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These Walls Talk!

Posted by Jacqueline Koch on January 24th, 2019
Posted in Blog, Independent Schools, Nonprofit Branding   

Crystal Springs environmental graphics

What do you call the blank walls in an office, a conference room, or a hallway? A canvas to tell your organization’s story.

Tell me what your organization’s conference room looks like. Is it a collaborative space with white walls that you can brainstorm on? Is it full of large, framed images of the people you serve? If your conference room has empty walls or outdated snapshots from an old fundraising event, then you’re missing out on a great opportunity to extend your brand experience to all corners of your office.

We get it; you have limited resources and budget, and office décor is not high on the list of branding opportunities. Instead of a design challenge, consider barren walls or an empty corridor a canvas for creativity. It’s an invitation to bring your brand to life.

This is what our clients at the Crystal Springs Uplands School understand so well. When we first scouted the campus before producing their admissions video, I was inspired by the wonderful way they used compelling images throughout campus buildings. Well cropped and handsomely framed, scores of photos highlight recent student accomplishments and the latest school events. The Gryphon Center, Crystal’s home for fitness, dance, and athletics, features dramatic shots of winning moments at various sports competitions. Poised and graceful, student dancers hold gravity-defying ballet positions in unexpected contexts, such as the science lab or on top of a library table.

Crystal has valuable assets—beautiful photos, students’ art portfolios, and many bare corridors —and they readily put them to work. As the maxim goes, “If those walls could talk…” At Crystal, the walls speak volumes about the magic that unfolds on campus every day. Therefore, in tandem with the launch of a new admission campaign, Mission Minded took Crystal’s assets to the next level.

Our goal was to create a large, single panel banner that Crystal could hang above the entry of the Upper School’s Uplands Building that displayed the school’s core values front and center. Balance, humility, kindness and inclusion are the bricks and mortar of the school and at the heart of the organizational story. Drawing from our intimate understanding of Crystal, and its commitment to a thriving student body, we paired a compelling moment, a telling shot, with each core value. The result is a visually stunning reminder of Crystal’s specific strengths, reinforcing the admission tagline: “Where the Student Spirit Thrives.”

It’s an exciting and often overlooked branding opportunity, especially when we ask: Who is your audience? In this case, it’s everybody and anybody who passes through the door. The added benefit is that they are a captive audience. Be it prospective families, current students, donors, supporters, community members, alumni, faculty or staff, there is little competition for attention once they are on site, from the lobby to the meeting room. Yet surrounded by rich and well-curated imagery that align with your brand, your audience is likely to find themselves better connected to your mission.

If you’re looking for more inspiration on how to bring your brand to life, we’ve outlined other ways to design your office with brand in mind. And don’t stop there. Consider how your brand can drive your culture and help bring your organization’s story to life.


Working with organizations large and small and across the nonprofit, global health and development sectors, Jacqueline Koch brings to Mission Minded more than 10 years of experience as a communications and branding strategist. Making good on her professional commitment to advancing positive change, she helps clients discover and tap into their most valuable asset—their story—and put it to work.