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School Branding Matters
Inspiring Journeys in School Branding
Inspiring Journeys in School Branding


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South Hornby School's New Look for their Brand New Modern Learning Environment.

I was asked, during the rebuilding phase, to help with their rebranding. This would include rebranding around their school logo, mascot, values, student learning tools and signage.

Really pleased with how it all came together.

#schoolbranding #schoollogo #schoolmascot #newzealandschools
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The community voice in the logo design for St Patrick's Catholic School.

#catholic #catholicschools #schoollogos #schoolbranding
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Does Your High School Logo Look Dated?

I was looking through my archives and came across this logo and branding proposal that I created for Ashburton College back in 2011. Even though it didn't proceed I felt the design had a timeless nature about it which I thought was worthy of sharing. Five years on and the logo looks as fresh today as it did back then.

What do I mean by the logo having a timeless nature?

It wasn't designed as part of a current fad or trend in the design industry back in 2011. Flat design is an example of a current trend. When I designed the logo I looked at the unique characteristics of Ashburton College (important features, traditions, philosophies, beliefs, and feelings) and created a logo style based on those. That ground work, in making sure I understood what was important to the school, laid the foundation for a logo solution that could withstand the test of time and not feel dated after only one or two years.

#schoolbranding #schoollogos #schoolmarketing
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Manurewa East School in Auckland get two new logos and mascot.

Toward the end of 2015 I had the pleasure of meeting with Phil Palfrey and Richard Arthurs, the Principal and Deputy Principal at Manurewa East School in Auckland. We discussed the creation of some new brand identity work around their school logo, PB4L program, and school mascot.

This is what we came up with.

#schoollogo #schoolmascot #schoolmarketing #schoolbranding #PB4L
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Reshaping the brand image of one of New Zealand's largest schools - Burnside High School.

To do so required retracing our steps back to the beginning, re-establishing a direction, and then setting about building a clear pathway forward for their visual brand.

Burnside High School - A Beacon of Learning Excellence on the Educational Landscape.

When Pre-European Māori travellers looked down upon the Canterbury plains from Rāpaki and Te Waihora they tried to spot cabbage trees on the landscape. These signified safe passageways through the swamp lands.

The Māori called them ti kōuka – footprints in the landscape.

Burnside High School was built near one such grouping of cabbage trees. The first trees have long since disappeared but more grew and take pride of place in the Burnside High School grounds. When students enter the school at Year 9 they are educated on their significance, and symbolic importance. The Cabbage tree is a visual metaphor representing Burnside High School - a place of learning excellence that stands out on the educational landscape.

How the Visual Brand Evolved.

Toward the end of last year I was asked by senior staff at Burnside High School if I would develop some visual branding for their PB4L Values Program. This included a logo design for the existing name of the program (BHS) along with some promotional material. So I researched the cabbage tree in their school crest, what it meant, and how I could use this information to develop the look for the BHS logo.

BHS is a program targeted at helping to minimise problematic behaviour in students, as well as encourage and celebrate pro-social behaviour at Burnside High School. During the conceptual phase of the visual branding process it became clear that, if the cabbage tree was symbolic of the school and central to the school story, then the long leaves of the cabbage tree represented the school values "interwoven" into the fabric of Burnside High School.

Just as the leaves of the cabbage tree were used by early Māori to produce essential items of clothing, BHS represents Burnside High School's values in action - clothing students with the necessary skills to become better citizens both now and in the future.

With this concept and metaphor in mind I then set about to create the look for the BHS logo. The sharp angular lines are reminiscent of the way the leaves appear on the cabbage tree. Individual letters look like they have been woven together. The colours have symbolic importance too.

'Reshaping' the Burnside High School Brand.

The school has a proud history of academic, sporting and cultural excellence. As a result of the BHS logo development process I was asked to create some clear guidelines around the Burnside High School logo, how it looked, and how it could be applied. At that stage there was no visual branding consistency. Quite often the crest was displayed on its own, or the words "Burnside High School" were used without the crest. In addition, there was no guidance regarding colour, typefaces, minimum sizes, space requirements, or logo formats to be used for different promotional purposes. So a School Branding Style Guide was created that provides guidance for how the logo and branding elements can be shown.

As a result, Burnside High School staff and suppliers now have a clear understanding of and control over the school brand image.

Like Burnside High School, the reshaping any school brand image is the result of focusing on the unique characteristics of that school. This focus provides the creative fuel for the brand look - underpinning decisions made at the visual and narrative level.

• Does your school brand image require some reshaping?

• Is your school brand image consistent across all of your school's promotional outlets - prospectus, signage, website, promotional video?

• Is there confusion about how the logo can and cannot be used?

I would love to hear from you. If you have any concerns regarding your school's brand image feel free to drop me an email at

#schoolbranding   #schoolbrandingjourney   #schoollogos  
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The Boy Peeing into the Flax Bush

Three years ago I had a meeting at Linwood North School to address an issue they had with their school mascot - The Linwood Learner. There he stood, back toward us, staring through a flax bush and into the distance behind. The idea was that he was looking toward the future and what possibilities lay ahead as a result of the wonderful education he had received at Linwood North School.

There was only one problem. Rather than being a school mascot that embodied the positive culture of learning that was present there, instead he became the subject of ridicule and embarrassment.

He looked like he was going to the toilet in the flax bush!

How could we correct this negative and confusing message? First, he was backward facing. The Linwood Learner should be facing forward. Second, he should to be moving. The motto is all about learning that helps students get to where they want to be in the future. So we portrayed him walking with confidence, with a sense of knowing where he was going and how he was going to get there.

The result? The Linwood Learner is no longer a static, faceless, one dimensional mascot. He now accurately reflects the school motto and is flexible enough to be adapted to represent Linwood North's Learner Qualities and Values too.

He is also proudly displayed outside their classrooms and on their school gates!

Does your school have a mascot? Just as mascots have been used for years by sporting teams and businesses to informally promote their brand image to an audience, used in schools, they are an effective way of demonstrating values to younger children and encouraging positive behavior.

I create mascots for Primary Schools, Intermediates, and High Schools. They are personalized, custom made mascots designed for individual schools. If I can be of help with your school mascot requirements please call me.

#schoolmascots   #schoolbranding   #schoolbrandingjourney  
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This Plugin Measures Page Scrolling by Users on a Website.

It's important to understand the way in which parents interact with your school website. Page scrolling is an important part of this.

After your school website is created it requires refinement but always in accordance with some well understood goals. How do we use analytics tools to achieve those goals?

Generally speaking when designing and refining your school website:

-  What information are parents looking for? (goals)
-  What is the ordering (hierarchy) of this information? (strategy)
-  How is the information written? (content)
-  How is the information made to look visually interesting? (design)

Thanks +David Kutcher for bringing this to my attention.

#schoolbrandingjourney   #schoolwebsite   #schoolbranding  
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We are a "Multicultural Kiwi School"

That was the description given to me when I was asked to create a new logo for Newtown School in Wellington, New Zealand. The result? A logo that embodies the school's rich ethnic diversity, beliefs, and welcoming culture.

The sketch stage consisted of numerous concepts focused around the letter 'N'. I used the 'N' shape like a pathway - introducing symbols and metaphors to talk about the school.

Newtown has aspirations to be an Enviro School and is undergoing a building project to become a modern learning environment. Along with this they have full Maori Immersion Facilities on site. This is a school with a unique story to tell!

What does their logo mean?

The logo tells a story. We begin the story by entering the logo on the bottom left hand side. At first, we are greeted by two koru. The first koru symbolizes a new student. The second koru (downward pointing) represents the school community, welcoming the new student to Newtown School. The two koru (together) symbolize “connection, friendship, and partnership”. The new student embarks upon a learning journey that is supported and embraced by the school community.

From a geographical viewpoint, the Waitangi stream flows directly under the school and out into Wellington harbour. It is the perfect metaphor for the learning pathway that students take at Newtown School. The stream is symbolized in the logo by the wave form at the top of the first part of the "N". Prior to 1855, the stream was used by Maori as a source of food and as a launching place for Waka (Maori canoes). In 1855 an earthquake raised the land around the stream by 1.5 meters and subsequent land reclamation drove the stream underground.

The stream flows in the shadow of Mount Victoria (the green shape above the wave). This is a significant place for Maori and Newtown students often visit the mountain. It looks down over the school like a caring guardian, just as staff care for students and their learning experience.

The school wanted to include a fern shape in the logo. The fern is an iconic 'Kiwi' symbol and reinforces the "Multicultural Kiwi School" description that formed part of the initial brief. I utilized the ferns fronds to represent Newtown's five values and five learner qualities. The top of the fern shape symbolically represents the completion of the learning journey for students at Newtown School.

The Motto - “Love learning, love life!”

As part of the logo design I developed a motto for them too. Learning is meant to be exciting and life is a learning journey. Newtown School staff want their students to become lifelong learners - enjoying their learning experience at school and then continuing their learning journey beyond the school gates.

#schoollogo    #schoolbranding   #schoolbrandingjourney  
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Lead Nurturing for Schools.

This article is aimed at Independent Schools. However I think it is relevant to State schools in New Zealand too.

The issue of school zones and out-of-zone enrolments is a sensitive one here in New Zealand. The reality is that State schools offer space to out-of-zone families if they have room. 

Every school is different and families want to know how your school addresses their child's individual requirements. Have a read of this. As I said, it is aimed at Independent Schools. However, I like the way inquiring families are looked after through a Lead Nurturing process - helping them feel valued, connected, and appreciated for making contact. In the very least those families can make an informed decision if they are offered a place.

+Brendan Schneider provides some excellent information here about how his school +Sewickley Academy uses Lead Nurturing to build relationships with prospective families making inquiries. It's not a one size fits all approach. You can model your lead nurturing process in a way that reflects your school.

#schoolbranding   #schoolbrandingjourney     #leadnurturing  
Lead Nurturing for Schools

One of my secrets for helping prospective families move through the admission pipeline - Lead Nurturing.

Pin for later:

#leadnurturing   #indyschool   #emchat  
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