National Institute of Teaching
What we did
Digital transformation
Brand strategy
New NIOT Hero

The National Institute of Teaching is a new organisation, and the first of its kind in England. It’s a school-led organisation, set up to benefit children and young people by continuing to drive up teaching quality. It does this by conducting research, which informs the design and delivery of its professional development programmes.

They needed a website that allowed prospective and current teachers and leaders to discover and sign up for the programmes on offer. And they needed this website fast.

We quickly built a landing page so that the new organisation had an online presence and a way to gather interest while work on the main website was underway.

Oh, and they also needed a brand identity created from scratch.

“I have really appreciated your constant positive solution-focused attitude when we were up against it. I have really felt part of your team and that is no mean feat. And the result is great! Everyone here is so proud of the site. Thank you, thank you.”
– Harriet Barclay, National Institute of Teaching

The Results

A flexible, future-friendly brand identity

Co-created with Clearleft, the National Institute of Teaching now has brand guidelines that can adapt to future scenarios.

Rapid creation, collaboration and consensus

Even within the tight constraints of a looming deadline, everyone’s voice was heard in the design process.

An invaluable destination for teachers

Whether a prospective teacher, or an education leader, the new website enables teachers to improve their practice and support the development of others.

The Full Story

How do you take a pragmatic approach when timelines are tight?

There was a small window between the National Institute of Teaching being formed, and their development programme start dates. The website needed to be up and running as soon as possible.

There were two parallel streams of work: developing the website, and creating a brand identity. In an ideal world we’d do research with end users – teachers in this case – to make sure we were designing and building the right thing.

But this project had a tight deadline, and work had to start on building the site straight away. Fortunately, we could lean on the expertise of the client. Because this was a consortium of education specialists, they understood what teachers needed. Their expertise allowed us to start designing their website with confidence.

How do you get consensus on a brand identity when time is of the essence?

Unlike the technical aspects of developing a website, branding is something that everyone has an opinion on. Those opinions need to be heard, but too many cooks would stop this broth shipping on time.

We couldn’t work in isolation on the brand. The client has to like it – after all, they’re the ones who have to live with it. At the same time, we couldn’t iterate back and forth forever. The clock was ticking.

Kick-starting with a brand workshop, and carrying out regular design reviews, we rapidly evolved the brand direction while making sure that everyone had an opportunity to input.

Snapshot taken from a client workshop showing the results of a gut test, post-it notes outlining the top three values and notes surrounding the 'what' 'why' and 'how' of the brand

How do you ensure a brand is flexible enough to still work in unforeseen situations?

The new brand identity needed to be inclusive, trustworthy and credible. And the logo and colour palette needed to reflect a traditional and modern feel.

An annotated version of the new logo with written notes explaining the creative through process behind each section
The architectural bones of the logo

Perhaps most importantly of all, the branding couldn’t be too rigid. While we were focused on the branding for the website, it would also need to adapt to future situations. How would it work in print? How would it work on the side of a building? How could the logo evolve as the organisation grows and develops?

The result was a brand identity that satisfied the immediate use case of the new website while avoiding any assumptions about where it might end up over time.

Building long-serving foundations

Stepping back and seeing the big picture, it’s remarkable how much we delivered in such a short space of time. Through a process of close collaboration and ruthless prioritisation, we were able to focus on delivering the functionality that was most needed without compromising on quality.

Screengrabs of the live homepage and programmes page
Realising the vision

Not only does a fully functional website exist where before there was nothing, the National Institute of Teaching also has a brand identity that will serve them well into the future.

More work