More than a school

Mount St Mary's More than a school

Mount St Mary’s College is a vibrant co-educational boarding and day school, welcoming and catering for the needs of children aged 11-18. Founded in 1842, the College is set in beautiful surroundings on the Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and South Yorkshire borders. Only a few miles away is Barlborough Hall School, the Preparatory School to Mount St Mary’s for children aged 3-11.

Absolute were approached by the Marketing team at the school, to design a prospectus which would challenge some misconceptions about the relationship between the College and its preparatory school. The aim was to highlight that the two were in fact one large school, and they offered a cohesive education from 3yrs-18yrs.


  • Education



  • Brand Campaign
Mount St Mary's - the concertina brochure has a card ribbon running through it

Providing connections

At the core of the concept was ’a seamless eduction’,  so we started by designing a concertina style prospectus that had a card ribbon running all the way through it, to pull it all together. When folded out the prospectus reads in chronological order, from the Preparatory School through to the College, dispelling any myths that the two schools aren’t connected. We wanted a simple, clean design so as not to overcomplicate the message the College wanted to portray.

A clean and simple message to not over-complicate the message of the prospectus
A set of images were photographed to sit cleverly alongside the ribbon
The brochure was printed on a nice, high quality stock

Focus on unity

We then briefed our photographer to produce a set of images using children of all ages from the college interacting with the ribbon in a visually clever way. Using a detailed shot list, these images were art directed to convey an emotive, natural and warm style, whilst promoting all the positive aspects of the College. This proved invaluable to the design of the prospectus and really brought it to life.

The photography was used in ways to bring the brochure to life
As the brochure would also be used as a direct mail piece, a bespoke branded envelope was designed
An example of the natural, emotive photography style used for the brochure

Sending the message

In the brief it was noted that a lot of the prospectuses were directly mailed out to prospective parents, so first impressions were key. We designed a bespoke branded envelope, and inside along with the prospectus, we designed a fold out poster which showcased the values of the school in the shape of the Jesuit tree, which is at the heart of the ethos at Mount St.Mary’s.

Titles were printed using gold foil in the brochure to make it stand out
Children of all ages from the college were used in the photography
A close up of the brochure showing typography and paper stock
We designed a fold out poster to be included as part of the direct mail piece which showcased the values of the school

Smart communication

Absolute designed and developed the schools website a couple of years back (before the responsive revolution) and it was noted that parents on the go might need to access key information from their mobile/tablet, so after the prospectus project was complete, the school asked us to develop an app for current parents. We set to work on pulling together key information which parents needed to know, whether that be upcoming events, news, latest images and also the ability to receive messages from the school. This meant that the school could be in constant contact with the parents should they ever need to get an urgent message out.

Absolute developed an app for the school to allow them to get urgent notifications out to parents of current pupils