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Matchbook Learning Case Study

Designing the Future of Education

About Matchbook Learning

In the last 100 years, no industry has seen less progress than public education. The old model has failed a large segment of the population, especially those from low-income zip codes.

Matchbook Learning is courageously turning around America’s lowest performing public schools, starting with those in communities with the highest poverty rates. Matchbook’s unique model blends traditional teaching and technology to create a personalized learning experience for each student.

Starting Question

How do we create a strong brand that communicates a new way to do school? How do we increase academic proficiencies for students who are so far behind the curve?

Our Work

01. Brand & Narrative
02. Classroom UX & UI
03. Social Strategy

01. Brand & Narrative

Since day one of Matchbook’s founding, FiveStone has worked to create a compelling brand and narrative that could drive the organization forward and attract funders and other key stakeholders to Matchbook’s methodology. Our primary storytelling device hinges around the messaging framework: “When I grow up ...” Often times we forget that zip code doesn’t rob someone of the ability to dream. We wanted to make sure that students at Matchbook schools are given the chance to dream and create paths toward achievement. This question weaves itself into every touchpoint of Matchbook, from the student curriculum to the stationery.

02. Classroom UX & UI

We set out to infuse the Matchbook model and pedagogy into a technology solution called Spark. Our primary objective was to design workflows that would help students increase their time pacing through academic standards. Increased pacing leads to students who perform on grade level, so we researched classroom behavior to find solutions that would help move students through academic standards at a rate that would ensure on-time graduation. Over the course of two years, we spent hours observing behavior inside classrooms as well as interviewing students and teachers.

03. Social Strategy

With three schools in two different states, we needed to create and cultivate an engaged social media presence to attract top teachers and enroll new students. FiveStone developed a strategy to drive Matchbook’s business objectives and then managed that strategy across multiple channels.


Since we began working with Matchbook, they have turned around six schools in two cities, impacting over 3,000 students and their families. Matchbook also holds a national conference focused on sharing best practices with over 40 CMOs who serve another 150,000 students around the country. In addition, the Matchbook Accelerator (launching in 2017) will impact two more schools and over 1,000 students.

National attention around the Matchbook model

Results from location-based digital marketing around each Matchbook school include:

  • Over four months, increased engagement across social platforms by over 1,000 percent
  • Over three months, reached over 100 qualified teacher applicants through social marketing and awareness
  • In the two weeks prior to the first day of school, reached over 15,000 neighborhood families, which led to over 2,000 responses on the application page

“Good designers don’t really ‘add’ to make something beautiful. Instead they help reduce things to their core—revealing the inherent beauty of the concept. FiveStone has a unique skill that breathes life, dimension, and momentum into otherwise placid ideas and static visions revealing their beauty.”

Sajan George, CEO and Founder
Matchbook Learning

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