KAPPA IV, a public middle school in Harlem, came to SVA with a dire problem: if they can't differentiate themselves from the competition soon they run the risk of being shut down due to lack of funding. Our task was to discover what makes KAPPA IV the best place to go to middle school in the Harlem area, and we did this through conducting interviews with students, teachers, and parents, and also thorough observations of the classrooms.
After comparing KAPPA with the competition, we determined KAPPA to be an experience-based school vs a results, test-driven school.
Their colors, blue and yellow were also overused in the category, and KAPPA was rated the lowest by students and teachers.
We set some goals for ourselves to accomplish through this process. One of the main goals was taking KAPPA from an answer-based school to a question-based. We want the students to feel like the path to the answer is more important than the answer itself, not the other way around.
During class observation we found a diverse group of students speaking languages ranging from Chinese to Spanish to German. Every student already had a life story to tell. Some students didn't have enough money to have dinner. Some students couldn't have their pictures taken for protective legal reasons. They all had so much energy in the classroom that it was difficult for the teachers to corral them to learn math or English. We decided that the many perspectives of the students is the defining mark for the school. If you go to KAPPA IV, you will receive not only an education in the courses from teachers, but you will also be learning from your fellow students in ways that few places can offer.
Now, the central idea behind KAPPA IV is PERSPECTIVE.
One of the inspirations for this Perspective concept was the ancient story of the blind men and the elephant. There once lived 4 blind men in a small town and one day a group of people from a far away place brought an elephant. Since they had never seen one before, they decided to invistigate. One of the blind men touched the trunk, thought it was a snake, and thought the elephant was very dangerous. Another touched the side, felt a wall, and thought the elephant very tame. Another touched the tail, thought it was a rope, and didn't think the elephant was very impressive at all. It wasn't until all men were able to put their different perspectives together were they able to fully comprehend the elephant. This is the type of perspective sharing we want to instill at KAPPA.
The new Kappa Mission Statement
There are three main audiences to focus on: Students, Teachers, and Parents.
Our new logo design highlights the different perspectives of the students by using foldable, solid shapes. The owl icon is fierce and friendly and is easily drawn by students.
The logo also functions well when outlined in black and white.
We created an entire alphabet based off the logo's typography.
Even the business card is meant to be viewed at different angles and perspectives.
These cards show an old way to shift people's perspectives in a modern design.
The brochure is meant to be viewed at two different perspectives when folded. It is up to the students to make sense of the chaos.
The newsletter is constantly reinvented by the students. They are able to put up their own news and create KAPPA's story.
The KAPPA passport tracks the students' progress apart from the report card. It is a stamp book from their classes that collects their moments of questioning and when they've added another perspective to the class.
Parents and teachers at KAPPA need a better way to communicate student success. Mostly parents dread getting called by teachers, but the "Hoot" seeks to change this. Every time a student does something great in class the teacher sends out a Hoot to the parents phone, encouraging the parent to ask their child what they did at school today.
The KAPPA environment shows the new perspectives the students bring to class. The stairway shows "Hello" coming up the stairs and "Adios" going down.
The walls are transformed from a dull yellow to a bright white with the new color palette as accents. The logo can easily be applied with electrical tape to the walls, eliminating the need for expensive vinyl.
The icon can be easily applied with a stencil and spray paint.