Francis Parker

Rebranding a school

St. Francis School is an oasis with a branding problem. It is an independent, progressive school challenging conventional thinking about educating children. The teachers believe that education should be individualized. That we need to teach students how to think, not what to think.

But the school’s name didn’t communicate its philosophy or differentiate them from the numerous religious schools in the area. And their visual and verbal identity didn’t match their uniqueness.

We started the process by reviewing stakeholder surveys and listening sessions. We got to know the school and its people through campus visits, long conversations about values, and conducting brand voice exercises. (A highlight was the to-scale Wyvern skeleton hanging from the rafters of the high school.)

Our research insight was that we all needed to do grade school all over again, or at least send our kids.

That aside, we needed a name that honored the past, represented the present, and made room for the future. The naming criteria reflected the school’s values, personality, tagline (The School of Thought), and technical requirements.

After squinting at maps, reading histories, and creating new words, an internal candidate stood out from the others. Francis Parker was a founder of progressive education in the US. The name Francis was a bridge to the past. The methodology informs the present. And the spirit of reformation guides the future. St. Francis School became Francis Parker School.

We next redesigned the brand identity. We adjusted their signature colors for better contrast. The new logo is evocative. It might bring to mind an abstract “F” and “P.” It might remind you of leaves and the school’s commitment to outdoor education. You might see the talons of a Wyvern. Or it might communicate abstract art — and the creativity and imagination Francis Parker School fosters.

We also developed a brand voice and foundational language to communicate the school’s personality and value more concisely. And again, to match their brand to their uniqueness.

Francis Parker School is a community that cultivates learners. And even before those learners graduate, they are practicing making a positive impact in the world. We are excited to see what they all do next.