Promoting Public Schools

Vomela Graphics teams up with Minnesota Public Schools to get a message across.

Big Picture

St. Paul Public Schools in Minnesota wanted a way to promote to parents the advantages of sending their children to public school over private school. Suzanne Yeager, executive director of communications for the school system, came up with the idea to create a branding program for the school system itself.

The school-branding campaign revolved around four key school brand pillars that would point up what advantages St. Paul public schools held over private-school education: big city advantage; multi-cultural energy; responsibility; and commitment to individual potential. The messages were incorporated into news releases, a website, and public meetings.

In addition, Yeager wanted the messages integrated into rolling billboards on six of the school system's trucks, which were used in the school system for pick up and delivery of supplies to schools within the school system.

Pixidis, a small local marketing firm in Minneapolis, designed the graphics in Adobe Photoshop using provided school logos and images photographed by InsideOut Studios in Eden Prairie. Rick Peters, from InsideOut, used a Phase One H-20 digital back on a Hasselblad camera with a 120- and 250-mm lens to take the photos, and touched up the final files using Adobe Photoshop.

From there, the files were delivered to Vomela Graphics, located in St. Paul. Vomela used its 3M Scotchprint Printer 2000 to image onto 1000 sq ft of 3M Controltac Plus Conformable Graphics Film and added 3M Scotchcal Luster Overlaminate Film. The output and installation were part of a 3M Community Affairs Donation Project; the 3M Foundation paid for the materials, printing, and installation of the graphics.

Printing and laminating took approximately three days working intermittently within the company's day-to-day work schedule. In the initial "trial run," three trucks were wrapped in 2004; due to an overwhelming response, three more were produced in 2005. The graphics remain on the trucks today.

The St. Paul Public School campaign was kick-started by a branding seminar that Yeager attended: "Like most people, when I thought of brands, I thought of company logos--like the Nike 'Swoosh' or IBM's 'Big Blue,' or the Quaker Oats guy," says Yeager. "It hadn't really occurred to me that there's so much more to branding and that brands have implications for non-profits, like public schools, too." "

St. Paul (MN) Public Schools

The Players
Creative agency: Pixidis (
Photography: InsideOut Studios (
Print provider, installer: Vomela Graphics (

Tools & Supplies
3M Scotchprint Printer 2000, 3M Controltac Plus Conformable Graphics Film, 3M Scotchcal Luster Overlaminate Film.

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