Using design and branding to help Teachers do what they do best.
One of the most important parts of being a parent is choosing the right preschool, creche, primary and secondary schools for your son or daughter.
There are many factors taken into consideration before the decision is made to choose the school. If it is a preschool or crèche for your child, the personalities of those looking after your little ones can be a factor in the decision of the parents. When your child moves onto primary and secondary education factors like subjects taught or maybe the level of sporting activity at the school could be a deciding factor. Like any business or organisation that provides a service, how a school presents itself to the world is extremely important. What a Preschool, Primary and Secondary school are presenting is their brand identity. All those visual and no-visual elements of the school. For example Newsletters, images on the School website, colours, fonts used and of course the centrepiece of any the brand identity, the logo. These are only some of the elements used. There are many parts to a brands identity and it is something that is evolving all the time. Brand identities have to exist in many places. Most of what you see of the brand identity is visual, above the surface. What underpins or exist below the surface is the service itself. How the school is run day today.
Whatever stage your Child is at in the schooling system they are always moving forward, growing and developing. These places of education provide a service and it's how the children move through the service and how the service adapts to the child and the simplicity of those interactions.
A well-prepared service is a designed service. Service design takes into consideration all those interactions your Users i.e the Kids and their Parents or carers have with the school. It is a User-centred approach to creating services. Service design uses many great tools to create innovative services. One of these tools is a User journey map. The service provider would look at the journey of a User from start to finish. This journey can be anything such as the signup process for the school. It is about constantly looking to innovate and create a great experience for the kids and also the Teachers. All that is needed for a Journey map is large sheets of paper, Post-its and some Sharpies.
After you have put in the time over the last three years it is time to send your child to preschool. It could be the first time the parents have been separated from their little ones so it is a stressful time. Your child's educational journey starts here and may end when they get their PhD. So it's a long journey. From a service providers point of view (the pre-school) it's about understanding the User. So that is not only the child but their parents or carers. As Service providers how are we talking to our Users and Stakeholders? What is the process of signing their Children up to use the Services that are provided? For example of some of the questions that you may ask are:
Does our website do most of the heavy lifting for us with regards to questionnaires and forms? Do people have to fill in forms and questionnaires on paper or can they do it via our website? Creating digital versions of forms for Parents to fill in can save times for the School and the Parents. Most Parents will have a Smartphone giving them access to the internet. This provides a way for them to fill out forms and questionnaires on the bus or train on the way home. A more convenient solution. It also makes the information easily retrievable for the school administration team.
After your little ones have finished their period of Preschool it is time for them to move onto primary school. Some of you may have gone through that daunting time of leaving your kids in for their first day at Primary school. This is one of the biggest pain points for Parents, that first day! Making this pain point as seamless as possible will help put the children and their Parents as ease.
If you have been living in the area for a while and are at a stage where your child has gone through primary education the next stage is picking a secondary school for your child. Parents may ask other parents their thoughts on a school. They may also attend opening nights or conduct some research online. It is these two contact points of a website and an opening night where Parents will form an emotional opinion of the school.
At opening night, parents will sit through a presentation from the school Principle. More than often the presentation will be a Powerpoint. This may be the first time Parents will see how the school visually represents itself. Unconsciously we will form an opinion about the school whether we know it or not. It's not just the Powerpoint presentation where the school will visually represent itself. There are multiple areas. It is the signage on the way into the school and the directional signage when you are inside the school. The School prospectus is a chance for parents to get their hands on something tangible. The prospectus is something that can be taken home to show family members who were unable to attend the opening evening. If the prospectus is well put together this can create a good impression and the opposite if it is not.
So what should schools do to gain a level of consistency with their visual identity? One of the first places to start is to look at the school logo. Does it work in small sizes? How does it hold up when animated? How many version of the school logo are there? An event such as opening night is a chance for the school to design the experience for that night. A designed experience will put the schools brand values, brand personality and brand identity front and centre
Every organisation be it a school or a large multinational needs a way of keeping all their branding elements consistent. The only way to do this is to have a set of branding guidelines. It is a way of showing people how to look after your brand (preschool, primary or secondary school ). There are many parts to the school's visual presence, from the school crest on the uniform to the emails and newsletters sent to Parents. When a school uses the services of a local printer to get their printed material designed and printed they will need branding guidelines to give to the Printer. If the Designer that works in the print shop has no branding guidelines to work from then he or she will create something that may not suite the Schools brand personality. The example below shows the a sample of the branding guidelines for Northwest School in Seattle Washington USA. These guidelines were created by Turnstyle, a design studio also based in Seattle. The guidelines are part of a wider identity system created to give the school a fresh new look and feel. The guidelines show the brand colours and the main logo for the school.
Thank you for taking the time to read the article. If you would like to work with We can imagine to improve or create a brand identity or think of innovative ways to deliver your service, then please fill out the form below to get started creating a great educational experience in your school.