Creating a Sense of Place for George School
George School asked us in the pitch meeting, “How are you going to distinguish us from Exeter and Mercersburg and the other boarding schools you’ve worked with.” Our response? “It depends on how bold you’re willing to be.”
As it turned out, George School leaders were willing to be surprisingly bold. They didn’t want to boast. That wouldn’t be Quaker. But they wanted a website that was as smart, thoughtful, and playful as the students and teachers at George School. After an intensive intake session—the Quaker decision-making process is very inclusive, and we wanted to respect that process in our own—we developed a site that was a collage of everything we saw on campus: the green of the lawns, the bricks of the buildings, the books and bags and pencils and paintbrushes that seemed to spill all over campus. Many of the labels and page headers were done in a hand-drawn font, and the frames for interior videos and other features were hand-drawn as well. An interactive homepage presented five videos, each themed to a different aspect of the George School experience.
The George School site won the CASE Circle of Excellence gold Award in 2009, but our most gratifying reward came several months after the site launched. George School staff members were interviewing a candidate for athletic director, and when they asked him if he had any questions he said, “No. I’ve been to your website, and it feels like I’ve already been here.”
George School at a Glance
- A Quaker boarding and day school founded in 1893.
- Located in Newtown, Pennsylvania
- 600 enrolled students
- Website redesign
- Interactivity and video
- Emphasis on bold design
- Photography and illustration
- Impressive results with traffic up by 72% and unique visitors up by 42%