Building the Brand

“No good book has ever been written that has in it symbols arrived at beforehand and stuck in,” said Ernest Hemingway. “That kind of symbol sticks out like raisins in raisin bread. Raisin bread is all right, but plain bread is better.” This is akin to endowing the fabric of the campus with important qualities, subtle, like plain bread, but powerful and authentic.

We set about crafting the principles of a home-like place that would guide campus development.

The Board of Trustees didn’t have bread on their minds when they engaged Blanchard Group to develop a campus master plan to satisfy the needs of this boarding-only school. But expressing the central theme from a recent branding study, the importance of a “homelike” setting in which parents would feel comfortable entrusting their child, certainly was.

We set about crafting the principles of a home-like place that would guide campus development. One important principle was creating a safe, pedestrian priority campus. A fully developed solution to this principle meant removing the automobile from the center of the campus, opening land for future growth, and establishing a comfortable village-like setting.

Another principle is the importance of maintaining a consistent campus image. The regionally authentic Georgian architecture and well-kept grounds convey a sense of stability; a place guided by a deliberate hand, unblemished by questionable decisions.

As the first place where all students and their families experience the campus, it was important for the planning to create a memorable entry and arrival sequence. Passing through the gates, you leave the city behind and enter its pastoral setting. A long drive lined by trees that mark the seasons leads to a welcoming historic house fronted by a circular cobblestone drive, just wide enough for one car, with a wonderfully scaled porch and chairs that invite lingering.

These examples, and many more, are inextricably woven into the fabric of the campus now, and as it develops over time — just good bread, no raisins. Oh! They do bake bread at 7am. The smell greets the students as they get up to start their days.