I was approached in the car park of HeronBridge College with a request: “We want you to redesign our prospectus, Nando’s Style”.
My first reaction to this was: “huh?” Nando’s is well-known for its off-the-wall advertising, but how do you relate a chicken outlet to a school (even if chickens do roam the grounds)? It was further explained that they wanted to move away from the clichéd photo collages that every school uses. They wanted something quirky, different and a little bit out-to-lunch. OOOH! The kind of creative impossibility I love to have clunking around in the back of my head!
The school’s original tag line was “Make a lifestyle choice for your child”, which, honestly, made me imagine privileged brats lolling around on beaches. This year it changed to “Educating young South African with Heart”, a perfect description of the extensive Community Service and Outreach programmes that have changed the face of the school and the hearts of the students. The school also wanted to reduce the reams of paper that were currently being stuffed into document folders for prospective parents. I took a sample of the paperwork home and was bored silly after the first few pages. The information needed to be slimmed down to the essentials with the chunky bits available online, thus reducing unnecessary paper waste and making the pack a lot more attractive.
It turns out that the school, as a physical space is laid out in an order that would be perfect to use in a map. As you come in the front gates, the pre-prep is on the far left, followed by Junior Prep, Senior Prep and ending with the High School on the far right. All the extra venues (auditoriums, meeting halls, extra classrooms etc) are named after indigenous African trees, and the latest addition is a huge new auditorium, aptly named “baobab” (the tree of life) which is right in the middle. Pulling all this together, a plan began to emerge. Instead of drawing the auditorium building, I drew a baobab. The tree then became a vehicle for listing all the cultural activities available for students, as well as the visual centre for the map. It is used again on the front cover, listing the fruits of the spirit from Galatians, which is at the centre of the school’s Christian ethos. Sports were listed at the bottom of the page as the sports grounds are actually across the road from the main entrance. The road runs off to the right and if you turn the page, it continues into a map of all the key bus stops for the bus service.
I then got to develop all sorts of different characters and features for the map. Girls with books, art and princess crowns; boys with backpacks, bicycles and sand piles; signposts; a swimmer in snorkeling gear to indicate the swimming pool; teens with electronics; the high school bell; busses of all shapes and sizes and of course the chickens (not grilled).
The final prospectus was printed in 5 colours (the 4 main ink colours plus a gold ink) and the cover was finished off with a spot UV varnish on the tree, which raises it up a little (see the top photo above).
The push for change towards difference and quirkiness, was the brainchild of HeronBridge founder and past headmaster, David Klein. He passed away suddenly at the end of August, a couple of days after I delivered the finished job to the school. The school and everything it stands for is a testament to his vision and unswerving persistence. Dave’s courage, faith and vision are the baobab around which the school stands.