First 5 Lex

First 5 Lex: Building a foundation for lifelong learning

Not every young child in Kentucky is set up for success. The stats are grim. 22% of Kentucky children live in poverty, and 33% have caregivers without secure employment. And, less than 50% of incoming kindergarteners are prepared for school.

Here’s another stat. 90% of a child’s brain develops before the age of five — the fastest growth occurring before the age of three. In other words, those first few years are crucial for early learning and development. The good news? Those are the easiest and best years to interact and connect with children.

First 5 Lex — a passionate group of Kentucky educators and advocates — formed as a response to these alarming statistics. They wanted to change the trajectory of early learning and school readiness. Partnering with Fayette County Schools, First 5 Lex combined decades of experience and began sharing resources and accessible ways to interact and connect with children from birth to kindergarten.

We partnered with them to reintroduce and refresh the campaign, to help them communicate their central message of “read, talk, play,” so they can continue building a foundation for lifelong learning.

We quickly learned how important color is for early learners. Whether on a banner, postcard, vehicle, or screen, vibrancy is key for brain stimulation and development. We refreshed the visual identity with a richer and brighter palette and developed flexible illustrations to symbolize “read, talk, play.” We also created a consistent voice and other foundational language pieces to demonstrate their deep knowledge while remaining approachable and positive. 

One of the most important things we did throughout this process was talk with real families. We interviewed and filmed caregivers during their every day activities: a grocery store outing, a ride in the car, bathtime, household chores. We wanted to show that these seemingly mundane moments are the easiest times to connect with children through a simple conversation, pointing out colors, counting items, feeling textures, or reading labels and signs. You don’t need expensive toys or huge blocks of time to have meaningful interactions with your children.

Getting as many experts involved in this project was also a must. We collaborated closely with numerous outside partners, including videographers, photographers, sound mixers, art directors, and producers, to bring the vision to life. We worked with our Nostos friends at Foundry to get the First 5 Lex app designed, developed, and operating.

Developing a comprehensive set of brand guidelines was a big deliverable for this project. We built a robust bank of social media posts, videos, photos, radio and TV ads, as well as assets, like billboards, event materials, and vehicle wraps, to begin spreading the mission across the county.

Raising young children is one of the hardest and most important jobs. Many on our team are parents and feel the pressure to be good parents, workers, and teachers for our kids. This work reminds us that we can keep it simple. First 5 Lex meets families where they are, empowering us all to be a child’s first teacher. We are honored to play a small role in helping children in Fayette County succeed.