Providing a Harlem Middle School with an Identity

 A four month Honors Program client project.


KAPPA IV is a public middle school in Harlem. Though once a part of a consortium of other KAPPA schools following a similar method of teaching, the school now stands alone as a separate entity. And while KAPPA IV's dedicated faculty and staff maintain an encouraging environment for their students, increased competition has been steering potential students to neighboring schools. Our challenge was to establish a way to differentiate KAPPA IV in order to boost the school’s appeal and incite more applications.


The team began by exploring what makes KAPPA IV unique. We considered the original ethos of the KAPPA school consortium and the origins of this particular middle school, visited the school to experience the culture firsthand and interviewed faculty and students to understand their perspective of KAPPA IV. We also examined the meaning and evolution of education.


At the core of KAPPA IV is a diverse student body and staff with an undeniably unique set of individual outlooks. Our strategy was inspired by this notion and guided by one of the founding tenements of the school–the Socratic Method, a way of thinking which encourages questioning. It celebrates the idea of curiosity–present in all of us as humans, especially as children while learning. Curiosity, both about the world students read of in textbooks and about the people and places they interact with everyday, exposes the many different perspectives in our world. At KAPPA, instead of conforming to one way of learning or one way of thinking, the school can embrace the multiple perspectives it has throughout its halls to promote a culture of inquiry.

Along with this new positioning, we gave the school a new visual identity expressed in many ways–including thought-provoking promotional materials, and in-classroom tools that promote viewing problems through different perspectives.


Visual Identity Elements
A new logo and typeface designed in a geometric way to reflect the notion of multiple perspectives.



KAPPA Cards–promotional cards to be placed around the community and present at school fairs. They are designed with the intent to entice viewers to look at the world in a new and different way.

The KAPPA cube is a supplementary classroom tool that takes inspiration from Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats. It helps remind or guide teachers and students to switch states of mind and approach a classroom topic through another "thinking hat."





The KAPPA passport is a unique way to track progress–allowing teachers to recognize a student’s usage of critical thinking through multiple perspectives in a tangible way.


A new KAPPA school environment infuses the school halls with elements of the new identity–angles, patterns and color–to form a vibrant and fresh background in which students, teachers and staff can interact and learn.


Reese Vaccarezza, Marissa Betley, Allison Braund, Alice Li, Razzie Martinez, Lana Molodtsova, Michi Ohira, Jennifer Passas,  Maria Silva Mora


Dr. Tom Guarriello, Mark Kingsley, Bret Sandford-Chung