What is a design agency?
A design agency is a workplace for designers and artisans engaged in the conception, design and development of new products, services, or ideas. It usually offers both digital and print services as well as specialising in branding, photography, video and website design.
Why does my school need one?
If your school lacks a strong visual identity and a strong recognisable brand, the right design agency will work with you to create a brand that can be used consistently across everything, from your website, presence on Google, social media activity, internal displays, signage, and your prospectus and other promotional materials.
Once you have made the decision to work with a design agency, you will need to choose one – which might seem a bit daunting as there are many good agencies around that are all keen to obtain your business.
What is important is finding an agency that understands your requirements, that will deliver exactly what you need and that is a cost-effective option for your school … at a time when school budgets are being squeezed more and more!
However, if you are clear on how you would like your school brand to be used across all of your marketing, you know what you would like the brand to achieve, and how a design agency will help you achieve those goals, it will make choosing the right one easier.
Your school’s story
At Blue Apple Education we are often asked by Headteachers and school marketing departments what they should do first when looking to develop their school’s branding…
We tell them that they need to start by looking at their school’s story and identity.
You should start by looking at your school’s history and background; how long the school has been in existence for example; the school’s physical attributes in terms of its buildings and grounds; and what is different and interesting about your school – its Unique Selling Points or USP.
Your school’s branding should be a natural extension of your school’s unique identity and USP.
Your school’s website
What do prospective parents and students do when they are looking for information on a particular school? The first thing that they are likely to do is to Google your school!
They will probably visit your website and compare the information and images on it with other schools’ websites in your catchment area and it is essential that your website is welcoming, engaging, and that it contains lots of positive statements, recommendations, and images to provide a great first impression of your school.
Your brand should shine through on your website and should be consistent throughout. If you introduce your school’s values and ethos on your homepage, and consistently across the site, it will make it easier for prospective parents and students to get a positive feeling about your school from the outset.
When, as they inevitably do, they then leave your site to explore other schools’ websites, your brand and image will hopefully stay top of mind.
However, it is not enough just to have a website presence; your website needs to work for you! This is where your design agency can help, because they will assist you to make the most of your site, will offer you advice and tips on how best to set it up and will regularly manage and improve your site on an ongoing basis.
It is understandable that a cash-strapped school may choose a design agency that charges very little to design their website, but as with everything in life, you get what you pay for… you won’t receive the quality service that you should expect from your chosen partner. Instead, you are likely to receive a low level of support, and a lower quality website that does not perform so well.
Surely your students, staff, and parents deserve the best website that your school can afford?
Blue Apple Education are a website design agency with nearly 20 years’ experience working exclusively in the education sector. We believe that a school’s website should be supported by an easy-to-use content management system and that your school should receive the best service and support and should have access to the latest design and technological innovation.
Your school’s prospectus
When a school is in the process of choosing a design agency to partner with, they often overlook their prospectus. This is because prospectuses tend only to be needed at certain times in a school’s calendar, such as the autumn or spring terms – to coincide with open days etc.
It is important therefore, to factor in time to work on your school’s prospectus, as well as to consider what needs to go into it – your prospectus should complement your website and your branding should be consistent across both.
Ideally, a good prospectus should capture your school’s values and mirror the branding with consistent use of key colours, logos, photographs, and fonts. By using highlights of key colours for example, it adds depth to your visual representation and helps to give your branding a professional feel.
Your design agency should work with you to ensure that your needs, areas of focus, and tone of voice are met. Your brochure should contain a range of quality photographs and images, as well as interesting facts and key information to encourage prospective parents and pupils to chose your school over the competition.
Your chosen school design agency should automatically remind you about updating your prospectuses ahead of your school open day or event and should allow plenty of time for briefing, design, and choosing materials, as well as proofreading the content, printing, and delivering the prospectuses.
At Blue Apple Education, we create beautifully designed and printed prospectuses, which reflect a school’s USP, its style, and its strengths. Please have a look at our website for more information on our school prospectus design services – blueappleeducation.com
Your school’s signage
Used properly your school’s signage and displays are a great way to boost productivity, improve enthusiasm for learning, and instil pride in your school.
To this end, your signage should be bright, eye-catching, modern, attractive, and engaging and should help to bring your school up to date. Your design agency will work with you to identify the key areas of your school campus and how best to utilise the available space.
Your signage should also be made of top-quality materials made to last and if external, to withstand the elements – after all signage can be costly to produce and it needs to be long lasting.
Blue Apple Education can arrange to visit your school to help visualise your ideas and to transform them into cost-effective signage, which communicates your values and showcases students’ activities and achievements and your school’s news.
Find out more about our school signage design, by contacting us at [email protected]
Your school’s photography
It is too easy nowadays to use a smartphone to take photographs, but your school needs more than a quick snap of pupils at work or play. You need considered images that encapsulate the uniqueness of your school and that can be shared across social media as well as across your website, marketing, and prospectus.
With the help of a school design partner or branding agency, you will be able to capture those special moments at sports day or a school concert using professional photography, and a good agency should be able to organise a photography session at your school with minimal disruption to your school day.
Your website and marketing material should be full of great photographs that support your marketing message. Your design agency should always include photography in the service they offer to you and they should ensure that the photos are used efficiently and for maximum exposure.
At Blue Apple Education, we love school photography and we work with leading photographic experts, who have the ability to capture those magical moments – expressing the vibrant and unique personalities of your students!
For more information on our school photography, please have a look at our website.*
It is definitely worth taking some time to choose the right school design agency and it is important to consider the above points before you make your final decision on whom to partner with.
As discussed, choosing the cheapest agency may not be the most cost-effective decision for your school and you should certainly choose an agency that you feel understands what is important to your school and that you can build a long-term relationship with.
We are school communication and design experts
The team at Blue Apple Education are proud to be celebrating 20 years of remarkable school design. We would love to hear from you and help you start your journey to developing a powerful, memorable, and successful school brand.
Blue Apple Education are School Communication and Design Experts. We believe each and every school is remarkable and unique in some way. We see it as our duty to unearth what this is and to convey the essence of this both beautifully and convincingly.
We’d love to Unearth Your Remarkable, contact Mark Davis at [email protected] or call 0330 223 0766.