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NextLesson Lesson Covers

Challenge: Standardize lesson and project covers to be more modern, grade‑aligned, and “Pinterest‑friendly” to convey and sell our content.

My first big task at NextLesson! These original covers were made with no template by the authors so results varied wildly. Logo placement was inconsistent, random typefaces and graphic elements were pulled from various Internet sources, and all seemed similar regardless of age group.

The redesigned covers
After: examples of current lesson covers
Original Covers
Before: the original lesson covers in 2014

Before I could start churning out covers, I needed to make sure a consistent design was in place. The first step, to facilitate faster browsing and scanning, was to make sure the same information always appeared in the same spot. We identified three signifiers that would always be visible and clear—subject, type of learning material and grade level.

I wondered how strict we should be in regards to 1 color and 1 typeface. In regards to teachers and students: is ordered uniformity too boring for them? And certainly a design for 1st Grade Counting would not look the same as a 10th Grade lesson dealing with inequality. After getting some feedback from teachers and looking at what teachers were sharing on Pinterest, we opted to make the covers less on the uniform side.

Ideas
Initial designs for information placement
Ideas
First Iteration of the Covers
Ideas
Cover and card design

Planned in tandem with a redesigned search/browse page, we set about standardizing the displayed information as well as taking the first steps to form a distinctive look. After the logo and title, space still seemed a bit restricted, so we settled on separating the grade and subject and putting it on the card.

For freelancers, I developed a checklist of things to consider when making a cover as well as a template to start. I developed a graphics library for them to use to facilitate faster turnaround time and ensure consistency of style.

Jump to 2 years and 2,034 covers later. Most of the back-covers are complete and a system is in place for new covers. Here are some of my favorite covers below.


Design System and Illustrated Covers

2014-2016

2,000+ covers

  • Photoshop
  • Illustrator
  • Spreadsheets
  • Indesign

Design System and Illustrated Covers

2014-2016

2,000+ covers

  • Photoshop
  • Illustrator
  • Spreadsheets
  • Indesign
The redesigned covers
After: examples of current lesson covers
Original Covers
Before: the original lesson covers in 2014

Before I could start churning out covers, I needed to make sure a consistent design was in place. The first step, to facilitate faster browsing and scanning, was to make sure the same information always appeared in the same spot. We identified three signifiers that would always be visible and clear—subject, type of learning material and grade level.

I wondered how strict we should be in regards to 1 color and 1 typeface. In regards to teachers and students: is ordered uniformity too boring for them? And certainly a design for 1st Grade Counting would not look the same as a 10th Grade lesson dealing with inequality. After getting some feedback from teachers and looking at what teachers were sharing on Pinterest, we opted to make the covers less on the uniform side.

Ideas
Initial designs for information placement
Ideas
First Iteration of the Covers
Ideas
Cover and card design

Planned in tandem with a redesigned search/browse page, we set about standardizing the displayed information as well as taking the first steps to form a distinctive look. After the logo and title, space still seemed a bit restricted, so we settled on separating the grade and subject and putting it on the card.

For freelancers, I developed a checklist of things to consider when making a cover as well as a template to start. I developed a graphics library for them to use to facilitate faster turnaround time and ensure consistency of style.

Jump to 2 years and 2,034 covers later. Most of the back-covers are complete and a system is in place for new covers. Here are some of my favorite covers below.

Additional Images

All Ten, Line Up!
Amazon Excursion
App-tastic 4
Arguing for Continental Drift
Blackout Poetry
Blockbuster Blowout
Box Office Bonanza!
Build a Lunar Lander
Bundles of Fun
Compound Word Wiz
Crowd Control
Driverless Cars
Frida Kahlo in Multimedia
From Then to Now: Civil Rights Movement
Funding Space Exploration
Genre Knowledge
Golden Gaming
Holly Jolly Trig
Intergalactic Tourism
It
JFK Assassination Symposium
Kids Meals Matter
Mmm Mmm Bakery
Movie Popularity
Need for Speed
On The Go
Pro Pitchers
Probability Possibilities
Put Me in, Coach!
Should Wild Animals Be Kept as Pets?
Sight Needs Light
Solar Power
State of the Union
The Election
Time to Fly

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