A school rebrand project that goes beyond design, helping a disadvantaged area embrace the possibility of a promising new future.
The Great Schools Trust is a values-led multi academy trust, and comprises of King’s Leadership Academy Liverpool, Warrington, Bolton and Hawthornes, in the Bootle district of Liverpool.
Each of the Trust’s schools prioritises character education, taught through a structured programme of character and leadership development. The school ethos is driven by a number of core beliefs, including that all students must learn to be resilient on their educational journey and they must become confident contributing citizens who are able to develop a passion for learning as well as character development.Hawthorne’s Free School, one of the latest additions to the values-led schools family, joined the Trust after Sir Iain Hall, Chairman and CEO of The Great Schools Trust, saw another opportunity to alter the unbalanced representation suffered by schools in disadvantaged urban areas, and give young people in the area the benefits and life chances offered by a quality education that really does care and offers the highest of academic standards, without the need to pay fees.
This rebrand project presented a number of challenges – to rebrand, with a conservative budget, the Hawthornes school and present a new and inspiring environment for students and teachers, all in just over 4 weeks during the summer, when the school was still open and offering a wide range of activities.
The process would need to be as seamless as possible to minimise disruption and meet a strict deadline – the start of the new academic year in September.
Starting with the new school logo design, consistent with other schools in the Trust, a simple and confident colour palette of red, black and white immediately transmits the strength of the values the schools live by.
Inspired by Bootle’s maritime heritage, Hawthornes gets a strong identity that establishes an emotional connection with the area – proud of its history, and on an exciting journey to a promising future.
‘Credimus’ – We believe
For phase 1 of the school rebrand project, we did an initial walk-around to carry out a visual inspection of the school’s exterior and interior, working out the route visitors would follow: main entrance and into reception, onto the corridor leading to the school assembly hall, and inside the hall itself.
This helped us identify what areas to focus on to maximise impact on visitors, given the limited time and budget available to complete the project.
To help our client visualise our new design ideas and help them through the time-limited approval process, we produced a presentation that included ‘Before’ and ‘After’ images – photographs taken during our site inspection and realistic renders of what the rebranded areas would look like.
Before the school rebrand project…
Photographs featured in the Wall of Excellence have now gained prominence thanks to a white wall background and a black edge that immediately focus the attention of passers-by.
Due to the restricted budget, there was no scope for a full window replacement. Instead, we vinyled over existing yellow panels – an extremely visual and cost-effective way of updating the building exterior and making a strong first impression on visitors and students before they’ve stepped inside.
The new school rebrand totally transformed not just the space, inside and outside, but it also had a transformative effect on students and teachers – their new physical environment inspires them to live and breathe the school’s values and ethos.
Our site inspection not only helped visualise the new brand and its applications to different areas, but it also helped us decide on other key branding elements, such as paint schemes.
Prominent signage with the school values inspires students at every corner.
Once the designs were approved, our installation and print teams returned to carry out a full site survey – even using a cherry picker for safe and proper access – and select the most appropriate materials and methods to apply to the different elements and areas included in phase 1 of the school brand project.
The school rebrand project also included marketing and advertising collateral.
“I have worked with Parker on several projects in recent years, the most recent being a complete rebranding of the school. The attention to detail and care that Simon Hallows and his team brought to the work was quite simply superb in every facet of the project from beginning to conclusion.
Technically, the design work was stunning. From the early drafts to installation, the process was of huge clarity. As Headteacher, I could see the vision being realised. Signage, flooring, colour schemes visibly raised expectations amongst staff, students and the wider community. This was then marketed beautifully to the community via print and social media.
While this process was deeply impressive, the most gratifying aspect of the work carried out was the depth of understanding demonstrated in relation to the school’s values, what it is trying to achieve and how the repositioning of its brand could effect long lasting change for the better for the students of my school. I found this extremely powerful on a personal level.
The work was done entirely as a partnership, with the greatest good humour, care and the finest attention to detail. I hope this partnership can thrive further as we move on as a school.
I cannot recommend Parker’s work highly enough.”
Principal, King’s Leadership Academy Hawthornes
We designed and organised a 10,000 Open Evening leaflet drop around key target primary schools in the area.
The drop coincided with a press ad we had also designed for the local newspaper, following a close collaboration with our client and media partners to plan the most effective schedule.
We also designed a striking information leaflet that parents or guardians could help themselves to at the Open Evening event.
The set of marketing collateral also included an inspiring prospectus.
We organised a professional photo shoot to fill the prospectus, page after page, with inspiring images.
The Hawthorne’s Free School started the new academic year with a new look, new uniform and new name – King’s Leadership Academy Hawthornes – and it has already made an indelible mark on the community.