Childers State School

Inspiring the future generation.

Year

2022

Deliverables

Brand Workshop
Brand Strategy
Visual Identity
Creative Direction
Apparel Design
Canva

A brand transformation shaping the future.

Childers State School, an Australian educational icon since 1888, approached us for a brand revamp that resonated with today’s generation without diluting its legacy. What started as a design brief for “TRACK” behavioural posters morphed into an extensive reimagining of their brand. We tackled their identity confusion with the local high school, brought cohesiveness to their brand, and defined a unique identity: a thoughtful blend of a new logo, uniform, colour scheme, and a unique “Four Stripes” student rewards system. A total transformation while honouring its heritage.

Challenges

The primary challenge was balancing the need to modernise the design while preserving elements of the original identity and creating a distinct brand to set the school apart.

Outcome

The project delivered a distinct brand identity for Childers State School complete with a new logo and colour scheme. A unique “four stripe” system was created for consistency across branding materials and as a student rewards system. The outcome was well received, fostering pride within the school and community.

Logo Design

Symbolising a nurturing environment.

The final logo design represented a modern interpretation of Childers’ distinct elements. Constructed as a shield made from ‘Four Stripes’, the logo creatively integrates local elements such as rolling hills, rows of sugar cane fields, and a book – each stripe representing one aspect. A final element, a bird in flight, symbolises the school’s nurture and students’ future aspirations extending beyond academia.

Research

Discovering student vibes and interests.

We conducted intensive on-the-ground research to understand the school’s market accurately. This involved a deep dive into the school’s history, the community it serves, and the extracurricular preferences of the students, such as Little Athletics, Rugby League, video games and shredding the local skatepark.

Target Audience Identification

Through workshops, we worked closely with the school’s teachers and staff to create customer personas of two student types and one “bypass” parent, which helped us understand the unique needs and motivations of the school’s core stakeholders.

Competitor Analysis

Teachers shared insights into their competitors, primarily private schools that students bypassed Childers SS for. The key differentiator was Childers State Schools’ experience — a full-service community approach; it’s a community hub, not just a school.

Cultural Trends

Understanding the life of the students outside the school gates was critical. School discos, sports, and video games emerged as significant trends that could be leveraged in the branding.

To collate and analyse this diverse data, we facilitated workshops with the teaching staff to ensure the new brand had broad appeal and authenticity. This comprehensive research approach proved invaluable in informing our strategic direction for the school’s brand transformation project.

Brand Strategy

Championing a future-focused vision.

Our strategy centred on designing a brand identity for Childers State School that mirrored its vibrant community, combining local elements with educational symbols. We aimed to enhance the school’s strengths, create a visually refreshed look aligned with its evolving objectives, and guide the rebranding process effectively.

Brand Positioning

We positioned Childers State School as a future-focused education provider that respects and supports each student's growth through diverse academic and extracurricular activities — the Childers experience.

Personality and Voice

We infused the brand personality with traits associated with being professional, enthusiastic, dedicated, respectful, supportive, and visionary. The new brand voice was decided to be respectful and future-focused, envisaging the school’s commitment to each student's future.

Brand Messaging

The resonating message was that the school is future-driven, caring for every student and helping them to discover their potential.

Design Process

Forward-thinking design.

Through every step of the process, consultation with stakeholders ensured the final design was approvingly received, achieving a delicate balance between mirroring the heritage and values of Childers State School and giving it a modern, distinctive appearance.

Initial ideas and brainstorming

In the initial stages, our team brainstormed ideas to capture the spirit of Childers State School with a contemporary crest emblem.

This process began by modernising traditional elements in the old crest – such as the book, sugar cane, and sash across the shield.

Another approach then integrated abstract symbols, like an athletic track line, into our initial sketches, inspired by prevalent extracurricular activities among students.

Brandscapes

Once we had a primary direction, we created three brandscapes each embodying a distinct theme.

The ‘On Track’ board retained the school’s original colours but added playful geometric design elements.

The ‘Brightly Positive’ board introduced a lively blend of bold, bright colours with wavy stripes, symbolising the school’s dynamic philosophy.

The ‘Future Driven’ board encapsulated a futuristic vision, incorporating geometric designs in a shield, resonating with students’ interest in space and the school’s forward-thinking approach.

Logo Design

The final logo design represented a modern interpretation of Childers’ distinct elements. Constructed as a shield made of curved stripes, the logo creatively integrates local elements such as rolling hills, sugar cane fields, and a book – each stripe representing one aspect. A final element, a bird in flight, symbolises the school’s nurture and students’ future aspirations extending beyond academia.

Iterations and Refinements

Design execution is inherently an iterative process, with each step refined through continual feedback and evaluations.

In the design phase, we found our initial concept echoed a renowned sportswear brand. By adding an extra stripe, we not only differentiated our design but also birthed ‘The Four Stripes,’ a unique, cohesive element threading the brand identity together.

We also capitalised on the vibrant energy of the electric mint green colour and the geometric forms of the shield structure.

Brand Identity

The Four Stripes.

Introducing the Four Stripes – a genius design element that seamlessly binds Childers State School’s brand identity. Represented in the logo crest, it beautifully meanders through visuals, echoing the brand’s essence.

More than just a design feature, the Four Stripes transforms into an engaging reward system, serving as puzzle pieces to construct a ‘track’ that students earn for positive behaviour.

To take it further, we crafted a unique Four Stripes font, allowing students to venture into creating digital designs. Mapped to keyboard characters and set up on a Microsoft Excel grid, we’ve paved the way for uninhibited exploration of creativity within the confines of a structured system.

Basic elements

The basic elements compromise 4 lines in straight and curved formats set out over a grid. Layered over each other, new combinations can form junctions and intersections, allowing for multiple combinations.

Student reward cards

The basic elements compromise 4 lines in straight and curved formats set out over a grid. Layered over each other, new combinations can form junctions and intersections, allowing for multiple combinations.   

The font glyphs

Each square grid represents a glyph in a font. We mapped this out onto a keyboard so students could decipher the glyphs. A diverse range of designs can be created, limited by imagination.

Powering new identity.

The final design of Childers State School’s rebrand includes a modern logo that embodies the school’s character using ‘Four Stripes’ to represent local elements and aspirations.

The crucial element, ‘Four Stripes’, morphs the local elements and aspirations into a stylish shield-shaped logo and serves as a unifying theme across the branding material, from letterheads and uniforms to website layout and advertisements.

The final vibrant design aptly conveys the school’s essence and future-focus.

Typography

Typography played a crucial role in maintaining a coherent look across various materials. We selected ‘Barlow’ for headings, thanks to its easily readable, wide tracing and rounded shapes. ‘Red Hat Display’ was used for body text. Both these fonts are from Google Fonts, ensuring compatibility and accessibility across different platforms.

Colour palette

A vibrant electric mint green contrasted beautifully with a sophisticated ‘not black’ colour to form our final palette. The green, serving as the primary hue, adds excitement and a splash of energy to the brand, while ‘knot black’ provides an elegant contrast, grounding and balancing the branding design.

Additional touchpoints

Beyond the logo, typography, and colour palette, the ‘Four Stripes’ became a consistent design theme in all branding materials. On school uniforms, it was incorporated into the trim. Even for packaging and merchandise, this design detail was strategically used to maintain a consistent brand identity across all materials.

Reflection

What went well

The creation of a fresh, modern, and unique brand identity for Childers State School marked a significant success for this project. The innovative “Four Stripes” system resonated with the school and community, creating a solid brand element that got interwoven across numerous touchpoints.

Challenges faced

One of the significant challenges was securing alignment from all stakeholders, especially among the 35-strong teacher group. Overcoming this required effective two-way communication and workshops that allowed their inputs to define the creative direction.

Overcoming challenges

Conducting workshops proved effective in bridging the vision gap between the teachers and staff. The interaction allowed everyone to voice their suggestions and led to mutual agreement. In the face of the logo similarity issue, our team’s flexibility and adaptive approach came to the forefront, letting us turn an obstacle into an opportunity to improve the design.

Learnings and growth

The project emphasised the importance of comprehensive research and collaboration with all stakeholders. It showcased that flexibility in design and problem-solving aptitude can turn challenges into growth opportunities. A key takeaway is the ability to focus on aesthetic design and understanding and embedding the school’s culture and values into the brand efficiently. Refreshing a heritage brand taught us the delicate art of contemporary interpretation while respecting tradition, an invaluable lesson for future prospects.

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