We've worked with Chatham Hall girls school in Chatham, VA, long enough to have redesigned their website three times. The last redesign coming two years ago. Between projects, we've continued our relationship with them through site maintenance.
But this summer, they came to us with something completely different.
Robert Ankrom, the school's Director of Communications, called us to see if we could work with them on a very ambitious print project. They knew that our demonstrated understanding of their audience would extend beyond the web.
So back in August, we sat down with a couple folks from Chatham to discuss the project. They knew that they wanted it to be something completely different than a standard glossy brochure with familiar photography. More specifically, they knew that they wanted the piece to have an "insider's" feel to it, almost like a guidebook.
We hit on the idea of creating a journal that appeared to be built over time by a tightly knit group of girls at the school. The girls at the school fell in love with the idea as soon as Robert told them a little about it, which told us we were on the right path. At the same time it increased the pressure to finish strong and get it right.
Here at our office, we got busy creating a cast of 5 girls with talents and attributes similar to the actual students at Chatham. We also began working on a storyline that would incorporate all five in believable ways. Back in Chatham, Robert handed out cameras to several girls around the school and told them to go wild. He also selected the 5 girls who would be the faces of the characters we were creating.
All of the girls at Chatham who took part in this process were unbelievably generous with their time and talents. They contributed pictures, artwork, writings and valuable feedback throughout the process.
A few of the ladies in our office and a couple of the guys' wives contributed their handwriting to the piece. Each one was assigned a character and assumed the "voice" of the girl they were writing for. Whenever the storyline called for comments on a page, these ladies played the part.
In the end, Brian, Jeff and Glenn compiled all of it – the photographs, the writing, the art, and the comments – into a masterful piece that truly looks like a composition book turned journal.
Our first copies arrived from the printer just before Thanksgiving and the feedback has been overwhelming from the folks at Chatham. The students came back from their break today and we're pretty sure we could hear the squeals from two and a half hours away.
I've inserted images of a few spreads from the piece here, but stay tuned for a more in-depth video exploration of the piece after the holidays. We'll let you know when it's ready.