The Life You Want


Who’s your toughest audience? Imagine trying to engage jaded, critical, distracted, stressed, and angst-ridden… teenagers. Imagine trying to engage every 10th and 11th grade student across the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. MassInsight Education, a resource for teachers, asked Schwadesign to do that. Avoiding schoolyard taunts and teasing of our youth, we brokered a powerful conversation with a clear impact: improved scores on the MCAS standardized test.


We know authenticity is the secret to communication with any target audience – and no one sees through a lack of authenticity like a pack of teenagers. So we sat down with the pack. Schwadesign conducted contextual research by hanging out with 14- and 15-year-olds to understand how they speak, what they read, and the elements that comprise their visual and verbal vernacular. Drawing on our research, we began overhauling the core messaging of MCAS. Forget about the stress and concern; focus on embarking on new goals and a ladder of success. We reframed the initial theme, “You Must Do It,” to “The Life You Want,” moving from task to opportunity. Drawing in illustrator James Kraus of Art Guy Studios, we developed content to tell the story through print collateral that fell into the hands of every 10th and 11th grader in Massachusetts. Did it hit home? Did they enjoy it? It might be tough to get a teen to admit when you motivate them, but that’s okay. We see the numbers: MCAS scores went up both years the guide was published.


Market research & analysis, content strategy, content co-authorship, print design & production, print supervision.

“Josh Silverman has been terrific to work with, very attentive, and full of good ideas. His is a very creative shop and one we can highly recommend.”— Andrew Calkins, Director, MassInsight Education


Providence, RI &
San Francisco, CA
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401 427 0270