How to craft a visual identity that supports your school brand

You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover … but we often do. The way your brand looks affects how your brand is perceived. If your brand’s visual identity doesn’t quite hit the mark, you are immediately underselling your school’s offering on first impressions.

Your school’s visual identity needs to support your brand personality and let your school community know what you stand for. It sets a tone and echoes your school’s values so it must be relevant, accurate and used consistently.

Here’s how to craft a visual identity that supports your school brand:

Let your school brand’s visual elements speak to your parents, students and community in a way words can’t – you will find it is faster too. Use illustrative clues to suggest the tone of your school. The font, the logo and the size of text will all make them feel something. Do you appear conservative and plain? Bright and inviting? Set the mood by matching the style of your visual identity to your school brand. Don’t choose a large, mysterious or comic style font that is overbearing and untrusting. This will only confuse your audience.

Your school brand’s use of colour for imagery, backgrounds, text and logos carries meaning and signifies what kind of school you are. Green tones are fresh and organic. Blue is trustworthy and calming. Purple means luxurious and creative, and black speaks professionally. Apply a colour palette and use hues that demonstrate clearly and cleverly what your school is offering for transparency and recognisability.

Concepts, themes and ideas are conveyed in images without using text so they need to relate to your school brand, topic or message. Keep consistency by using images with a similar style. This can be achieved by choosing images with the same themes and colour schemes. Edit photos or use photo filters to capture the same light or hues. Crop them in the same shaped frame and size. Add your logo in the same positions each time or use a similar background. All these aspects will consistently enforce the personality of your school brand.

Add your school’s personality into your visual identity at every opportunity. Keep it simple to avoid overwhelming your school community and concentrate on skilfully weaving visual elements into your appearance that relate to your school brand. Appealing to your communities’ emotions is an easy way to do this. If your school brand is inviting, upbeat and modern – use bright colours, bold shapes, vivid imagery and sleek fonts to mirror this. You want your audience to feel energised, motivated and positive when they visit your school website.

Once your school brand has cemented a solid visual identity that speaks to your community, repetition is key. Using the same colour palette, backgrounds, hues and font will all contribute to the narrative of your school brand and it needs to be reinforced. It will make your school’s visual identity recognisable and school brand powerful. Ensure you create a comprehensive brand style guide for your school, detailing the essence of your visual identity and how to successfully execute this for all your staff to refer to.

Constructing a consistent, relatable and true visual identity says so much about your school brand without using words. You can express personality, concepts and tone. Review your school’s visual identity and work towards ensuring it wholly aligns with your school’s values so you don’t disappoint your community and undermine your school brand.

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