When we created this piece, this wonderful day school in Durham, North Carolina has a common problem that many day schools often face—people who did not already know the school did not think it was a school for them. That lack of knowledge made it easy for many locals to describe it as unwelcoming or elitist.
Our aim was to open the doors wide and let people in. We drew on a vernacular style of photography—the class portrait—to generate a sense of familiarity. We wrote copy that was personable and warm. We introduced real people, used their words and ideas, and told their stories. And we created a sense of the school as something not drastically different from the great schools in the area, but subtly and importantly different, something special and unique—not something domineeringly “more or better.” We aimed to change perceptions so that it was not “one of those private schools” any more. Instead, was an interesting school, a friendly school where students were energized and inspired by what they were learning.We wanted people to think was worth a closer look because they were doing some special things in their classrooms and had compelling ideas about education.
It’s one of our favorite pieces.