TalkAbroad: Connecting Learners with Locals
There’s a long-standing problem in foreign language education. If you’re a student in the US, you can have conversations with your classmates or instructors. If you’re lucky, you have friends that speak the language you are studying. But if you want to have authentic conversations with native speakers, you are going to have to travel. And studying abroad is expensive. It can be a huge commitment of time and money that’s out of reach for a lot of students.
TalkAbroad bridges that gap. It’s a platform that connects learners with native speakers all over the world. In 15 or 30 minutes at a time, learners have immersive, real-world conversations. They make connections and exchange culture. They learn language in conversation.
When we partnered with TalkAbroad, they were already a global organization. While their brand hadn’t changed much since their founding in 2009, they had worked with more than 500 universities. They have staff on five continents. They’re the oldest, largest, and most pedagogically rigorous company of their kind. They had outgrown their brand, and they were still growing. We wanted to help them tell their story to a new generation of learners.
Our first challenge was working with a team spread across the world. Another was maintaining hard-earned brand equity with instructors and administrators. But our biggest challenge was replicating the urgency and connection — the aha! moments — of a one-on-one phone call with a member of their team. For TalkAbroad, sales had always happened in conversation.
We presented design concepts on a spectrum from refreshed identity to reintroduction. We focused on dialogue. Give and take. Back and forth. The new visual identity represents the conversations at the heart of the organization. Updated and expanded brand colors provide accessible contrast. A custom illustration style adds personality to the brand, welcoming learners with a friendly face.
The verbal identity is conversational and human, opting for straightforward sentences over academic jargon. We helped define their offerings, zeroing in on the core experience and its benefits beyond fluency. New foundational language provides a consistent introduction by leading with their story and mission.
TalkAbroad has always been an online company. That’s a little less noteworthy in 2022 than it was in 2009. By necessity, the previous site focused on how to use an online video chat platform. The new site provides distinct user journeys for each audience. Friendly, encouraging language helps to calm students’ nerves. Instructors learn TalkAbroad’s story and mission alongside its offerings. And a consistent call to action serves as an invitation: let’s have a conversation.
Scope of work
Photography Art Direction
Illustration by Nathan Weaver