people looking at graffiti art work including the Hills logos, crest and slogan - hero image

Transforming Tradition

A New Chapter for a Historic School

  • Created bold, fresh identity for an iconic boarding school
  • Established new brand promise centered on the school’s mission
  • Changed the name of the school in its identity to produce a more contemporary feel
  • Achieved unanimous endorsement of the new direction from the Board of Trustees
Client
The Hill School
Office
NYC

The Hill School is a leading coeducational private boarding school in Pennsylvania that has been shaping the lives of its students for more than 150 years. In an attempt to get ahead of the demographic and economic shifts affecting boarding schools across the country, The Hill partnered with MBLM to create a new strategic brand platform and revitalized identity.

students shaking cowbells with the Hill crest
Hill crest with description of the meaning of the different elements of the crest
all the different Hill logos and crests
people sitting on a stage beside person standing at a lectern with Hill banner behind them
Hill crest on a banner hanging on a pole
image of The Hill School crest

Following quantitative research with multiple stakeholders as well as several school visits, MBLM developed a compelling brand promise centered on the Brand Intimacy archetypes of nostalgia and identity—nostalgia for the memories the school and its traditions invoke; identity because of the shared sense of community and belonging. Building upon the school’s existing motto, from the New Testament passage “Whatsoever things are true,” we focused the brand promise around the idea of “True To You” and targeted it to potential students themselves. This created linkage with the school’s traditions as well as celebrating the diversity and values of today’s teenagers.

Black and white photo of group of mainly white Hill students
diverse group of Hill students holding up a Hill flag

To support and reinforce this new promise, MBLM also developed a new brand identity symbolizing the school’s continuing evolution while remaining true to the core elements that have defined the school over the years. Distinct among competitors, the new brand has a number of related identities, including athletics, to showcase a variety of bold depictions of the school’s visual presence.

students holding Hill flags
two athletic players on a court touching hands and surrounded by people
a collage of different Hill shirts
many people forming the word HILL on a field

MBLM continues to work with The Hill, helping train their design team and creating fundraising collateral. The rollout of the new brand identity was executed swiftly to coincide with the start of the new school year, and its adoption across all of facets of the community is continuing into 2020 as the strategic and creative outputs continue to focus on the new promise and identity.

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