Thames Christian School

With an imminent move to a new building at a new location, Thames Christian School approached us to give them a brand that would carry them into the next phase of their history. The school is unique in its personalised approach to teaching; nurturing the strengths of each individual and creating a culture of compassion, respect and humility. Their proximity to the river, coupled with their approach of teaching not only academic, but life skills set in a wider social context, led us to develop their brand based on the idea of ‘navigation for life’.


With a location so close to the capital’s most ancient thoroughfare and the name of the river embedded in their name, Thames Christian School’s ethos seemed indelibly linked to the idea of the personal journey. Their approach of developing individual strengths whilst grounding pupils in the benefits of helping others is designed to provide confidence and resilience for life.


Working with the senior leadership team of the school, we identified 
the core pillars of the school’s ethos. The Thames-side location and link 
to the name led us to explore the idea of personal journeys and navigation. We developed a suite of symbols that built on the nautical theme to convey how the school worked.


The school crest was redesigned using simple line work to unite the four pillars of the star, the sails, water and direction within the shape of the anchor – which symbolised Thames’ stable grounding and Christian ethos. The mark’s simplicity made it distinctive and easy to apply to uniforms and other touchpoints around the school.


The idea of ‘navigation for life’ neatly expressed what the school provided for its pupils. We used this as a driving idea to develop the visual aspects of the school’s identity. This phrase was used externally to convey the school’s unique positioning.

As part of the visual language of the school’s identity, we built on our idea of ‘navigation for life’ by creating a unifying river motif based on maps of the Thames and the school’s location. The master artwork could be used in a variety of crops and at different scales to add interest and pace to documents and online applications. The motif could also be used on glass manifestations and as floor vinyls to give the sense of a journey ‘meandering’ through the school’s physical environment.

The grid on which the map was constructed also provided a structure with which to organise content online and in print. We developed a unique palette of colours and created a library of imagery overlaid with coloured ‘washes’ and grid lines to make them distinctive and ownable.


The photography style showed pupils and teachers engaged in school activities. They were shot in a reportage, fly-on-the-wall style to capture ‘real’ moments that would add authenticity to school comunications.


We worked closely with the school to produce a new website, making use of all the newly developed elements to create a lively and informative online environment.

At the time of finalising the creative work on the brand, the school itself was still under construction. We worked with architect’s plans and visuals to create designs for external signage and wayfinding. We also showed how the visual elements of the brand could be applied to environments throughout the school, with the river graphic linking the different spaces.

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Thames needed to graphically bring to life the variety of activities and subjects that they provide for their pupils. Taking the style that we developed for the pillar symbols and logotype, we developed a set of icons. These needed to be both recognisable and robust enough to be used online and in a host of communications including the school prospectus.

All the elements of the visual identity were brought together to create the school prospectus. This flagship piece of communication was designed to not only convey the ethos and suitability of the school, but also a sense of the richness and vitality of the culture. The unorthodox format and high quality production made it feel valuable; something you’d want to keep hold of.

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The theme of navigation is repeated on Thames’ print collateral as the river winds across stationery, prospectuses and the website. We wanted the river to become the common link that identified all the school’s communications through the sense of a journey unfolding.

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