Gloucestershire Schools

Warden Hill Primary School 1 minute feedback

Warden Hill Primary School Head Teacher Georgina Flooks

We delivered a full school rebranding for Warden Hill Primary School.

Following the launch of the website, which concluded the first main phase of the school rebranding project, we asked Head Teacher Georgina Flooks a few questions to gauge how things went. Below are the quick fire responses…

School logo design for Warden Hill Primary School, GloucestershireQ: What was the overriding goal at the outset?

A: To create a brand that captured our school’s unity and inner feeling, allowing for our children to feel represented as individuals as well as belonging to our school.

Q: Has that goal been met so far?

A: Duncan and the team worked very closely with us to capture a truly reflective visual of what our school represents.

Q: Have your expectations been met, in terms of the solution provided?

A: Absolutely 100% . I feel we now have a brand that captures the very essence of our school. It is timelessly contemporary and represents us as we move forward.

Q: Has the feedback from pupils / staff / parents / governors been what you’d hoped for?

A: We have had so much positive feedback about our new brand from parents/governors and the wider community, and the children love it!

School interior signage design for Warden Hill Primary School

Q: Would you recommend our school rebranding services to others?

A: I would absolutely recommend you – and already have!
They are a fantastic team to work with, who really listen to your ideas and turn them into reality. Nothing was too much trouble and the little details really do count.

Q: Do you feel we delivered value for money?

A: I feel that we have had brilliant value for money.

Q: Any other quick comments?

A: As school we couldn’t be more happy with the our new ‘look’. The school rebranding, logo and new website make us stand out and it reflects us as a school.

Click here to read more about the school rebranding we delivered for Warden Hill Primary School. Or click on the image below to visit the school website we designed.


School website design solution for Warden Hill Primary School, Gloucestershire

Is your school’s brand broken?

There are a few key red flags which may suggest that your brand is “broken” and that you might need to consider a revisit and a refresh.

Here’s a quick guide to school branding and some things to consider:

Your school logo

  • Do you have a few different variations of your school logo which are used across your school uniform, signage, website and stationery? Inconsistency can undermine the professional approach your school must follow and portray.
  • Has your school logo become inappropriate for your school? Perhaps it’s old or simply doesn’t fit with your strategic future for your school. Either way, your school logo must accurately reflect your school, its values and where your school is headed.
  • Does the design of your school logo compare unfavourably against other local schools? With competition for pupil places increasingly tough and the obvious funding implications of not reaching 100% intake capacity, its imperative your school logo and branding is up to the task.

Find out more about school logo design

Your literature and collateral

  • Is your marketing collateral ineffective at clearly communicating the values and strengths of your school? A professionally designed school prospectus has become of paramount importance, alongside considered and coherent marketing material that helps sell your school to your key audience groups.
  • Are you a little bit embarrassed by your stationery? Unprofessional or poorly designed stationery reflects poorly on your school, creating a negative impression.
  • Is there an overall lack of consistency in your printed material? Perhaps logos are stretched, use of colour is inconsistent, or what’s seen in one year group is vastly different to another? Setting some basic templates alongside standardising the use of logos and colours can ensure a visual consistency for all documents.
  • Are you proud of your school signage? Whether it’s the road front or directional signage, the design of your school signage should be uncluttered and considered, so it does its job effectively.

Find out more about school literature design

Your school website

  • Is your school website over 3 years old? If so, it’s worth completing a review of how the site is built to check its consistent with latest design style and software advances.
  • Is your website difficult to use on smartphones? With over 50% of visits to websites now done via smartphones, it’s essential your school website is dynamically designed to deliver a mobile-friendly version suitable for all users.
  • Is your school website a burden to your school office team? From helping to reduce telephone queries to being quick to update, your school website should help free up rather than tie up your staff’s time.

Find out more about school website design

Your staff

  • Are your staff proud to work at your school? Are they aligned with the SMT’s vision for, and the values of, your school? Your brand is an important part of the overall perception of your school and your staff should be positive ambassadors for you.
  • Do you have difficulty attracting or retaining the right staff? By looking after your school’s brand you’ll create a positive environment, where your school’s values form the foundations for everything you do. As a result your staff’s bond with the school should strengthen and be evident to prospective new staff members.

Does your school suffer from a perception problem?

  • Do you struggle to communicate your values, strengths and points of difference? By evaluating your school branding you’ll be a lot clearer on just what your school offers and why it does what it does.
  • Do you have difficulty gaining large numbers of first preference choices? Do you attract families from outside your traditional catchment area? Your school’s brand can create an accurate, positive first impression that can elevate your school ahead of others.
  • Are you confident that leavers and their families talk positively about their experience of your school? By setting appropriate expectations and then exceeding them, you can be sure word of mouth across your local community is positive.

Have you answered yes to any of these questions? If you have encountered any of these red flags, you may need to consider fixing them.

We hope this quick guide to school branding is useful. To chat about these or any other branding and design questions you may have, click here.

The anatomy of a good school website home page

School website design solution for Grangefield School, Gloucestershire

The home page of a school website serves a number of purposes, including;

  • It provides a first impression of the school and its brand, to those who have no experience of the school.
  • It sets the web visitor’s expectations, not only in terms of the school and its values, but their expectations of what the rest of the website is going to be like.
  • It acts as a set of sign posts to the most relevant content. Visitors can easily browse, or, go straight to what they’re looking for.
  • It offers the school an opportunity to immediately capture the web visitor’s attention and share with them some important and / or engaging information.
  • It must enable the web visitor to easily get in touch.

Below is a snap shot of a school website we’ve delivered for Grangefield School.

The school website received glowing reviews and acts as a hub of the school’s communications with a range of stakeholders.

Read more about out school website design solutions by clicking here.

Common signs your school website needs redeveloping

School website design for Little Chestnuts Pre-school Gloucestershire

There are a wide range of reasons to consider a new school website design solution. Do any of these sound familiar?

Time consuming to manage

Common problem: Managing and keeping content up to date is time-consuming. Or even worse, needs to be done by a web developer.

The solution: Modern school websites should be built around a trusted Content Management System enabling ease of adding and managing content.

School website design solution for Warden Hill Primary School, Gloucestershire

Impossible to use on a smartphone or tablet

Common problem: Your school website is difficult to use on smartphones and tablets. Leaving visitors unable to find what they are looking for and with a negative impression of your school.

The solution: Ensure your new website is dynamically designed. This means the structure and content automatically reorganises itself, based upon the device the web visitor is using.

Built using Flash

Common problem: The site is built in, or uses, Flash to deliver content or media. Which means it doesn’t work across many smartphone and tablet devices, or requires users to install extensions within their web browser.

The solution: Latest coding structures and practices allow for a wide variety of functionality, features and content delivery, all of which are viewable across all types of device. Making Flash redundant.

Difficult to navigate

Common problem: Visitors have difficultly finding what they are looking for quickly and easily. And content is focused solely on providing existing parents with relevant information.

The solution: A full review of the different audience groups that visit your site, what they are looking for, and how to best structure your website are key at the start of any new website development. Alongside ensuring all content that meets OFSTED requirements is included.

It’s old!

Common problem: Your website hasn’t been developed for a number of years and lags behind other local schools – in appearance and ease of use. Putting you at a disadvantage to your competition.

The solution: Websites often require redevelopment every 3 – 4 years. This ensures they are suitably up to date aesthetically, from a usability point of view, and in respect to the backend code that makes your school website tick.

Not search engine friendly

Common problem: It doesn’t rank highly in online search engine results. Resulting in less effective marketing of your school and potentially fewer prospective parent enquiries.

The solution: There are many factors that affect where your website ranks in search results – being mobile friendly, having well structured navigation and content, refined coding…the list is lengthy. Investing in a modern, well planned and built website will go a long way to helping.

It’s slow

Common problem: The time it takes for pages within your website to load is becoming longer and longer. Leading to visitors becoming frustrated and often leaving your website.

The solution: Investing in a new school website design solution ensures the coding and infrastructure that runs it is up to date with the technologies visitors are using to view your website. Checking your website hosting provision is up to date is also key.

Poorly reflects your brand

Common problem: Your school’s been rebranded yet the existing website’s simply had the new logo added. Creating a poor impression of the new branding and a discord between ‘old’ and ‘new’.

The solution: Your website should be a central point for your school’s brand and communication. If you’ve invested time in rebranding, part of that process must be a redevelopment of your school website.

Only one person knows how it works

Common problem: It was built in-house and relies on the coding skills of a member of staff to manage it. Which leaves you exposed should that individual leave your organisation.

The solution: Research trusted local school website design solution providers. Meet a few. Talk with them about your requirements and ambitions. Then set about the exciting journey of developing a new website.

Poor levels of security

Common problem: It fails to incorporate up to date security features, leaving access and data vulnerable.

The solution: Security is required in many ways. Such as daily website backups, secure access to your CMS, and protecting data submitted via contact forms via SSL Certificates. Your website provider should implement the necessary measures you need.

Our school website design solutions incorporate all the necessary positives mentioned above. We work closely with each of our clients, guaranteeing a tailored solution that’s personally delivered.

Click here to read more about our school website design solutions, or click the images below to view a couple of school websites we’ve delivered.

School website design solution for Warden Hill Primary School, Gloucestershire

School website design solution for Grangefield School, Gloucestershire

Why your school’s brand is important

School prospectus design for The Abbey School Reading

At the end of the day, a school is just as much a brand as Apple or Coca Cola. And you cannot underestimate just how important it is to get your brand right as it is your window to the outside world.

From the moment a prospective parent lands on your website, an impression is created. And as we all know, you never get a second chance at creating a first impression. Therefore, you have got to set the tone from the word go with your logo, the colours and the design.

Your branding is your personality. It creates your identity and it needs to convey your core values and build trust. It needs to track across all of your literature and printed material – whether that is stationery, signage, newsletters, emails and your prospectus – to create a coherent, established message. This will help to build trust with both prospective and current parents and pupils.

Don’t forget that you are competing for admissions. So you need to differentiate yourself from the competition and show your strengths as a school. If your brand doesn’t reflect this, you are missing the point. It could be your school can boast leading sporting prowess. Or excellent academic achievement and progress throughout your school. Whatever it is, make sure that your USP (unique selling point) is highly visible and reflected in your brand.

Make sure that imagery on your website and in your literature reflects your values and shows how you are different. Don’t just plump for generic shots… really get to the heart of what makes your school special and capture these qualities. And invest in a good professional photographer (we’re happy to recommend a couple from Gloucestershire), as the images they capture will really make a difference.

In addition, ensure you get endorsements from pupils, parents and third parties. Everyone can fly their own flag but when you have the credibility of others doing it for you as well, this will underpin the trust that you are building.

And consider how you can use social media to get your message out there. We all know the power of Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, so utilise these platforms in line with your school’s policies, to get your message shared and liked amongst your key stakeholders.

Click here to read more about our branding solutions for schools.

Click here to organise a no-obligation chat about how we can help develop your school branding.

Why good graphic design is good for your school

School signaged design for Warden Hill Primary School, Gloucestershire

Investing in good, professionally delivered graphic design is worth it. Don’t just take our word for it. The Design Council can help put a figure on it…

‘Every £100 a design-led business invests in design repays £225 in increased sales.’

Clearly, within the school environment such a a quantitative figures isn’t indicative of what you do and how you measure success. Pupil progress, 100% of places filled, Ofsted reports, staff happiness and retention, attendance statistics…the list is a great deal longer and more varied.

But that statistic is worth remembering, as investing in good graphic design does have positive outcomes for schools. Here are a few ways…

Good graphic design can help you stand out from your competition

Successful school marketing to help achieve full classrooms has never been more important to help ensure your school maximises its funding. And with increased mobility of parents leading to greater choice, your approach to your marketing material can have a very real impact. Badly designed graphics, such as a school logo, school website or brochure can have a damaging effect on your school’s brand.

Whilst on the plus side, investing in good design can help you stand out as a school that places value in itself, its marketing, its pupils and its staff. All making your school more attractive to perspective parents.

Good graphic design can help you reach more people

Humans are humans. We seek attractive things. It’s in our DNA. So when we’re looking to buy something we are naturally swayed by visual cues. Often we might not be aware of it. Occasionally we might know perfectly well we’re responding to something well designed. But more often than not, the graphic design of a brand identity, piece of information, packaging, poster, direct mail piece, or website will have played a part in our decision making.

Good graphic design can make your school feel more relevant to your audience’s needs and therefore more attractive. Which means if your school marketing material is well designed you’ll make a much better first impression, which will make you a more desirable option by prospective parents.

Good graphic design can help you build loyalty

An established marking notion tells us that once a customer has bought something from a brand they are (assuming their experience was a positive one!) much more likely to buy from them again.

Through professionally designed school marketing material, you can improve and deepen stakeholders’ relationship with your school. Which will be reflected in loyalty. A loyal parent will speak highly of your school, improving the first impressions of people they speak with. In addition, you can build up positive relationships with local organisations, providing a mutual benefit for you both.

Loyalty can manifest itself in many ways. Building it and maintaining it provides schools with a firm foundation on which to build.

Good graphic design can help you get your message across

Good communication doesn’t result in what’s being said. But instead, in what’s being heard.

Messaging and its effective delivery is therefore key for every school. Identifying your key messages, to your various stakeholders, is the start. Through considered graphic design these messages can then do their thing. Which is to get noticed and then actioned upon. It’s that simple.

Of course, the above are all interlinked…such as getting your message across helps build customer loyalty, and, standing out from the crowd should help you reach more customers. And there are more ways that investing in graphic design can help your business.

But what’s important to remember is that it’s not just good design that can help your school grow. Bad or unprofessional design can have significant negative consequences too, which can far out way the price of investing in it in the first place.

Click here to read about how we help schools through delivering considered graphic design solutions.

What makes a good school logo?

Where do you start when considering good school logo design? We feel the following quote is a good place…“A logo is a visual piece in a bigger brand identity system. A logo embodies and transports the meaning of a brand, the logo is rarely the meaning itself.” (Tobias van Schneider)

We are surrounded by logos. Some have been around for decades and some are relatively recent additions. But they are all part and parcel of our everyday world.

And if you think of just how many there are out there, how many can you actually recall? The ones that spring to mind immediately, for example Nike, Coca-Cola, Apple and McDonald’s, are all examples of good logo design.

So what exactly is it that makes these logos good, if not, great? And what can we learn when it comes to considering good school logo design?

Here are just a few thoughts:

1. Simplicity

KISS is a well-known acronym which stands for Keep It Simple Stupid. And this is none-more-true when it comes to school logo design. The simpler is often better. Overly-fussy design which requires a bit too much thinking time will fall by the wayside quickly.

A good school logo should be able to be described in an instant, like the Nike Swoosh or McDonald’s golden arches. If you stumble over the description – “it’s looks a bit like a child, possibly holding something, with what could be books in the sky but they might be birds, inside a crest with some latin words around the edge” – well, it’s clearly not doing its job!

Your school logo design should therefore be easily recognizable, memorable and effective. With school logos being most frequently seen on school uniform, that’s never more important. Which leads nicely on to…

2. Timeless/Distinctive

With the amount of packaging and advertising surrounding us on a daily basis, logos can sometimes start to become wallpaper. So to stand out from the crowd and not be the grey man, your logo has to be distinctive. Not just rehashing something that has been done before. Or plumping for the most obvious solution. And certainly not including overly-used icons (think lightbulbs and leaping children). Dare to be a little bit different. This will make your logo more memorable and easily recognizable (see point 1).

Don’t feel tied to represent the school marketplace. For example, Apple doesn’t show a computer, Mercedes is not a car and Virgin Atlantic is not a plane! A good statistic here is that 94% of logos don’t describe what the company does! (Source: Jacob Cass).

Try not to jump on to the latest trends because trends change and suddenly your school logo design can look outdated and not relevant. Try to aim for a timeless solution. Coca-Cola is a great example. The classic flowing script has hardly changed at all since its launch. Whilst its direct competitor, Pepsi, has undergone many iterations and, in our opinion, still not quite nailed it!

3. Versatile

A good school logo design has to work across all mediums: horizontal; vertical; one colour; small scale; large scale; reversed out. Logos which have too much detail (see point 1) will not work when made small. And can be a nightmare to reproduce on school uniform. Detail gets lost and everything starts to look like a bit of a blob.

One of the considerations when we design logos is to remember there needs to be options for all eventualities. You know when a logo is good because you can put it on just about anything and it looks like it always belonged there.

Another thing to remember is that your school logo needs to be easily used by everyone. If it requires a manual the size of War & Peace to show how to use it, chances are it’s not really working too well! That’s why we always provide our clients with a set of files of the logo that can be used across different documents, media and the like.

4. Appropriate

Is the logo appropriate to the marketplace? Dainty looking fonts and pinks for a gym logo aren’t really speaking to guys who like to bench press small cows for a hobby. It may be good for a ladies only gym. But you get the idea.

Colour is also important. Fewer colours (or at the least, using common pantone colours) the better, as it means your school logo is more easily reproduced – especially on uniform.

The elements and colour within a school logo should therefore be appropriate. And they should reflect your school and its values.

We hope you found those pointers to good school logo design useful. Click here too view some of our recent school logo designs.

Alternatively, if you’d like to organise a no-obligation chat about how we can help your school, click here to get in touch.

School logo design for Warden Hill Primary School, Gloucestershire

School logo design for Upton St Leonards C of E Primary School, Gloucestershire


Grangefield School 1 minute feedback

School logo branding design for Grangefield School Gloucestershire

We delivered a full school rebranding for Grangefield School in Bishop’s Cleeve, Gloucestershire.

School signage branding design for Grangefield School Gloucestershire

Following the launch of the website and supporting marketing collateral, we asked Head Teacher Karen Lewis to provide some feedback. Below is her testimonial…

“We revisited the vision, aims and ethos of our school and wished to launch this to our school community along with a new branding, including a new logo to be used on marketing materials and uniform, we also wished to relaunch our website.

We have had the pleasure of working with Duncan and Jason since April 2012. They have provided an excellent service in designing our logo and then from there the branded materials (uniform, stationary, signage) and website.

They were able to design a logo which really does reflect the essence of our values, and which is now used not only for marketing but as an emblem across our school community, helping to support that sense of identity which we wanted. They guys guided us through the launch process and provided us with an excellent product.

They were able to meet our deadline dates, communication with the team was, and still is, easy and responses are fast. The design of the website is excellent and straight forward for us to upload new information. They continue to support us with maintaining and developing the site further.

School website design solution for Grangefield School, GloucestershireWe could not have asked for a better service and are more than happy to recommend Duncan and Jason to any school or business wishing to market themselves.”

Karen Lewis, Head Teacher, Grangefield School

Click here to read our Grangefield School case study. To visit the Grangefield School website, click here.

What. How. Why.

What How Why Branding

We completed a rebrand for a Gloucestershire school recently who were experiencing a common problem. They knew school branding matters, but were not absolutely clear on what their school is about.

The know what they do and how they go about it. They’d also identify some elements of their school environment and offering that are different to others in the area. But they were struggling to communicate anything more powerful than that. The reason is they hadn’t identified their why.

We provided the school with a few exercises for the school’s teaching staff to undertake. Following which their ‘why’ became clear.

Here’s a quick guide to why your ‘why’ is so important, especially when you’re focusing on why your school branding matters.

The ‘what’

What do you do? What could you do? What do your parents and pupils think you do?

Each is a fairly simple question. And should be relatively straightforward to get to the bottom of. If there’s a strong link between them then you can go some way to knowing how your offering is of perceived value to your key audience groups.

The ‘how’

How do you do what you do? How does your school do things differently? How does your school benefit your pupils, parents and local community? How could you improve how you do things?

You can list as many ‘how’ questions here that are relevant. At the heart of them are the essential workings of your school and the beginnings of the benefits your school provides. By focusing both internally and externally with your ‘hows’ you can refine your processes and improve the standards throughout your school.

The ‘why’

Why do you do what you do? Why should your stakeholders believe you?

Now these are much more difficult questions to answer. By thinking about your ‘why’ you can start to get to heart of why you’re school is in business. And why your school is actually different to other local schools. That’s where you can start take your school branding to the next level.

You can start to build a promise to your stakeholders that is accurate. You can develop your proposition so it has greater power and resonates more strongly with pupils and parents alike. You can make your school an even better place for staff to work. And you’ll likely identify areas that can help form part of your strategic vision for your school’s direction of travel.

Your why essentially knits everything together. The outcomes and benefits to your staff, pupils, parents, governors and local community are endless.

We’ve been working on the ‘why’ within branding projects for clients for as long as we can remember. One of the most eloquent overviews of the ‘why’ comes from Simon Sinek. He explains people ‘don’t buy what you do they buy why you do it’. Check out his TEDx talk below. It’s worth it.

Click here to read more about our branding solutions for schools.