Stevenson School

Dancing in Step with Stevenson School

One of our most complementary client relationships is with Stevenson School, a coeducational private boarding and day school on California’s Monterey Peninsula. We first started working with Stevenson in 2017, and our partnership has deepened and evolved since then. We help anticipate the school’s needs, understand the nuances that contribute to each of Stevenson’s projects and–like any great pair of dancers–produce beautiful work together.

  • Advertising
  • Outreach Materials
  • Fundraising Materials
Where the future of our world comes to rehearse

Stevenson School has been dedicated to nurturing the next generation since its founding in the 1950s. Because of its long history, the school has a diverse community of current students, older alumni from the school’s days as a boys-only school, parents of young children and teenagers, young adult alumni just launching their careers and the local Monterey Bay community. Having such a diverse array of stakeholders keeps our work with Stevenson fresh and exciting. Still, the depth of our relationship enables us to meet each of their distinct needs while maintaining a cohesive brand identity.

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Defining the Stevenson Experience

Stevenson’s tagline, “Where you belong,” inspired this series of admissions materials that convey the school's sense of wonder and down-to-earth culture. We worked with Admissions to create both digital and physical promotional items that would help parents far and wide envision their children thriving at the school, whether as boarding students or day-only pupils. The materials distilled Stevenson’s uniqueness down to their core values, supported by the high-level data proving their efficacy. This authentic, student-centric suite of materials helped support the Admissions team’s recruitment efforts during a critical fall Admissions season.

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Unity through Collaboration

Multiple internal teams contribute to Stevenson’s admissions and recruitment efforts, and each of these teams has different nuances, individual preferences and goals. Our job was to authentically represent each of their voices while also executing a unified brand and suite of admissions materials. 

We worked with Admissions to incorporate College Counseling and Financial Aid information into warm, celebratory and informative collateral. To keep the materials cohesive, we applied an approach similar to the other admissions materials: prioritize clarity, celebrate achievements and center the stories around families and students. And because we are so familiar with the folks at Stevenson, we helped streamline approvals and the project process by presenting pieces that would also align with other internal stakeholders’ expectations.

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powerpoint presentation deck

We brought all of Stevenson’s offerings together in an agile slide deck with branded graphics, charts and photography. Mix-and-match slides empower the Admissions team to tailor presentations to different audiences, ensuring they only hear the most relevant information. Building such a versatile deck for Admissions also gave the project more longevity for the school, since it can be endlessly updated and rearranged to meet evolving needs.

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Getting Prospective Students on the Map

Once students are accepted to the school but not yet enrolled, they are invited to Looking Forward Days with their families to get a taste of the Stevenson experience in person. Admissions wanted to keep the focus on the experience but still needed a logistical reference for the day’s details that engaged prospective students. 

We kept this brochure to the basics, with easy-to-find information about the day’s events. And who doesn’t love a map? This rich and inviting map we custom-designed helped prospective students visualize themselves back on campus once they returned home, while also serving the utilitarian purpose of helping them know where to go.

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Bringing Philanthropic Priorities to Life

We also support Stevenson’s Advancement team in reaching an entirely different audience segment: donors. The school’s Philanthropic Priorities booklet offers donors several concrete ways their financial gifts can make a difference. With student-centric text and careful photography selection, the brochure made it possible for prospective donors to visualize the impacts of their gifts. 

Advancement’s Parent Annual Fund campaign focused on what makes Stevenson extraordinary: its people. With 940 students and faculty, each person at Stevenson represents a unique reason to give to the school. The resulting 7-panel accordion brochure featured five student and faculty stories and the impact of donor gifts on their lives at Stevenson. This beautifully designed direct mail piece supported a larger digital campaign and drove donations leading up to the year-end giving season.

Annual Fund brochure
The Pirate is in the Details

To inspire prospective donors to make their own gifts, we worked with Stevenson to design a tri-fold brochure featuring existing donors and their reasons for donating to the school. Highlighting relatable, inspiring stories from like-minded Stevenson supporters gave recipients a human point of connection to the school in a time when everything was virtual during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The details matter in a piece like this–making sure the names and details are perfect, quotes are accurate and the right photographs are chosen. Stevenson prides itself on excellence and attention to detail, so we match them toe-to-toe to ensure everything is Just So on every piece of collateral for every stakeholder.

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The Pirate is in the Details

To inspire prospective donors to make their own gifts, we worked with Stevenson to design a tri-fold brochure featuring existing donors and their reasons for donating to the school. Highlighting relatable, inspiring stories from like-minded Stevenson supporters gave recipients a human point of connection to the school in a time when everything was virtual during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The details matter in a piece like this–making sure the names and details are perfect, quotes are accurate and the right photographs are chosen. Stevenson prides itself on excellence and attention to detail, so we match them toe-to-toe to ensure everything is Just So on every piece of collateral for every stakeholder.

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Driving Engagement through Shared Identity

Stevenson School’s alumni range in age and demographics from recent graduates to those in their 70s and 80s who attended when it was boys-only and even had a different name! Evoking nostalgia is a compelling driver for alumni materials, so we worked closely with the Alumni Relations team to find the look and feel, images and school-specific references that would resonate with alumni both young and old. 

Athletics are a powerful shared experience for many school students. Pirates at Pebble is an important Stevenson alumni event that celebrates and honors athletes from the school’s history, engages alumni and promotes giving. Carefully selected photographs representing Stevenson athletics across different eras speak to a varied audience yet maintain an elegant and welcoming look and feel. We combined them on a postcard with instantly recognizable field turf and white lettering, bringing back those school sports team memories for recipients.

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Reunion eblasts

Modern, Yet Traditional

For reunion weekend, Stevenson wanted fresh and engaging event materials that appealed to recent graduates but kept the look and feel familiar for older alums. To lean the branding a little more traditional, the Reunion Weekend digital and print campaign used more of the distinguished dark greens in the Stevenson color palette. To reach the younger audience, we kept the branding simple with the use of clean typography and color palettes, overlay treatments and to-the-point text and buttons. Care was taken to select photographs that evoke nostalgia for alumni of all ages, like making sure campus photos included older, recognizable buildings.

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Hall of Fame Hat Trick

Stevenson’s Athletics Hall of Fame reunion event needed a program to meet the triple purposes of honoring Hall of Fame inductees, connecting audience members to their own sports memories and subtly encouraging alumni donations. Our work with various Stevenson teams helps us stay nimble and responsive when a campaign has multiple goals.

To connect the honored athletes’ experiences back to the participants’ own, the program paired bios with direct quotes about what made each honoree’s Stevenson athletics journey special. This approach reinforced alumni engagement with the school’s athletic programs and also touched on their nostalgia–both driving forces that encouraged donations from attendees.

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Taking it Back to Lower & Middle School

Following Stevenson’s rebrand in 2017, the Lower & Middle School felt the sophistication and simplicity of the brand were not as approachable for their younger students and more relaxed environment. We collaborated with them to develop a “sub-brand” that was still recognizable as part of the Stevenson identity. We felt like we were back in grade school ourselves, getting to play with a more youthful interpretation of a brand identity we already knew inside and out.

Siblings, But Not Twins

We extended the Stevenson brand for the Lower & Middle School by expanding the color palette to include livelier colors, like a brighter green and an orange. Overlapping grid treatments and more graphic elements created a more relaxed look and feel and brought in universally recognizable grade school imagery. Photography is carefully selected to demonstrate the younger grades' light, bright, fun and warm personalities. The resulting sub-branding resonates more with the Lower & Middle School audience, while still maintaining its own personality as a Stevenson “little sibling.”

Lower Middle brand guide
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Striking a Pose with Poise

Photo selection is particularly important for Lower and Middle School materials, since images that show students joyfully engaged in learning convey the core of the school’s character. The red carpet photo on the front of the Lower & Middle School admissions tri-fold is a great example of this. It embodies everything that differentiates them from the older students: a passion for learning and creativity, a little more educational play and plenty of confidence. The juxtaposition of such a fun, life-filled image with the grid treatment on the pamphlet reverse strikes the visual balance between individuality and play within the guideline of excellence.

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Making Waves in Monterey Bay

The depth of our relationship with Stevenson has allowed us to step in quickly wherever we’re needed, especially with last-minute or one-off projects we take on like designing advertisements and ad campaigns. When the Stevenson team is low on bandwidth, they know we can jump right into an assignment with just the basics. We helped the school reach the local Monterey Bay community through their summer camp print advertisement, which used the lighter hues in the brand color palette and iconic summer camp images to promote the school’s summer offerings.

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School by the Sea

We also designed a series of airport advertisements to reach prospective families. These led with photographs of students joyfully engaged in learning and campus life and also highlighted the unique beauty of the Monterey Bay area and campus–a bonus for jetsetter parents who like to travel. We kept the look and feel clean, sophisticated and direct, catching the attention of travelers on their way through the Monterey Regional Airport.

A Fresh Take on Preview Day

Preview Day at Stevenson is an open house opportunity for prospective families and students to visit the school, hear from faculty and staff and tour the facilities. To reach more prospective families, we worked with Stevenson on retargeting their promotion and designed a full digital ad campaign to drive open house attendance. We designed a comprehensive digital and print suite with the warmest, most inviting colors of the Stevenson palette and images of engaged students that left viewers wanting to learn more. With the combination of pay-per-click Google ads, a robust email campaign and print ads, Stevenson saw an increase in Preview Day attendance and application submissions.

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Investing in Creative Partnership

Our friendship with Stevenson is the perfect example of our focus on cultivating client relationships in personal ways that meet each client’s individual needs, personality and structure. 

Even though we’ve worked with Stevenson for more than a decade years, we know there’s still more creative partnership to come. We’ve seen the school and its goals evolve, and we’ve stayed agile to support them when needs shift. We can’t wait to see what we create together in the next decade. 

Working with Waltz Creative has been a fantastic experience. The team is phenomenal—highly professional, responsive, and always delivers outstanding work. From rebranding our camp and designing admissions ads to creating holiday cards and social media graphics, they have helped us produce high-quality content across all mediums. Their ability to meet deadlines and exceed our expectations has been instrumental in achieving our communications goals and supporting various departments at Stevenson School. Without their expertise and dedication, it would have been challenging to accomplish everything we have this past year."

Marisa Knowles

Digital Communications Manager