Is your school prospectus design getting families across the line to enrol at your school, or is it just another brochure that is filled with details of your college’s programs?
We may be tempted to keep it safe and stick with what we have always done, but in order to turn your prospectus into a heavy lifting marketing machine, we need to have some out-of-the-box thinking and creatively answer the biggest questions that our prospective families have … and that involves much more than just words to get the job done.
Today’s article is an all-in-one guide to everything you need to know to put together an outstanding school prospectus design from the content and creative concept through to the distribution. But before we get started, let us take a look at what an outstanding prospectus should do in the first place. What are we looking to achieve?
What should your school prospectus achieve?
To me, a great school prospectus is a statement piece that pulls together what families have heard on school tours or read about on your website into concise stand out statements that really draw out why a family should choose your school.
A great prospectus will lift the perception that people have about your college, while also answering the big practical questions families ask before they can take the next step in the enrolment process. Finally, your prospectus should inspire families to take action, be it to book a school tour or submit their application.
What content should I include?
Now that we know our content should be succinct, what content should we be including? Try to avoid the temptation to write about every program your college has to offer and think about the content that will highlight your point of difference and evoke a sense of awe and action. We recommend considering the following content:
- A message from the Principal/Educational leadership that clearly defines the heart of who you are as a college.
- Parent and student testimonials – these can be spread throughout the prospectus or dedicated to a specific section. Remember to include the names and photographs of families. Real testimonials from real families will add authenticity to what you are communicating.
- Frequently asked questions you receive from parents on school tours. Answering these questions in a FAQ section will help you to address the questions that are most likely to be on the top of every prospective parent’s mind.
- Details on distinguishing programs available to students in entry year levels such as Kindy, Prep and Year 7.
We will also need to have some practical information that answers the questions of whether attending your college is even feasible for the family. Parents will be looking for information on:
- College fees and any concessions that are available.
- Location and bus service information – think of a creative way to do this with a map or visual that quickly orientates families to where you are and where your bus services run.
- Enrolment procedures and how to enrol in your college.
It can be a challenge to keep a prospectus current with variables such as school fees and bus routes that keep on changing. I recommend designing a core prospectus with largely unchanging information and having the details that change regularly as an additional insert that can easily be printed separately.
How do I plan my design?
While we may love to think that our prospectus is read from cover to cover by every family that receives it, the unfortunate truth is that most people will only spend 2-3 minutes skimming its contents. Because of this, we need to learn to use more than just words to communicate our message. Our design should have succinct copy, standout phrases and an eye-catching design that visually communicates our message.
We recommend working with a professional graphic designer to make sure that your branding is consistently represented and that the font, spacing, images and colours are all professionally maximised.
In my opinion, less is more when it comes to prospectus design. That means that we cut down the number of pages, reduce the copy for each page and maximise the visual elements. We want to communicate through the strategic use of images and use icons and illustrations where possible.
When it comes to picking which photographs you will use, I recommend using photos of students doing real activities. Your graphic designer will help you to achieve a balance between a professional finish and authenticity caught in real unstaged moments.
Design your prospectus so that it can be used for both online and offline distribution. You may like to use interactive elements such as a QR code for the print version and clickable links to tour bookings and application pages on your website for the online version.
How should we make our prospectus available?
A print version of the prospectus should be ready for:
- Use at open events
- Handing out at school tours
- Use at exhibition stalls and promotional stands
An online version can be used to build your email database and made available as a downloadable resource in exchange for parents email and phone number.
Ensuring all these elements work together for your school prospectus will help you to have a standout design that can be used across all your marketing activities.