Contributed by Stefan Liute of Bucharest-based Storience.
Private schools are a relative novelty in Romania, with most of them being less than two decades old. Public schools have a mixed reputation, with underfunding and lack of curricular reform affecting all but a few of them in terms of student performance and development, and parent satisfaction. At the same time, the wider public regards private schools more like service providers who are more eager to please than to really teach and educate the children in their care. Of course, the reality is in many cases starkly different from this perception.
Ten years ago, Little London started out as a kindergarden. Since then, it has expanded into primary and secondary school, it has grown into two campuses, and it has made significant investments into brand new, custom-designed buildings. But, most importantly, it has grown a much larger, highly professional faculty that provided an educational experience that is cutting-edge, holistic, and highly satisfying to the entire academic community: children, parents and teachers.
The community received outside recognition and took pride in its achievements, but realized that its former brand identity had grown utterly obsolete. Students in more advanced years as well as their parents and the teachers felt the “little” qualifier in the brand name was not suitable for them and for a prestigious college that was also preparing to inaugurate a high-school in 2015. That is why the management decided to make a radical change in this respect, one that would prove inspirational to the very diverse brand stakeholders, from inside and outside the school.
Creating a new brand identity that would gain acceptance throughout the school community required a brand audit that involved stakeholders of all ages and roles, without overlooking the competitive context. This audit provided the basis the joint client-agency team needed to develop a representative brand definition. In turn, the definition allowed for the effective development of basic identity elements (name, slogan and logo) that were subsequently rolled out in corporate communication and signage materials.
The original, pencil-drawn Avenor star (above) — it wasn’t a star at that stage, but a hollow square
Digital explorations (above)
Logo proposal one (above)
Logo proposal two (above)
Through its roots, the newly minted brand name Avenor speaks of the road (avenue) to the future (French: avenir). This idea is explicitly reinforced by the new brand slogan, Creators of Future. The new logo in the shape of a star made up of simple, colorful stripes, depicts the school community with its different constituents and interests that converge towards a shared purpose. The whole of the new brand identity was entusiastically received by students, parents and teachers alike, who instantly identified with it and took it up with much pride.
Avenor College was proud of its ”talking walls” (walls full of the students’ and the school’s projects and ideas) as a teaching/learning instrument, so we decided to prepare a brand identity guide in the shape of a poster. It will adorn the Communication Officer’s office walls as a constant reminder of the school’s identity usage rules and liberties.
We designed the Avenor College website in such a way that the school could turn it into a responsive website when they decided to.
The logotype is set in Zine Slab Bold, the website uses Bree for titles and PT Sans for body text, while the corporate document templates go for Calibri, based on a firm client requirement for us to choose a widely-available system font.
“Our goal has been reached: we have a new name with great potential, one that is full of meaning, British-sounding yet meaningful in other major languages, easy to remember with a positive vibe, and able to take you to a place where you really want to learn and live. We really found ourselves in this new name.”
— DIANA SEGARCEANU, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, AVENOR COLLEGE