Brand Guidelines

Introduction

A consistent use of these guidelines will reflect what is unique and special about our School. They enable us to visibly and verbally distinguish and strengthen the equity and hence the value of our brand.

These guidelines are designed to help everyone involved in the production of our communications, internally and externally. They provide a balance between guidance/direction and providing the tools to create. Please take time to read and understand them.

Everything we do should reflect this statement:

Wycombe Abbey is world class

This is the School’s core message — it is the heart and soul of the brand. It explains why we exist and why our market will remain loyal.

Everything we promise should reflect this statement:

Wycombe Abbey is a prestigious brand with a modern outlook and approach. It nurtures the leaders of tomorrow for a global workplace, preparing them for entry into the most respected universities around the world.

This is the School’s vision — it reinforces what has been achieved, but more importantly it is what we at Wycombe Abbey will continue to do.

Brands help people make a choice — between boarding or day school, private or public school, London, High Wycombe or Hong Kong.

The purpose of our branding is to ensure that Wycombe Abbey is the preferred choice in the minds of our audiences (whether parents, pupils, or prospective employees).

Brands that resonate strongly with their audience are typically motivated by the desire to exceed expectations. Living up to our word builds brand loyalty and word-of-mouth recommendation.

Our core message and vision statement establish the benchmark against which our brand can be measured time and again to ensure consistency in purpose, vision and outcome.

A consistently communicated vision will help us to hold our edge in a constantly shifting international market.

Brands are not static. They live and breath.

Visual Identity

The following guidelines have been prepared to help individuals apply the School’s visual identity correctly and consistently across a wide range of communications.

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Wycombe Abbey has two types of logo: Lozenge and Logotype.

The lozenge is the most commonly used logo format for the School.

 

The logotype should be used only where it is deemed necessary to show the School’s name, especially for new audiences or instances where only a logo is shown without supporting information about the School.

There are three logotype formats available as shown above. Use the format that works best for your project.

Please ensure you follow the guidelines below for correct use.

 

Always ensure there is enough clear space around the logos wherever possible. As a guide for the minimum amount we would recommend using the logo as a measure as shown.

 

The lozenge must never be produced smaller than 15mm or 150 pixels in height to avoid loss of detail and legibility.

 

The logos should always be grey coloured and placed on a navy background (see Colours section for exact values). For instances where this may not be possible or appropriate, a navy coloured crest can be used on a white background. Such instances include all internal communications, School stationery and legal documents for example.

 

Never use other colours or alter the lozenge shape in any way.

 

Do not place the crest over photography or any other type of imagery.

 

Gill Sans MT Std is the main typeface used for all communications, and for both digital and print.

Gill Sans MT Std Light weight should be used for everything including headings, titles, subheads and body copy.

 

Gill Sans MT Std Medium weight can be used to highlight words or sentences but should be used sparingly.

 

Always ensure there is adequate spacing between the letters. As a general rule, we would advise setting the tracking for all text, from headings to body copy,  to 20 (/1000 em).

Apply a generous amount of line spacing, but not too much that it becomes a distraction.

Dark Navy is the School’s primary colour. Select the colour values that are relevant to the medium you are using.

 

Pantone Warm Grey 1 is the School’s accent colour, which should be used for the crest/logotype and typography when placed on a dark navy background.

Select the colour values that are relevant to the medium you are using.

 

For text and logos which are placed on a white background, use a slightly lighter version of navy to counter the optical shift. Select the colour values that are relevant to the medium you are using.

 

Each of the School’s Houses have a colour assigned to them for their exclusive use.

These House colours also form the secondary colour palette for the School’s visual identity.

The School’s ever-growing image library must stay fresh and relevant. It must also remain visually consistent.

When commissioning a photographer for your project, please note the following guidelines and examples.

 

The use of the dove as a standalone icon is reserved for informal house communications only. It should never be used for anything that reaches an external audience. Parents of current pupils would be the only exception.

 

Examples of house communications might include stationery, posters, invitations etc. that are used within and belong to a house.

The dove should only appear in white OR a house colour.

The creation of a subsidiary logo may be required from time to time. The following guidelines have been established to help facilitate the creation of a subsidiary logo.

4pp A5 Multi-Purpose Template

The School regularly produces 4pp printed documents for a wide range of purposes such as programmes, invitations, announcements, results and general information. This 4pp InDesign template is suitable for most purposes.

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2pp A5 Invitation Template

This 2pp InDesign template is ideal for event invitations and programmes.

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1pp A5 Invitation Template

This 1pp InDesign template is ideal for event invitations.

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Word Document Template

A general all purpose Word template with a range of title page images to choose from.

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PowerPoint Template

A general all purpose PowerPoint template with a range of title page images to choose from.

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Poster Templates

All posters displayed around the School should include the universal footer, which contains the School’s branding and key information. This will ensure some degree of uniformity while allowing creativity to express the subject.

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Verbal Identity

Verbal identity is about adding personality to communications so that our audiences can connect with a human voice not a faceless institution. Every word attached to our brand — whether it is website or video content, newsletter, prospectus, or a tweet  — is part of our verbal identity. Our name, the messages we choose and the tonal decisions we make are all part of how people perceive the School.

All communication must attract and appeal to an aspirational audience. It should exude the pioneering and ambitious sisterhood spirit of the School.

Wycombe Abbey is a place where creative and intellectually curious individuals flourish. The brand’s tone of voice needs to reflect this by being:

Empowering

Aspirational

Passionate

All written, verbal and visual brand expressions must be warm and welcoming but with a meticulous tone. Wycombe Abbey will always celebrate and embrace its achievements but it must do so with modesty.

Like its pupils, the Wycombe Abbey voice is inquisitive and open-minded, honest, adaptable and conscientious — the type of person you can rely on.

Three important messages support our core message — Wycombe Abbey is world class. 

These messages help us to communicate the main points we want our audiences to hear and remember:

1. Wycombe Abbey  is a place where pupils can be children for longer and are encouraged to discover, explore and participate in almost anything their heart desires.

2. In addition to achieving outstanding results, the School encourages girls to love learning and aims to instil good habits that enable them to live fulfilling, creative lives.

3. Wycombe Abbey is well located. Set within 15 acres of conservation listed grounds, the School is on one secure site that is safe, protected and an oasis of calm.

 

1. An exceptional boarding school which produces exceptional girls

2. A place where academic excellence, empathy and integrity thrive

3. Boarding is the key to our continued success

4. An ethos of peer encouragement and support

5. A wonderful world where all girls flourish

6. Nurturing a globalised and entrepreneurial world view

This Brand Lexicon is a companion to the Brand Guidelines. It includes the unique characteristics expressed in the personality of the School’s tone of voice and brand language. The aim is to provide guidance to reduce confusion of preferred conventions as well as achieving language consistency and clarity. It is a living lexicon to be honed and updated by the Communications team.

Style Tips

Avoid jargon. Write in plain English.

Be engaging. Make your writing reflect the passion and intellect you share with your readers for the subject matter.

Be lucid. Simple sentences help. Keep complicated constructions to a minimum.

Do not be stuffy. Use the language of everyday speech.

Make your structure obvious.

State your meaning precisely. (Vague: slightly behind schedule/Precise: One day late)

Tell readers what they need to know, not just what you want to say. Give them the exact information they need, along with opportunities to learn more. And keep in mind what your reader does not know. Examine everything from the reader’s point of view.

Write so that you cannot be misunderstood.

Write to catch the attention of the reader.

 

Abbreviations and Acronyms

A*, A*s

Use the symbol * not the word ‘star’. No apostrophe in the plural (this is also the case for GCSEs).

Write phrases in their full form on first appearance:

Heads of Department (not HoDs)

Independent Schools Council (not ISC)

Use the short version from then on.

There is no need to include the initials of an institution or organisation if it is not referred to again.

If the short version is more familiar than the full one like FAQs, GCSEs or BBC, you do not need to write it out.

Do not use sprinklings of abbreviations and acronyms; you will end up irritating rather than informing your reader.

Do not use contractions such as aren’t, can’t, couldn’t, don’t, won’t.

Active Voice

Be direct. Use the active voice.

Ampersands

Should be used when they are part of the name of a company as it appears on the Companies House Register.

Capital Letters

DO NOT USE CAPITALS FOR LARGE AMOUNTS OF TEXT. IT IS HARD TO READ AND OVERWHELMING. The general rule is use as few capital letters as possible, if in doubt use lower case unless it looks nonsensical, however certain words or groups of words require them:

A level (not A-level or A Level)

Bursary

the Chapel

Closed Weekends

Daws Hill

Executive Leadership Team

Governing Council

Short Leave/Long Leave

Head of School/ Head of House

Headmistress

Higher Education

House (House spirit, House Captain)

House names (Airlie, Barry)

IGCSES

Locations (LAC, PAC, AMS)

Names of academic subjects (History, English e.g. In History, Charlotte is working well (but Charlotte is an excellent historian…))

PreU

Scholarships and Exhibition Awards

School capitalisation: Wycombe Abbey is a prestigious school…at the heart of the School’s success

Sixth Form

Staff titles (job titles should be written with a bracket)

Summer Term/Autumn Term/Spring Term

Year groups: UIII (Year 7), LIV (Year 8), UIV (Year 9), LV (Year 10), UV (Year 11), LVI (Year 12), UVI (Year 13)

Do not capitalise:

boarding

individual sports (unless it is a subject)

names of extra-curricular clubs (except for those which are recognised schemes, such as The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award [Bronze/Silver/Gold])

prefect

names of meals (breakfast, lunch, tea, and supper)

seasons (summer holidays, the autumn)

skills or topics within subject areas

teacher

university (unless referring to a specific ie. University of Bath)

Email addresses

Write email addresses in full, in lower case and as active links. Do not have any other words in the link. (Email: enquiries@wycombabbey.com)

Grammar

Care should be taken to conform to traditional rules of grammar and in the construction of your sentences and paragraphs. Please give particular attention to the following:

Use of apostrophes:

the girls (more than one, no possession)

the girl’s (belongs to one)

the girls’ (belongs to more than one, plural ending in s)

the girl’s uniforms (belongs to more than one, plural not ending in s)

UIIIs (not UIII’s)

GCSEs (not GCSE’s)

Use of full stops at the end of bullet points — i.e. use them after full sentences but not after incomplete sentences.

Use of commas:

Use commas as an aid to understanding. Too many in one sentence can be confusing.

Do not put commas after question-marks.

Use of dashes:

Use dashes to introduce an explanation, amplification, paraphrase. The dash symbol is different to the hyphen symbol, for a dash, press ‘space hyphen space’ (to get this: –, whereas a hyphen is this: -)

Use of exclamation marks:

Use sparingly. Double or triple should never occur.

Use of hyphens:

There is no firm rule established. Generally though hyphens are used with compound adjectives (e.g. she is a well-organised girl) but not otherwise (e.g. her planner is well organised)).

 

School Specific 

Boarders (not boarding students)

Girls or pupils (not students)

Daughter should be used in correspondence with parents, use girl in other situations

Wycombe Abbey (not Wycombe Abbey School, Wycombe, WAS or W.A.S.)

Sentence Length

Do not use long sentences. Check sentences over 25 words to see if you can split them to make them clearer.

Spelling

Use British English rather than American English.

Take care to use the correct forms of practice (noun)/practise (verb).

Where ‘z’ or ’s’ can be used for verbs use ’s’ (organised not organized).

Where a single or double ’s’ or ’t’ can be used for verbs, use a single ’s’ or ’t’ (focused not focussed).

Pupil Names

Full pupil names should never appear in text published online, instead use first name and year (Lucy, UVI).

Numbers

Generally, write out numbers in full if the number is between one and ten; use digits if it is higher than this.

Spaces

Please put only one space after a full stop.

Words to Avoid

Agenda (unless it is for a meeting)

Deliver (services are delivered – not concepts like improvements or priorities)

Dialogue (we speak to people)

Facilitate (instead, say something specific about how you are helping)

Initiate

Impact (do not use as a verb, only as a noun)

Leverage (unless in the financial sense)

Liaise (use sparingly)

Overarching

Ongoing

Proactive

Streamline

Strengthening (unless it refers to a structure)

Tackling (unless it is lacrosse or some other sport)

Utilise

Work ethic

Wycombe Abbey Words 

Big School (Assembly Hall/ Assembly)

Dining Room (cafeteria/ canteen)

Mufti (casual clothes/ non-uniform)

Seniors (alumnae) (not Wycombe Seniors)