The independent school market is competitive and charged with emotional decisions about children’s futures. Chigwell School, founded in 1629, needed an evolved brand identity
that was sensitive to its long history but helped to reflect its present and future too.
- Celebrate the heritage of the School while reflecting their refreshed, modern outlook
- Appeal to a wide range of audiences to increase admission enquiries
- Differentiate Chigwell School from their main competitors
- New strategic positioning for the School; vision, mission, values
- An evolved brand identity which marries the past and the future seamlessly
- An efficient, systematic approach to the web build that allows a high level of flexibility and creativity across all pages
- To come in Autumn 2020
ENGAGING THE CHIGWELL COMMUNITY
There was a lot of nervousness around changing the identity of such a well-loved school. We needed to ensure our creative solutions were grounded in research and insights. We started by analysing the responses of staff and families to market research conducted by the School. This helped us to form an understanding of the perceptions of the school both externally and from within. We held engagement sessions at key points through the project to involve staff, governors, parents and pupils. This input ensured our strategic and visual solutions were sensitive to their feelings and the brand identity felt like it was truly theirs.
The School motto ‘Find a way or make a way’ was the starting point for our strategic work. It has been the School’s motto since 1629 and is a fundamental part of the school that resonated with pupils and teachers, both past and present. Keeping it was imperative.
Using our insights from the market research and engagement sessions, we developed a new vision, mission and values that represented the core culture and approach of the School. It was clear from the first session that this School was about more than just academic excellence; Chigwell pupils are treated and understood as individuals, supported to succeed in a multitude of ways and empowered to provide a positive contribution to the world. The new brand strategy brought to life what the motto means to the School in the present day.
Vision: To inspire our pupils to fulfil their potential and forge their path to success.
Mission: Our school is a nurturing and safe community. We strive to ensure that everyone is the very best they can be; independent in spirit, adventurous in approach and empathetic in how they treat others.
Since 1629, we have empowered our pupils with a deep respect for lifelong learning, ensuring they are ready to make their positive mark around the world.
ROOTED IN OUR HISTORY
The School’s history provided us with a vast visual library to inspire our conceptual thinking. The Bishop’s Mitre has always been a distinct symbol of Chigwell School and features across uniform, buildings, windows and furniture. Following a number of creative feedback sessions, it was clear that this symbol held emotional connection across our audiences and needed to remain a part of the new logo.
Past iterations of the Mitre from across the decades inspired the refreshed version. With digital use in mind, we simplified the details and line work of the Mitre. Bringing the shield back allowed us to add the founding date, 1629, into the new logo which explicitly grounds the modern visual look of the new brand in its heritage. It encapsulates the School’s refreshed outlook of future-forward thinking that is rooted in history.
A SUPPORTIVE COMMUNITY
The identity was inspired by the heart of Chigwell School; the Chapel. Graphic lines were used to create soft shapes and details to reflect the leading that holds the Chapel’s stained-glass windows together. The notion of this supportive structure reflects the supportive community of the School and aligns to the new strategy and values.
These leading-like details can be seen not only in the refreshed logo, but throughout all aspects of the identity. Illustrations feel modern and timeless. Shapes inspired by the original School Shield have been softened and restyled to use as striking image holdalls.
A WELCOMING PALETTE
Visually, there was little differentiation between Chigwell School and their key competitors in the area. Research showed that the approachability and welcoming nature of Chigwell School was a key selling point in the decision to choose them over others. Therefore, this needed to be celebrated and heroed more – along with their excellent academic achievements.
A new colour palette was devised to help represent happiness, innovation and courage. Bright accents add a modern aesthetic when paired with the traditional navy blue, while greens represent the School’s extensive grounds and nearby Epping Forest. All colours were carefully chosen to inspire different age groups of pupils, whilst also working harmoniously together to create a unique palette that feels distinctly ‘Chigwell’.
A VIRTUAL WINDOW INTO THE SCHOOL
The website is a key conversion tool for prospective parents and pupils as well as an important reference tool for the wider School community. Creating a digital experience that encompassed the welcoming, academic and community ethos of the School was incredibly important.
The new site is built using a series of module blocks which gives the internal team a high level of flexibility to create unique page layouts across the whole site, all within a consistent design framework. Modules cover everything from tables and charts to hero image blocks to testimonials and forms.
The detailed touches of the brand identity were translated into the digital experience. From CTA buttons and illustrations right down to the carousel arrows, the same soft ‘stained glass’ edges have been incorporated and make the site feel unique to Chigwell.
To find out more about the project, please visit Chigwell School’s website.