Durham, North Carolina

Durham Academy

Helping an independent school convey its mission. Durham Academy is an independent pre-K through 12th-grade school in North Carolina. We’ve worked with them on a variety of initiatives over the years, from the creation of their logo to the development of recruitment materials — and even the design of the basketball court.

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In every case, they’ve encouraged us to try unusual approaches to demonstrate how the school is unique and imaginative. That way of thinking is quite rare within the world of independent schools, and we admire them for not being afraid to show how they are different.

Design of DA’s viewbook. Most schools feature page after of concerned teachers looking over the shoulders of hardworking, earnest students. We thought it would be more interesting (and informative) to let students, teachers, and alums provide little known facts about the school and their experiences. The resulting multipurpose book was designed to be used for a number of years and provide a more personalized snapshot of Durham Academy to prospective students, their families, and the community at large.

The logo, applied to a sundial clock tower
The “BIG” brochure is an oversized fundraising piece where the pop-up letters represent three new buildings to be funded. Turning each page is an adventure, and the narrative is short, sweet, and compelling.

This was created to be a magic document, using the spell of communication design to compel donors to write big checks. (Just kidding. But the school did hit its fundraising goal months ahead of schedule.) Sometimes bigger really is better.

The “DA” mark works in all sizes

Cover of the alumni magazine, outlining the schools’ strategic plan

Alexander Isley
Angela Chen

Georgann Eubanks
Alexander Isley

The Herb Lubalin Study Center
of Design and Typography

Special Collections Research Center
NC State University Libraries