Royal Grammar School Newcastle

A new vision, communications & campaign for a leading independent school.

As a leading independent school and a charitable organisation recognised regionally and nationally, the Royal Grammar School is renowned for its heritage, results and successful alumni. We were appointed by the RGS to help re-define their values, establish a narrative to communicate their future vision and create a visual language, tone of voice and awareness campaign to bring everything to life.

To create a vision that people really believe in and would be embraced within the school and beyond, we needed to understand how the school was seen and perceived.

We facilitated a diverse programme of consultation with internal school community and external audiences. This give us a much deeper understanding of what really makes the school special, a vital insight into the RGS that informed our recommendations for the vision, values, purpose and wider narrative.

Themes from the consultation were diverse, parents picked up on a sense of belonging and belief as well as a true warmth that resonates throughout the school. This combination of ambition and academic success coupled with emotive qualities such as humility and freedom were powerful starting points in crafting the vision and values for the school. Informed by our insight, we established the vision ‘Freedom to create their future’. A new vision and values influence everything so it was essential it could be woven throughout the fabric of the school and brought to life visually and tonally.

Visually, the RGS logo crest has a deeply rooted heritage, this was retained and the shape of the crest used as a frame and mechanism to interact with imagery and messaging. The crest becomes a flexible canvas, with the freedom to overlay, frame, contain and highlight, a device that is rooted in each piece of communication showing the impact RGS has on the future of their school community and beyond.

Imagery is themed to reflect the vision and values. ‘Life at RGS’ reflects real life moments, natural and unstaged giving a glimpse into school life. ‘Revealing RGS’ gives a sense of place and snapshots of close-up detail, ‘Real RGS’ captures the energy and spirit of real events and extra-curricular activities, giving a true and honest picture of life beyond the school walls.

Following the new visual identity, we then developed a campaign to showcase and promote the attributes of this leading regional school aiming to motivate visits to the school Open Day. The campaign conveys the warmth of RGS and reflects the real emotive and inspirational moments that happen every day throughout the school from junior school to senior school. Simple, bold copy focusing on the future aspirations of students along with real, reportage style imagery captures the energy and spirit within the RGS school community.

We wanted the campaign to mean something to students, parents and teachers, so although primarily targeting parents to consider visiting the school on Open Day, by giving the copy an open feel it could resonate with a wider audience aswell as instil pride throughout the school. To students it reflects future ambitions, to teachers it reflects the future they see for each and every child, and for parents it reinforces the ambitions they have for their children.

The campaign ran regionally across powerful outdoor media locations, online and in print. The recent Open Day was the best yet, 40% up on visitor numbers from last year with 1,500 people visiting the school in 1 day.

We are now implementing the new visual language throughout the schools wider communications, from sixth form material to yearly reviews.

The new narrative, vision, values and visual language is a real example of listening and caring about what people think and importantly interpreting it in a way that can be woven through the school every day. It will take time to implement, but with a willing and passionate community we have no doubt the new vision and visual language will be cherished, actioned and evolved well into the future.