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Harlem RBI started in 1991 when a group of volunteers built a baseball diamond, “The Field of Dreams” in an abandoned lot in East Harlem, on one of the worst blocks in New York City. Their aim was to teach the kids in the community life lessons through baseball – from team skills and patience, to being ok with failure. The volunteers soon saw change in the area. Violence and gang recruitment fell, but they also noticed a change in the kids involved in Harlem RBI; they were graduating High School and attending college at a much higher rate than the Tri State average.
In 2011 the Dream Charter School opened in Harlem, its name an homage to the original field (which is still in use). Their mission now was to give kids a safe place to play, learn and grow, overtime becoming a nationally recognized leader in youth development. The organization had dreams of its own – to expand in the Tri State area and beyond - but with multiple names, Harlem RBI (for the programs), Dream (the school) and a complicated visual presence, they needed a new identity to reflect the growth and future plans for expansion of all types.
From naming to identity to school and sports uniforms, we re-envisioned a Dream that was fit for the future. Empowering kids, teachers, and communities alike, the new brand brings a bold, clean sensibility to match each Dream student’s ambitions. We built a new identity based around the icon of a home plate - representing safety, success and teamwork. The simple icon allowed flexibility to create a system reflecting the expansive nature of childrens’ imaginations - it can be anything – a fish, a trophy, an apple, a pencil. We created 30+ uniforms for the sports teams, with different typography, crafted by Ian Brignell, for each year group. For grades K-5, their uniforms borrow from classic baseball tropes, embodying the history and quirks of the game. The Middle School uniforms lean into the industrialized, modern feel of locker rooms and stadium signage, whereas the High School uniform's typography is inspired by the greats, the legends of MLB past.
The new identity allowed Dream to confidently open new afterschool and summer programs in Newark and a high school in the South Bronx. With a fresh look and name they could move to these new areas and integrate with different communities, which is key to their success. There also came an increase in donations by selling desirable merchandise at galas and fundraising events, fulfilling their ongoing mission to support dreams everywhere.