May 18, 2017

Challenging Minds, Nurturing Spirits: An Exciting Step Forward

Many of you celebrated with us on Tuesday of this week, when we launched our brand new logo and tagline. You’ve worn the T-shirt, you’ve seen the hat, you’ve drunk from the water bottle!

The overwhelming feedback that we have received from everyone is very positive.  From our preschoolers to our middle schoolers, teachers, staff, parents, trustees, and alumni, we have heard that the new look for Friends School is a modern and exciting change.

You have also asked great questions:  Why are we doing this now? What was wrong with the old logo? Does this incorporate everything that Friends School is? Who came up with the design? How?

An over-arching rebranding effort has been on the to-do list for our Community Board since our last five-year strategic plan. A lot has changed at Friends since we adopted our previous logo over 25 years ago. Not only were we looking for an updated design that would represent our new identity as a Preschool-8th Grade School and Teacher Preparation Program, we were also aiming to create an exciting look that would tell our story well into the future as we feature online more and more.

Jay Ferracane, Meg Hansen, Howard Rubin
This entire rebranding effort was formally approved by our board to begin last December and has been led by three extremely creative and dedicated people:  Howard Rubin, Meg Hansen, and Jay Ferracane.  Howard is a trustee of our school, a current parent, chair of our Strategic Marketing Committee, and managing partner of Match Marketing Group. Meg is an alumni parent and our Director of Marketing and Communications. Jay is also an alumni parent and he owns AngryBovine, a creative studio that specializes in brand development and interactive. The three worked as a tireless team over the course of approximately 4 months to bring this long-desired project to life.

Before any design began, Meg, Howard and Jay reached out to all the constituents in our school, over the course of several weeks, and began the essential discovery process, asking the key questions: “Who is Friends School?” and “What sets us apart?”  Not surprisingly, among the hundreds of responses, from those who have known us for 30 years to those who are brand new to Friends, most expressed similar themes and feelings about our school.  These were all carefully considered and informed the design process. Meg has skillfully summarized hundreds of responses in the passage below (which can also be found at this link.)

Jay’s team brought five design ideas to Meg and Howard who selected two finalists to present to our marketing committee and rebranding focus group – two committed teams of teachers, staff, trustees, and parents who pondered, and questioned, and voted.

Our preschool team rocking the new look
The winning design is the one you see: a heart shape composed of lines representing the mountains, land, and water of Colorado. Jay tells us that this triptych design is a metaphor for the three-part design of our previous logo: head, hand and heart.  Online, this logo can be animated so that the lines move, which supports our strong belief that the school never remains the same. We are a dynamic organization on the move, continually growing and improving our program.

Jay added that, while the contemporary ‘cool’ design appeals to middle schoolers and our older alumni, there is a lot more heritage in it than some people realize. The red color is reminiscent of the previous logo.  The heart form is still present, albeit more subtle. And while we make it clear that Friends is a progressive, dynamic learning environment, there is also a nod to more traditional education in the shape of a school shield.

In removing the apostrophe in the Friends School name (as so many brands have done before us), we have made our mark considerably more adaptive and recognizable in the digital world.  In Howard’s words, “The logo sets us up to serve us well into the future.”

Our tagline Challenging Minds, Nurturing Spirits is lifted from our Vision Statement.  It harkens back to the very beginnings of our school when our founding parents created a school that is a stimulating, engaging and heartfelt environment, where children could learn by doing, where individuality is honored, and where each child is known.  It also speaks to our emphasis on outstanding academic success.

We are deeply indebted to everyone who participated in this process, our marketing committee, rebranding focus group, all who participated in the discovery process, and particularly to Meg, Howard and Jay for their energy, creativity, boundless hard work, and passion for and belief in this project.

We are thrilled at the result of everyone’s efforts. I look forward to all of us wearing the new logo with pride for many years to come. Over the summer, we will continue to make changes to feature the new logo: on our signage, website, doors, admissions materials, and more. You will start to see a broader pallet of colors introduced, and we will roll out more clothing options and products with our brand new look.
Who is Friends’ School?
(adapted by Meg from the hundreds of responses gathered during the rebranding discovery process)

Friends School values all learners. We are a creative, challenging, safe environment where every student is seen, known, and loved. Small class sizes allow us to know each student fully for who they are, meet them where they are on the learning spectrum, and help them to know themselves and set their own path.

Friends students are academically challenged and prepared to enter the world as thoughtful, kind, genuine, self-advocating, confident, and empathetic citizens. A strong balance of rich academic and social emotional curriculum with an emphasis on character development allows our graduates to successfully transition into any high school environment. Our students not only learn the importance of a social emotional education, they actually LIVE it.

A Friends School education promises essential foundations for a life of success. Our vision is as clear today as it was 30 years ago: challenging minds, nurturing spirits, honoring individuality. 

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