Established in 1975, Catalpa Kinderopvang (Catalpa Childcare) is one of the largest professional childcare organizations in the Netherlands, providing day care, after school care, and child-minding for more than 18,000 children aged 0 to 13 years across 220 locations that employ 2,300 people. Catalpa introduced a new identity earlier this year designed by Amsterdam-based Koeweiden Postma.
The perception and imagination of children was pivotal in the development of the new visual identity for Catalpa childcare. Koeweiden Postma therefore asked children to participate directly in the creation of illustrations and photography. Furthermore Koeweiden Postma developed a unique and distinctive logo-family, typography, design language and colour scheme.
— Koeweiden Postma Case Study
The previous logo wasn’t anything terribly bad, especially within the realm of childcare logos, which tend to be consistently rudimentary. The new logo, at first glance, seems no different than other childcare logos, with that Comic-Sans-esque aesthetic that seems so hard to escape but there is a subtle refinement to this logo that is best appreciated in the context of the rest of the identity, where the textural and color rhythm of the custom typeface becomes more evident. I really wish they had done something slightly different to the hand-drawn elements so that it wasn’t so close to the wobbly stroke and thickness of Comic Sans, but perhaps the Dutch don’t have as big a hang-up as we do with it.
In application, the logo becomes part of a happy set of brand of assets that add up to a very consistent and targeted look. It’s undeniable that this is a place for children. Using kids to create visuals for a kids organization seems like a default technique but, again, this has been done with refinement and a little surprise by using odd everyday elements as a base for kids to go crazy on them. The whole identity strikes a good balance between an identity made to look like it was done by kids and one done by adults.