Visual Identity Design
A relatively new school in New Haven, Quinnipiac Magnet School is led by the vision of an extraordinary principal and a very dedicated set of handpicked teachers. Quinnipiac School lacked a visual identity system that would communicate this vision and passion in a consistent and engaging manner. This was increasingly relevant in New Haven’s current scenario where Neighborhood Schools, Magnet Schools and Charter Schools jostle for attention and choosing a school is an incredibly complex decision for parents. An important reason, therefore, for building a robust visual identity was to create a strong, well-recognized name for the new entrant and aid the decision making process for parents. This would also be the first New Haven Public School to embark on such an exercise so it became even more critical to create a successful benchmark that other schools wanted to emulate.
The challenge for Quinnipiac was manifold. Not only was it perceived as an overflow school (which was how it started), but its old building and unimpressive facade was in stark contrast to many of the newly renovated New Haven Public Schools and their shiny exteriors. Its theme - Real World Math - didn’t mean anything to parents. It was just one more complicated term in the jargon-based vocabulary that seemed to be the norm when it came to talking about education.
The minute I walked through the doors at my first school visit I could feel the energy, the passion, and the warmth electrifying the atmosphere. Each student was personally greeted when they came to school every day. Every corner of the walls proudly displayed student work. Every member of the school team was committed, passionate, and proud of what they were doing. This was truly a small school with a big heart.
We decided that we needed a design approach that would balance warmth and creativity with the professional excellence they bring to everything they do. Their positioning - A Lighthouse of Learning - evolved from multiple conversations with the members of the core team. Their new identity combined the forms of the Seashell and the Sun into a modern and dynamic symbol to convey this positioning. Inspired by the Quinnipiac River and the neighborhood, the Seashell stands for progress, growth and excellence. The Sun at the core of the identity is a symbol for knowledge, energy and positivity and is the perfect representation of the values that are embodied by the School and its students.
I defined what made them special, and crafted the collateral to highlight their particular strengths. Their unique culture, strong community values and excellent resources became the primary talking points. I also worked with some of the student artists to create beautiful illustrations of the school and self potraits that were used to create a unique visual language.
As part of their theme of Real World Math, their learning travels through four Worlds of Math - Financial, Geographical, Physical and World of the Future - covering one theme each quarter. I created icons and posters illustrating these Worlds of Math.
The last time I visited I was happy to see that the identity had taken on an organic form. For me this is the true test of good design, when it moves beyond the deliberate crafting of the designer's desktop to live in the real world. The students and staff had embraced this identity unreservedly and this loving representation was to my eyes perfect.
Quinnipiac STEM Magnet School
New Haven, Connecticut
DESIGN AND COPYWRITING
Students of Quinnipiac STEM Magnet School