Inspiring the Student Experience with Graphic Design & Branding

Wil Bradford

Associate

September 26, 2019

Compelling school architecture combines creativity, function, and inspiration. Great spaces become exceptional spaces with clear, compelling graphics and branding because they help give a campus a sense of individuality and school pride.

While working on elementary school projects, I try to tap into a mindset that allows me to think like a kid again. Can I easily find my classroom (and the restroom)? Are spaces light-filled and inviting? Do I have a positive feeling when I enter my school?

Graphic design and branding help create visual cues to navigate school campuses. Use of colors, shapes, signage, and typography help to unify an entire campus or an individual space with an identifiable theme and a feeling of pride.

Below are four examples of how school branding and graphic design influenced the themes of recent TURNERBATSON projects for Jefferson County Schools:

 

Celebrating the logo

GRANTSWOOD COMMUNITY SCHOOL

Grantswood Community School was originally built in the 1950’s. The recent TURNERBATSON addition utilized the original logo to inspire our design by incorporating the use of “G” and banner flag to create a clear, captivating pattern throughout the entire school.

The established logo featured three colors – white, red, and gray. The pattern was utilized on both the exterior and interior of the building and works as a tool for wayfinding as it runs along the “spine” of the campus.  The use of glass allowed for a visual connection of these patterns from the outside-in.

 

Grantswood Community School - Elementary Education - TURNERBATSON Architecture

Grantswood Community School - Elementary Education - TURNERBATSON Architecture exterior 2

 

The original logo also features a “banner” graphic that was re-imagined to create signage for the public spaces like restrooms and offices. Color coded hallways, alcoves, and floors help orient students and administrators on this sprawling campus.

 

Grantswood Community School - Elementary Education - TURNERBATSON Architecture 3

Grantswood Community School - Elementary Education - TURNERBATSON Architecture 2

 

Designing with school colors and kid-sized spaces

JOHNSON ELEMENTARY MEDIA CENTER

 As school leaders looked toward Johnson Elementary’s future, they envisioned an updated brand that could be easily implemented school wide. The new media center jump-starts this new identity and serves as a catalyst for future renovations throughout the school’s campus.

Bright school colors of greens, blue, and red contrast create a bold graphical wall in the space. A vibrant reading area (known as “The Cave”) features a custom wood trim opening uniquely suited for young kids.

 

johnson elementary school - elementary education - turnerbatson architecture

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The space offers diverse learning environments and dynamic patterns and colors. The Media Center has a multifunctional layout that provides students and teachers collaborative and individual learning settings.

 

TURNERBATSON Architecture_Education_JohnsonMediaCenter 6

johnson elementary school - elementary education - turnerbatson architecture 3

 

Orienting with color blocks and bold typography

BRYANT PARK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

With more than 600 students age K-6, it was important to design a facility that was easily navigated at the new 86,000 square foot Bryant Park Elementary, which is presently under construction. The clear circulation pattern was reinforced with color-coded corridors and bold typography for shared functions like the cafeteria, gymnasium, and media center.

 

bryant park elementary school education - turnerbatson architecture 13

bryant park elementary school education - turnerbatson architecture 12

 

The modern design will incorporate three main colors – blue, green, and purple. Each color will be strategically implemented throughout both the interior and exterior of the building in order to help children understand and identify each space. The graphics and patterns will support organization, while creating a recognizable theme.

 

bryant park elementary school education - turnerbatson architecture

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Branding with the community

IRONDALE COMMUNITY SCHOOL

Irondale Community School is located just down the road from the Irondale Café – a local landmark featured in the classic book “Fried Green Tomatoes”. The school and café are both positioned by the former Irondale Train station. This railroad provided inspiration for the graphic design. The 10-classroom addition, which debuted to the kids this school year, uses strong patterns influenced by the railroad to create movement through the hallways.

 

irondale community school - elementary education - turnerbatson architecture

irondale community school - elementary education - turnerbatson architecture 3

 

Colors from the existing building continued through the new addition with a pattern inspired by railroad tracks. The project also includes a new entrance specifically designed around bus pickup/drop-off. Here, students are welcomed by a new railroad crossing sign customized to include the three values of Irondale Community School – “Intentional, Considerate, Successful.”