In the UK’s smallest county of Rutland, Oakham is a school with a significantly bigger reputation. An independent co-educational boarding school, it serves as home to over a thousand students during term time. With young people attracted by its wide curriculum and even wider out-of-class opportunities, the school’s flagship publications were felt to be out of step with the times.
Making Good Even Better
The strategy that saw STENCIL initially win the work was to retain the essence of The Oakhamian, maintaining it as the school’s longstanding document of record, but to add missing magazine chops and readability to the alumni publication which presented very much as an add-on. It was also vital that both titles looked and read great.
Dual-aspect covers wouldn’t be something that would ordinarily be considered, experience showing that the design trick of using the uniqueness of size and shape adds interest and sets positive expectations. But the practicalities of a larger-than-normal postal bill caused by the global pandemic made it a smart call. The OO was printed ‘upside down’ as a natural divider and to contribute an additional quirk.
Making the Old Oakhamian feel fresher was all about what we did with the content we had. Every bit as important in getting that right was helping shape what that content might be. Everything from looking to include ‘every age’ of former students, to the use of more magazine-y devices in the design, it all goes to contributing pace, dwell time, variety and across-the-board interest.
With academic publications being notoriously ‘overly wordy’, instead of complaining about high word counts we set about accommodating them. Achieving this by pushing the physical size of the printed piece, with templates and page guides designed to handle whatever copy was thrown at it. Laying out the words and images then became more about what looked the best, rather than what just about fitted.
Boys And Girls. Girls And Boys.
In reaching the landmark of 50 years of co-education, Oakham School wanted a logo and commemorative collateral saying as much. They felt that they needed a look-and-feel that worked with the existing branding and also accommodated an age-old emblem. Supported by an aesthetic that worked every bit as well in digital form as it did printed, embroidered or embossed.
Rolling the materials out in the real world saw the creation of a series of decade-by-decade banners. Hugely impactful, portable and highly readable, these oversized pieces of art proved popular everywhere they appeared.
Samantha Rowntree – Director of External Relations, Oakham School