When it comes to prospectus design, the key is to intrigue the reader and make it easy for them to get through, and get the information they are looking for.
Along with just a prospectus design it is always good to think a little bigger, can this become part of your school’s visual brand?
Before we dive in, if you are interested in attending any educational events, checkout our blog post on The Complete List of Education Events 2019 and Beyond (updated October 2019). These types of events are great to fill in gaps of knowledge, share your own research, show of a new product or service that is education related or even present your prospectus.
The next 17 examples of prospectus design will hopefully give you some inspiration and ideas on how you can achieve that, and how you can possibly move away from the typical prospectus design and layout.
Credit to Clever Box
Palmers Green High School Prospectus
Palmers Green High School was a full project including plenty of materials, but we were drawn to the clear and considered prospectus design. They have used both printing techniques and brand colours perfectly to create their school prospectus.
Using die cut print and extra pull outs, they have constructed an easy to use and very clear prospectus, which in our research was severely lacking.
We found plenty of prospectuses jam packed with information, but no clear way to find exactly what you’re looking for. As far as clean and easy to use design, Palmers Green have nailed it.
Credit to Spy Studio
Hackney Forest School
This school is not what you’d expect from a typical school, but it has such a nice visual style we couldn’t leave it out.
The idea is that for many children living in urban areas, getting the experience of the outdoors is very hard to come by, so this initiative was setup to combat that.
Using a brilliantly colourful and loud visual style, you can really feel the idea behind the school. The outdoors can be very messy and although the design isn’t messy by any means, the style brings out what it means to be a child outdoors.
The whole visual style is a great example of how you can connect with your students and give your print work some character and appeal. Obviously this is for younger children, and this style would have to change if it was say, a University, but you should always take into account, who is going to be using it.
Credit to Richard Brooks
Chinthurst School Prospectus
This next example shows how it is not just as easy as connecting with one audience. University prospectuses are meant to connect with a pretty small age range, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. But something like a high school or primary school has a huge age range of students attending.
Chinthurst School does a great job of bringing through its brand and visual style to accommodate for all students. The high end print work and structured design makes it easy to use and very good to look at.
The gold foiling of the logo and title gives the user an instant feeling of class, which when it comes to our kids, we always want the best.
This prospectus design understands that parents will be the sole users and as such, have tried to connect directly with them, rather than the children.
Credit to Heather Gid
Corcoran School Brochures
Now if you are a specific type of school, for example a technology school or an art and design school, surely the idea behind a prospectus is to showcase what you can do, and in doing so attract the right students to succeed.
Corcoran School brochures do exactly that.
The Art and Design School uses its expertise to create a striking visual style to connect with the exact type of students it wants.
Now for someone who wants to take maths or science on as a career, this may be overwhelming, but for a creative (and being a creative myself) this is exactly what you’re looking for.
This is a perfect example of connecting with your reader and being able to stand out.
With so many schools, Universities and colleges around, and with it being easier than ever to move out of the country for education, it’s key that you draw people in from all over the world, with exactly what you can offer them.
Credit to Andrew Townsend
NTU Art & Design Book
The NTU Art & Design Book is another great example like the previous. They use specific language that is unconventional for a normal prospectus.
This encourages creative growth which is vital when doing a creative course.
As you page through the prospectus, everything has a visual style for its specific course, so an architecture course has a big block almost construction like font tied to it. Whereas the fashion course has a beautiful script font on the page.
I love consistency and being uniform when it comes to printed documents like a school prospectus, but NTU have found a way to bend the rules and stretch their prospectus design so it breathes it’s own character into each course on offer.
Credit to Maud
The University of Sydney Prospectus
The University of Sydney had been accused that it was unwilling to move forward and adapt. So they created a new visual language that reflected it’s forward thinking mentality, alongside it’s ability to adapt.
The world is changing dramatically, and very very quickly. Socially, politically and physically.
The new heavily typographic style created powerful messages that ask all the burning world questions and put their ideas and students at the forefront of this.
Creating a pioneering persona gives a potential student the confidence that they could make a difference in this world and that the University of Sydney can facilitate them in doing so.
Credit to Maud
The National Institute of Dramatic Art
NIDA is an institute that strives for mastery and perfection, so a prospectus has to reflect that in its design.
Everything about their prospectus screams beautiful design and a considered approach.
The binding uses a rubber band with a die cut holder. This type of die cutting could be expensive, but the end result gives you something like no one else has, and could win over plenty of people on the presentation alone.
NIDA also have some more simple course prospectuses that are just as good to look at. The photography in black and white and bright colours contrast brilliantly, to draw you into the information.
It’s a great example of standing by your values. If perfection is your thing, make perfection breathe through your prospectus and everything else you do as well.
Credit to Mytton Williams
St Mary’s University Twickenham Prospectus
St Mary’s have used their strapline “Where Next” to point the way for the visual direction. Literally they have used arrow shapes to reinforce their values.
They have also used some pretty direct photography, students working, learning and smiling, that may seem pretty obvious to do, you don’t want photos of unhappy students. But they want to come across as friendly and good humoured so this relaxed photography of happy smiling students goes a long way to helping put these values across.
Along with the above they have added a simple gold foiling onto the strapline, on the front covers of their prospectus. This may seem a trivial touch, and possibly very expensive, but it gives that feeling of success, achievement, and standard, that could be the final push for potential students.
Credit to Bond Agency
University of the Arts Helsinki
This example is yet another prospectus for an art and design school, but with their ability to use their specific skills they can really bring home what they do.
The hugely creative design in this prospectus really speaks to creatives and young budding students wanting to make their mark on the industry. Using this creativity, the prospectus can really convince the students that the school has the facilities and the drive to put them in that position.
We feel a lot of other prospectuses lack this creativity to really engage students. Not only students in the art and design sector. Quickly, off the top of our head, you could use beautiful printing techniques to create a space like feel for scientists, or use a math problem to intrigue mathematical or technological students.
Credit to Jotta Studio
Falmouth University Prospectus
Falmouth University have combined both their history of Falmouth and the University, along with the rising status it has to create a beautiful prospectus.
They offer a whole host of courses, so they use a consistent approach to how to represent each course while still creatively and beautifully putting across all of the required information.
We have shown a lot of creatively fueled prospectuses, but this example is a great way to show how a consistent approach in design and education branding can make it easy and exciting to use a prospectus.
Credit to University of York
University of York Prospectus
The University of York have delved into design trends with the cover of their prospectus for 2020. They’ve used a distinctive illustration they really stand out from the crowd.
Unfortunately after that, we personally feel it becomes a little disjointed, there is a lot of big bold text and bright colours and it’s hard to concentrate on anything at all. Never mind the specific set of courses you are looking for.
Using illustration has massively came into trend in both print design and web design. This is by no means is a bad thing if this is something you want to use on a prospectus. Typically, your prospectus will only be around for a year, so if this trend goes out of fashion don’t worry.
Just make sure you don’t get stuck with a trend year after year that has moved on.
Credit to University of Winnipeg
The University of Winnipeg
This example shows how you may not have a speciality in arts or technology, but you can design a prospectus that covers all of your bases, and still looks great.
Using icons and infographics they make looking at stats more exciting. They’ve used more than just text. By partnering this with a consistent and clear visual style, and typography rules, you have a very structured and easy to read prospectus.
To us this is key, you have really go to town on the design, but if it isn’t easy to read for the potential student or parent, then you have already lost the battle.
Credit to Yale
Yale is a huge university in the USA, and you wouldn’t think it really needs to do any recruiting, but they still have a prospectus.
The incredibly simple cover almost has an attitude problem.
Essentially the logo and a single statement at the bottom of the cover that says “Make your undergraduate education count.”
It reflects the clout that Yale has, and the ability to make one sole statement.
Now I wouldn’t suggest that a new or upcoming University do something similar, as it could really backfire. But it is intriguing that they don’t feel they need to bring some happy faces in, and are happy to go with a simple standalone message on their cover.
Credit to UAL
UAL Online Prospectus
Now this example is something I am surprised we have not seen more of. This is an online prospectus, it has a video that explains about the UAL and it’s 6 unique Colleges.
A lot of examples we found were online PDF’s and had not quite yet transitioned to a fully online prospectus but I feel with the digital generation taking its hold, things like online prospectuses and videos will become more and more popular.
Not to sound like an old-timer but sometimes I hate doing things online. Nothing quite beats an item of printed material and actually going somewhere, but I do like the future and don’t want to be stuck in the past.
To play Devil’s Advocate:
I feel the process of going to school and the choice is very much about human connection and a social experience, you get on with tutors or fellow students and they can inform that decision of going to a particular school.
Be careful not to lose that human connection!
Credit to RISD
The Rhode Island School of Design takes quite a different approach to their prospectus. The only solid course information they’ve included, is on one page at the back of the PDF.
This strange way of slicing up the prospectus actually gives them plenty of pages to put in some great shots of their students getting into their work, and plenty of quotes from visiting artists, students and professors.
They’re selling the place and the community, rather than the course itself.
It all seems to be about the design, and the experience and difference you make there, I think they have captured this well in the prospectus, and as a plus, the imagery and typography look great.
Maybe it’s worth thinking about a different approach to the usual, couple of pages about the school, a couple of pages about the campus or premises, and then delve into a multitude of course pages.
Maybe something similar to the RISD, focus on the experience the students will have, rather than all the hard information.
Credit to Spy Studio
UAL Printed Prospectus
Along with the totally online prospectus a couple of examples up, UAL have done plenty of brilliant printed prospectuses.
This particular example again, really pushing on the fact they an Arts School, the covers are exciting and intriguing. The one thing we really like about this design is that it has been brought right through into the students shows.
The same visual style bookmarks everything done in that year which is consistent and refreshing to see. Don’t be afraid to bulk up your prospectus project to something a little more extensive, there’s no need for it to be a one off design, create a visual style and run with it.
Credit to Manchester Metropolitan University
Manchester Met University Prospectuses
So along with a great looking prospectus, you can really bring a visual brand through. Manchester Met University have done this cleverly.
The MMU have created a separate prospectus for each subject and course and have created matching covers for all, the typography changes but the bright colour schemes and typography based titles stay.
This is another great example of how you can create a brand style that could potentially go throughout your school or University brand. This will also ensure consistency and a visual style you can lean on through all the visual materials.
Conclusion: School Prospectus Design That Performs
All the examples above have their own merit and I hope they have given you some good ideas about how you could set up your own prospectus design.
But make sure that you keep true to the purpose of the prospectus:
It needs to show important information about courses and the experience a potential student or child will have at a particular school.
So make it look as good as possible, but also make it easy to navigate and get the information needed.
How does your school prospectus perform for you? Let us know in the comments below.