improvements to our parent experience. Our new product experience combines three key components to ensure our families can “tinker” anywhere, anytime and naturally fold outdoor play into their lifestyles throughout the year.

  • Comprehensive Learning Program - Weekly live instruction remains a core component, and we’ve designed a range of valuable parent resources to help you reinforce and sustain the learning that happens in class, too. Step-by-step activities, printables, video read-alouds, and a library of parenting articles provide invaluable coaching to parents—from how to encourage their child’s exploration, to when to step aside to let the true eureka! moments occur. 
  • My Tinkergarten - A whole new tool set for Tinkergarten members to access our curriculum, play, document and track their children’s progress and turn any space into an inspiring outdoor learning environment for their kids. There is a critical “play-document-share” loop inherent in Tinkergarten’s model. Throughout their week, families take photos of their kids “hard at play” to capture the moments when discoveries are made, new ideas are born, and next milestones achieved. As families play, they share their experiences with others in their local communities and within our Outdoors All 4 community, exchanging ideas and building everyone’s knowledge. And along the way, in their own Tinkergarten portfolio, families build a priceless history of their child’s early learning experiences.
  • Parent Community - The benefits of Tinkergarten membership are profound. Being a member means the playful learning continues season after season as kids develop the 8 Key Skills that will propel them through life. It also means that parents are connected with a like-minded community of families who play and learn together. Through membership, parents become more effective at supporting their kids’ learning, and the kids reap the benefits.

A Bit More About the New Tinkergarten Branding

A new product experience this exciting called for an equally exciting new brand look and feel to match.

Design Process

The original Tinkergarten logo will forever hold a special place in our hearts. Sketched on a sheet of paper over one of the many early conversations between Meghan and me, and soulfully improved by one of our early designers who still supports our team, it retained an organic, lovable feel. “Tinker and grow” was the inspiration behind its creation and an inspiration that still drives us today.

Alas, it was time to evolve. We teamed up with Moving Brands, a talented team who we knew was well met for the occasion, having worked with some of the world's best brands such as Virgin, Netflix and Khan Academy, and were still game to laugh, play and get their hands dirty alongside our team. We aimed to maintain this organic, child-centric feel while creating a dynamic new look that is memorable, authentic, versatile and scalable, and a celebration of both our love of the outdoors and our playful nature.

  • Logo and original typeface - The new Tinkergarten logo features a custom, hand-drawn typeface where each letter speaks to the individuality in each of us. Look closely and you’ll see that even the two “T”s in the logo are not the same! It was also designed to be modular, so that the logo can be configured and rearranged much like a child plays with alphabet blocks. The new brand is easily identifiable, thrives physically and digitally, and is the perfect complement to photography, curriculum resources, promotional materials, and collaborative work with partners.
  • Color Palette - There is a palpable energy to our new palette that mirrors the beautiful family of colors and the transitions between seasons in the natural world. A sunshine yellow, a sky blue, a springtime green, and an earthy red are the prominent shades that, when combined with beautiful images of kids playing, help tell the Tinkergarten story.
  • Hand-Drawn “Illustration Delights” - Notice the whimsical, illustrated glyphs adorning photos and sprinkled throughout our website and across other media. Raindrops, snowflakes, flowers, rainbows, leaf imprints, pebbles, coral, and more. They remind us of the childlike wonder that is always hiding in plain sight when we step outside. They’re fun and playful to be sure, but they came about through a deliberate and methodical process. When developing this concept, the team trekked out into city parks to collect “nature treasures” which they brought back to the studio and digitized to form the basis for the illustrations. Add a dash of personality that only a child could notice, a pinch of judiciously placed animation and you get a wonderful addition to the Tinkergarten branding system.
  • Community-generated visual content - Our photos, videos, and stories of families Tinkering anywhere brings the learning Tinkergarten families are experiencing to life. When a caregiver documents and shares a child’s experience, that grown-up reflects and learns how to better support that child’s learning and development. When moms and dads give and get ideas from one another, they learn new and unique ways to activate their child’s curiosity, spark their imaginations, and deepen the learning and love of the planet.  

We are rejuvenated with a tremendous sense of hope, ready to support a new generation of children across the world. Today marks an important point in the evolution of Tinkergarten, and one we know will be met with families everywhere reconnecting with the outdoors—we’ll see you out there!

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Brian Fitzgerald

Founder, CEO

Towing the line between consumer-edtech and slow parenting—Founder @tinkergarten

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