Discovering hidden gems - A Case Study in Branding

K Burton / B Stevens - 23.05.14

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Over the last two years our studio has been involved in a design opportunity with one of Adelaide’s highly regarded Catholic schools, Rostrevor College. Interestingly our extensive history of work with schools began with the development of the Rostrevor College Annual back in 1988. From this one small project we have gone on to work with over 30 different Colleges in South Australia and continue these relationships in our business today. On this occasion, the task involved the most extensive review we had ever undertaken, with license to consider all aspects of the College’s framework.

Entrusted with the freedom to review and suggest a complete vision for the College, we were at liberty to examine every facet of the College branding. Although there was not the latitude to complete all elements concurrently, our review was comprehensive and a progressive rollout planned as budgets permitted.

Our process involved research and exploration of all the material we could find pertaining to the identity of the College through its 90 year history. The evolution of the crest, the development of the College House system, the origins of the Boarding House and the establishment of the Rostrevor Foundation, were all important components to be considered.

A key characteristic of the new direction for the College was the offering of a seamless education for all students from Reception through to Year 12. In the past the College had delineated the Junior, Middle and Senior schools. The new plan for the College hinged on merging those divisions and ensuring the educational platform was viewed as a complete package. 


The Rostrevor Crest over the years

Apart from the crest and logotype, we were keen to explore any visual cues that could be exploited as part of the branding. Early in our work we decided the strength of the brand was in the Rostrevor name itself. This thinking proved to be even more intuitive as the project continued. Our delving and creative thinking later uncovered the ultimate designer’s ‘gem’. Like a phoenix rising we discovered the key to our branding direction: the beginning, the middle and the end letter of the name is the letter ‘R’. The simplicity yet complete relevance of this detail emerged as a magic moment in the design process. 

This theme formed the perfect springboard to convey the message of the school. Its synergy with the ‘educational platform’, its connection with the familiar three pillars of learning, its relationship to respectful attitudes towards our environment and a sustainable future (reduce, reuse, recycle) were among the many positive attributes we derived from this discovery. Cliched slogans were replaced with a simple statement that described the Rostrevor offering and the letter ‘R’ was developed as the principle connecting visual element.



Over the course of the next 18 months we worked closely with the College and staged the rollout making use of important dates in the school calendar such as Open Day and the 90th year celebrations. The refreshed identity for the College has been handled carefully and respectfully with regard to all the established traditions and culture of the school and its community. In the process much of the history has, in fact, not only been revived but a great deal more now also recorded and preserved for future generations.





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