St George's School

Getting to the soul of Canada's world-school for boys

St. George’s School is an independent boarding and day university-preparatory school for boys, founded in 1930 in Vancouver, BC. With a total enrolment of 1,150 and students coming from over 15 countries worldwide, St. George’s has achieved international prominence and is recognized for being one of the pre-eminent schools in Canada.

Clarity and focus

90 years later, the School identity was showing signs of a disorderly evolution. A sea of ever changing crests and logos paired with over 20 typefaces and an inconsistent colour scheme, were all raising the flag for change. After a rigorous selection process, Persona was selected as the agency of record to develop brand strategy, design the new school identity, and provide ongoing counsel. At this early stage, our process focused on helping the School clarify its proposition of value, develop a clear brand positioning and implement a refreshed identity and messaging.

Zeroing in on brand DNA

As the School's management team delved into a strategic plan, our discovery exercise helped clarify the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. We ran a brand audit that laid bare the inconsistencies of the school identity. We gathered vital feedback from the school community. The insights we extracted helped articulate the intangible ideas that make up the School brand today — the values, the beliefs and the worldview that shapes the spirit of the School.

An inclusive process

Working closely with Headmaster Tom Matthews and his leadership team, we included key stakeholders —from students and alumni, to faculty, staff and the community at large— in a process designed to identify the true DNA of the School through its core values, differentiating attributes, and vision of the future. At the top, the School’s proven commitment to the education of the 21st century renaissance man.

A rebrand for the next 100 years

Considering its brand equity, we carefully developed a brand strategy that draws on the rich heritage of the School, anchored in its deep-rooted traditions, to create a contemporary system that reflects the forward-thinking spirit of St George’s today. Inspired by the school’s history, the new logo evolves naturally from the original School crest. The new visual identity, with its new crest and day-to-day logos, helps position St. George’s as a prestigious member of the bigger family of independent Schools.

Day-to-day school crest
Heraldic crest

Amplifying a newfound voice

The visual refresh of the school’s brand was complemented by a verbal creative strategy that underlines those key differentiators that make St George’s unique. The new identity, with its confident visual and verbal language, lends the School an authentic voice, one that is as consistent, scalable and fresh.

A passionately welcomed change

We provided the school's communications department a brand toolkit with all the assets and direction they need in order to launch and maintain the new brand, while allowing for scalability and flexibility. The accompanying brand guidelines document serves as a comprehensive manual for implementing brand identity and messaging, including art direction for photography.

We have continued to provide St George's with direction on brand implementation, as well as support on a range of marketing efforts. Through the years, we have planned and designed materials that contribute to extend the brand language in a coherent way. From wayfinding to uniforms, school viewbooks and athletics livery, to admission campaigns, HR recruiting tools, presentations, and an iPad app.

The new face of Saints

With over 20 varsity sports, the Athletics Department –aka Saints– constitutes a big part of the school and its brand. As well, it is recognized as one of the most successful high school athletics programs in Canada and, as such, it is a highly visible face for the School.

But much like the overall School identity, the Athletics’ identity was in need of a serious overhaul. We started by auditing the myriad styles, the differing logos, colours, design elements and typographic flavours of the old identity to make sense of the chaos that needed organizing.

Capturing the true spirit of Saints

The modular system we designed brought a consistent and flexible approach to all applications. The manifesto we wrote established the fundamental essence of the new Athletics identity—at its heart: "We are sportsmen of fine, honorable character. We are defined by selfless courage and integrity. We are competitive and always play fair".

At the center of the identity system is a synthesized representation of the St George’s knight personifying both the excitement and the spirit of the School’s athletics program.

"When we tendered to Persona, we were presented with the potential for a working relationship; a person who would see everything through to the end; a person who spent time understanding the very heart of our soul, someone who was just as passionate about our school as we were."

Gordon Allan — Director of admissions
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