Important elements to consider when it comes to your school branding
As unlikely as it may sound, sometimes a logo can be overlooked and somewhat taken for granted, it is such a major part to your school, on signage, uniform, literature etc… so how can this be? The older the logo is, the more likely it is to have been ‘overlooked’, it’s just there! it always has been!
We advise you to take a look at it; is it still clear/legible, does it still represent what your school stands for, has it stood the test of time? Often challenging questions as changing a school logo is a rather daunting prospect, but we work with our clients to address their logos and assess what action, if any, is needed.
Here is an example of the logo development project we handled for Ancaster Primary School. Their existing logo had been around for many years and although the figure head was still relevant to track the school’s history they felt the logo didn’t now reflect the forward thinking and innovative plans that they wanted to be known for, which is where we came in.
Ancaster School new logo
Ancaster School old logo
We refined their old logo, simplified it and gave it a fresh new look, we were careful to respect the school’s past and not change it drastically but were allowed to develop it into a new design that reflects the schools new modern outlook.
Re-designing / developing your school logo doesn’t have to cost the earth and doesn’t have to be daunting, but it is important to address your current position and make sure your brand ‘figure’ head is saying the right thing about your school.
Your school colours and typefaces
It may sound simple and obvious but making sure each department and everyone in the school knows the school’s colours (pantone references) and typefaces (headings and body copy) is the foundation of presenting a consistent brand.
For example, I’ve had many meetings where my clients show me a leaflet that the music department has produced a promo flyer to an after school event and passed it out to parents and the community. The leaflet is printed on pink paper and the writing is in comic sans font! The school colours are blue and yellow and brand typeface is Verdana. Sound familiar?
The key to consistency is keeping things simple. Working together to make sure everyone is ‘singing from the same hymn sheet’, and we can work with you, if needed, to identify the pantone references and typefaces of your brand and produce simple PDF guidelines for staff to follow.
Your school’s ‘style’
A good brand has a strong sense of consistency and recognition, built often around a feature / style element that plays across all aspects of its marketing.
Does your school have a particular feature? A specific style that is applied easily and can be used/adapted on your various marketing materials? Banners, signage, prospectuses, website, displays in reception etc…
We work with schools throughout England to identify a key style for their school brand, here is an example of a marketing project we conducted for Caistor Yarborough School. They asked us to look at their existing logo and give it a ‘freshen’ up, they wanted to move away from their old fashioned image and create a brand that was exciting and eye catching, and above all with a ‘style’ that could be applied consistently and easily across their school and external marketing activities. We focussed the new brand style around the Eagle but changed its presentation to give the brand the new modern feature of the white silhouetted bird.
Caistor Yarborough Academy brand style
A brand isn’t just how your school looks, it’s how it feels and it’s the experience it offers to staff, prospective parents and any visitors that come into the school; from your receptionist’s welcome, to the narrative and messages received and the environment/buzz felt, all of these elements work together to create the ‘experience’ you offer.
Ensuring that the narrative on your website and in your prospectus is correct is crucial as these are often the first impressions parents/ visitors receive before entering your school. These first impressions last as imprints and provide expectations of what the ‘tour’ / ‘visit’ to your school will provide.
I visit a lot of schools as part of my job and I always find a reception area a very informative and interesting place to spend 5 mins before going into a meeting; how am I greeted, with a smile? A quick chat?, what literature is there for me to read? Are there success stories on show so I can see how proud the school is, are there sporting accolades I can peruse to gage a feel for what the school has achieved recently, or extra-curricular memorabilia to provide me with a hint of an idea of all the exiting opportunities present for the students? So many chances to make impressions on me in those opening few minutes – and sadly, so easily overlooked in many cases.
We apply our inside knowledge of working with all different types of schools up and down the country, and this allows us to offer best practice and advice to our clients on those all-important first impressions and the over-all brand experience that your school could offer.