Effective branding is essential for all organisations, and that includes schools. Effective branding for a school attracts students and influences overall school success by empowering stakeholders (especially students and staff).

 

The motto, the tie and the school crest are some of the traditional ways a school (or University) would differentiate itself and try to inspire the student body. You could argue that schools are, outside of religious and national institutions, some of the oldest ‘brands’ around.

 

Every school already has branding. The differences lie in approach and quality. How much thought, time and care has gone into a holistic approach? Is there a cohesive strategy, and is it evident through every touchpoint?

 

These are a few tips for effective design and branding for schools.

 

      • An overarching grand design, taking into consideration the aims and aspirations of the school, its history and location and the narrative it can tell about itself. What it can do for its students and what the students are expected to do for it. A good school brand strategy will take all of this into consideration and provide the foundation from which all branding and marketing can emerge.

       

  • The branding needs to be rolled out across the school. From the website to the vehicle wraps, from the communications with parents to the uniforms. Consistent application of the visual and verbal media of a brand is a continuous process. It needs to have the support of all of the school. A beautiful new logo and well written brochure are great but unless backed up with actions from across the school that reinforce the promise implied by the brand, they will not achieve their full potential.
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  • Focus and clarity of design. Two words that should be at the forefront of every designer working on branding for a school. The unique characteristics of the school should rise to the fore, but through concentrating on focus and clarity, the designer will be better able to communicate those characteristics and to define them in a compelling manner.
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  • The design needs to tell the world about the school, but also to differentiate the brand in an increasingly competitive marketplace. It must be unique without risking credibility. Schools, at the very minimum, need to stress the professionalism of the teaching standards and the potential/achievement of the students. Design for schools needs to be serious enough to represent this.
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  • Branding, or in many cases, rebranding for schools is a huge undertaking. Take a deep breath and talk to design and branding experts before taking your first steps.