Wednesday, June 5 was Early Education Day of Action. Across the nation, events were held to mobilize advocates around   investments in early childhood education. There were tweet-ups, meet-ups,  rallies and visits to legislators.  A new campaign – – launched with a petition drive as its centerpiece.  These are the effective strategies you might expect from an advocacy campaign.

To support the effort from Chicago, we  brought together some incredibly talented and respected graphic designers to present early learning data in a brand new way.  Twenty-five designers formed ten teams and worked for eight intense and fun hours to graphically represent early education’s importance and impact. Many thanks to  the nationally lauded agencies who sent representatives, including Gravitytank, Avenue designers Patrick Iadanza, Codi Goodis and Ryan Hammond, Firebelly, Razorfish, Leo Burnett, Simple Truth, and Bark Design, and to the  freelance designers including Alison Kuczwara, Carrie Richardson, Ciara Panacchia, Keri Harvey, Bridget HapnerBethany Schreck, who participated.

The event was organized by designers themselves – led  by Greater Good Studio. The challenge: in less than eight hours, read pages of data and research, use it to support  five key early learning messages, and design a shareable graphic that tells a compelling story and motivates the reader to take action. Designers competed for a $5,000 grand prize and four runner-up prizes of $500 each.  Inspired by special guest Jason Kunesh, former Director of User Experience, Obama for America and a brief overview by FFYF Executive Director Kris Perry, they dove straight in and had to be prodded to break for dinner.

In eight short hours, the designers created fourteen amazing infographics  and made our judges’ job very difficult!  The winning design was created by Avenue. The four runners up included Razorfish, Simple Truth, one team of freelancers (Bridget, Bethany, Keri) and another team of freelancers (Alison and Carrie).

Thanks to design advisors Amanda Buck, Nick Wiesner, Renata Graw, and George Aye. Special thanks to judges Sara Frisk, Robert Zolna, Mike Joosse, Nick Adam and Tanner Woodford, and to our hosts Avenue for provide the perfect space.

The creative developed at the designathon will be rolled out over the course of the Grow America Stronger with Quality Early Education campaign. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to see a new graphic each week.