A few years ago we were approached by a couple of fantastic women, Liz Lewis and Ange Tyler, this was before we started academy branding. These two women were determined to make a difference in education and wanted to kick it off by helping parents make informed decisions about the secondary school that they choose for their children. They did this by creating a useful and much needed guide / tool that a parent could work through in order to cut through the gloss and get to the soul of a school.
Their background meant that they understood many sides of a schools persona. From both the angle of leadership from within the school and the outside government structures and implementation. They were able to use their holistic, unique and educated third party view of a school to determine what makes a school good to the core and not just a box ticking impressive showcase. They also factor in the ‘fit’ between the school and the child and how what may well be a good school could possibly not be the right ‘fit’ for your child. We worked with these ladies to create a strong, friendly and authoritative brand which they would be able to springboard their expertise from.
As time went on the business structure lent itself to creating another business that could actually change schools, guide and lead them, create a family of schools that shared a common ethos and culture. Thus The Griffin Schools Trust was born. We were invited to brand this new venture. This brand not only had to stand alone and reflect the ethos of a the new trust, but had to be able to filter down into the schools that the trust would run. Within a very small time period the Trust had gained 10 academies and had become one of England’s largest academy trusts.
Implementing Academy branding
We created an Academy branding process using the design and philosophy cues created for the Trust that could be duplicated in to each of the new academies. Each Academy would have to have the process implemented to create an entirely new identity. Each schools new identity implementation would result in new signage, uniform, stationery and responsive web design including a comprehensive content management system. The school would receive a set of guidelines on how to use the logo and suggestions of good implementation. The Academy receives a brand ‘kit of parts’ so that they can give third party suppliers the correct format and instructions to allow them to manage their brand effectively.
Ensuring that the schools experience and design transition is smooth presented many challenges. Having to ensure that both the needs of the Trust and the personality of the school are reflected in the new brand is essential and can be rather tricky. But the inclusive and sensitive process we have developed helped these transitions, ensuring that there is a clearly staged chronology so that all parties are informed and managed correctly. Change is always difficult but ensuring that it is understood, agreed and for the good of the school community makes the transition much easier and ultimately a better experience for all involved.
Below is a snapshot case study of one their academy brands, it shows some pages from the identity manual and also the printed stationery and web design. You can see the new identity for this particular academy here.