The New Brand: From Here to Everywhere

For a brand new Prize to have this much impact is amazing, and so much of that is down to the brand.

Vikas Pota

Founder & CEO, World's Best School Prizes

This is our entry to the DBA Design Effectiveness Awards for the World’s Best School Prizes.


World's Best School Prizes ripple logo and child writing at desk

A new brand for a new prize
The World’s Best School Prizes Schools, launched in 2021, believes great schools can achieve great things for their pupils which, in turn, has a positive effect on society.

With this Prize there are five winners with each category linked to the UN sustainability goals of Community Collaboration, Environmental Action, Innovation, Overcoming Adversity and Supporting Healthy Lives. By linking to the UN sustainability goals the Prizes are not only celebrating excellence but these goals had proven to be a huge support to schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Around the world there are many awards and prizes for teachers. The World’s Best School Prizes is different as it celebrates the whole school. The winners of each category receive $50,000. Beyond the prize money, the Prizes are an opportunity for schools to learn and improve based on the successes of the best.

A confident start
T4 Education, who created and run the Prizes, is a start-up with a small team. To help them be successful, the new brand needed to have instant impact and credibility. We all know the time and effort it takes to enter prizes so our design work had to help motivate people to apply: we wanted people to feel this was a prize for them and their school. In order to attract entries from schools all over the world, the Prizes are free to enter. Other prizes are also free to enter but they are mostly run by philanthropic foundations of extremely wealthy individuals with deep marketing budgets. So a clear business objective for our brand work was to help attract and retain sponsors meaning we had to establish an emotional connection to the Prizes for them too.

The ripple of change
Our design insight is all about the ripple effect a strong school can have on society, not only for their pupils going out into the world, but for other schools as well. Our branding celebrates this idea, rippling out across the world. Based on our work, Vikas Pota, the Prizes’ Founder & CEO, now says to audiences:

“When schools thrive, the impact they make ripples out into society – making whole communities stronger.”

A tidal wave of impact
The new brand is bold and stands clear from other education prizes. From a standing start the impact was instant and dramatic: • In 2022, the first year of the awards, they had 1,000 entries from 110 countries • In 2023, the second year of the awards, this has doubled to 2,000 entries. • Headline sponsors Accenture, American Express and Fundação Lemann have committed to longterm support. • The Philippines government have adopted the best practice of one of their winning schools and rolled it out across all schools in the country, influencing 1.2 million learners.

Figure 1 
The World’s Best School Prizes logos


World's Best School Prizes 6 logos


T4 Education’s research prior to launching the Prizes found that post-pandemic teachers were desperate to share and celebrate best practice that could help them in their work.

The Prizes’ audience of educators is sophisticated and truly global and there are already some longestablished and high-profile prizes, such as:

The Yidan Prize for leaders in academia and development, $2 million prize, 2 winners

The Global Teacher Prize for individual teachers, $1 million prize, 1 winner

Klaus J. Jacobs Awards for research and best practice, $600,000 prize, 3 winners

The larger amounts of money make these other prizes attractive for people to apply plus they’re all awarded to individuals. As our Prizes’ name suggests, these awards are for schools and their collective brilliance.

And beyond these three main rivals there are many other prizes including TES Awards, Pearson National Teaching Awards, The Wise Awards and The Audacious Awards. They’re all competing for teacher’s time and energy to enter.

To overcome these differences, part our brief was to make the World’s Best School Prizes just as attractive and noteworthy as these more established Prizes.

Figure 2 
Competitor context

World's Best School Prizes rebrand competitor context


The business objectives
There were 5 clear business objectives for our work:

1. Give the team confidence to successfully launch the brand through a compelling story and inspiring design

2. Attract at least 2,500 registrations of interest and 1,000 entries by cutting through the noise of a very crowded market with instant impact and credibility

3. Attract and retain sponsors to support the growth and impact of the Prizes

4. Attract and retain employees by creating a sense of pride and affinity with the Prizes

5. Create a movement by capturing the hearts and minds of teachers, pupils, parents and education professionals everywhere.


What we did
From our very first conversations with Vikas and the team we understood their passion and energy for finding and sharing these school success stories. We decided we didn’t want to create just another traditional prize and we knew we had to capture their passion and energy in our design work.

And from our competitor analysis we saw stars were a well worn device used by many prizes. With the brief to cut through the noise, we knew we had to design something different.

So to begin with, we led interviews and workshops with people from USA, South America, Africa and Europe. From this we learnt the Prizes are truly aimed at all schools around the world and not those already with the best resources. We asked, innocently, ‘Well, surely, elite schools will win every category, every year?’ Not so! One example we were given was of a school in India that had been flooded so they moved the school to a boat. A prime candidate for the ‘Overcoming Adversity’ category.

Through these numerous stories, the idea of the ripple emerged as a metaphor for the whole brand: the impact a school has on its pupils, their communities and wider society. This in turn became the core story for the brand and we designed the identity to reflect this.

The new brand story and design was an immediate hit with the team as it summed up their spirit and ethos. It was bright, modern and colourful. It’s full of optimism and the team loved it:

“Wow, just wow!”

“The new identity is a confident expression of our vision to foster stronger schools and stronger societies.”


Through careful crafting of all the design elements we created a range of tools for their new brand, including:

– Writing their core story which is at the heart of their messaging

– Introduced school-focussed imagery overlaid with World Best School Prizes colours to create ownable assets

– Designed typographic pathways to reflect the schools’ journeys

– We designed brand guidelines showing all the basic elements and how they can be used together

– And briefed the small team on how to use the brand to gain maximum impact.

World's Best School Prizes rebranding website design effectiveness awards

Figure 3 
World’s Best School Prizes core story

World's Best School Prizes rebrand core story


Objective 1 results:
Give the team confidence to successfully launch the brand through a clear story and inspiring design.


Vikas Pota, the founder, credits the brand work as one of the driving forces of the success of the Prizes:

“The brand work was crucial in shaping our message – which we reinforced in every bit of media – and in giving us credibility and cut-through in a really crowded market.”

Marin Maurette, Head of Prizes says:

“I love our new branding. It’s allowed us to make an instant impact and reach audiences all over the world.”


Objective 2 results:
To attract at least 2,500 registrations of interest and 1,000 entries by cutting through the noise of a very crowded market with instant impact and credibility.

T4 Education targeted 2,500 registrations in the first year, and actually got 3,500. That means around 1.75m students and 70,000 teachers were aware of and involved with the Prizes. In year 2, target registrations were 3,500 and they’ve increased to 5,000 schools.

Figure 4 
Number of schools registering interest

World's Best School Prizes rebrand design effectiveness chart 1


For any prize, the number of entries is always lower than the number of schools registering interest. T4 Education targeted 750 entries in the first year, and actually got 1,000. In year 2, they targeted 1,500 entries and these have doubled to 2,000 schools.

Figure 5
Number of schools entries

World's Best School Prizes rebrand design effectiveness chart 2


Objective 3 results:
Attract and retain sponsors

Sponsors have wanted to be involved from the beginning and headline sponsors Accenture, American Express and Fundação Lemann, have renewed contracts for a further three-year sponsorship. Given the current global financial landscape and with many organisations seeking sponsors, it hasn’t been easy to secure funding. But the sponsors see the value in being part of the continuing success and growth of the World’s Best School Prizes.

Objective 4 results:
Attract and retain employees

Our brand work launched in November 2021. Salman Shaheen, T4 Educations’ Director of Communications, joined in early 2022 from a leading PR company because he wanted “to be part of the ripple of change for schools.” Of course, he’s on-brand. And when they started to engage with the media, our work and messaging was at the heart of all communications.

Overall, the communications team has grown from 2 to 9 people as a result of the success of the Prizes.

“The World’s Best School Prizes requires a lot of work throughout the year: promo assets for us and for schools, announcements graphics, videos, event promotions etc. so we’ve needed more people to help us.”
Marin Maurette, Head of Prizes


Objective 5 results:
Create a movement by capturing the hearts and minds of teachers, pupils, parents and education professionals everywhere.

Sometimes a brand really connects with people and schools really took the new brand to heart. Shortlisted schools printed the World’s Best School Prizes logos with their own badges on merchandising such as street banners, t-shirts and mugs. One school in India even printed the logo on their school bus.

“This is really powerful – we really didn’t expect this. It was a genuine idea coming from the schools.”
Marin Maurette, Head of Prizes


T4 Education held a Public Vote for the World’s Best School Prizes and over 45,000 people voted.

World's Best School Prizes Dunoon Grammar School teachers and pupils

“All of us in the team cried because all our efforts has been recognized.”
Bonuan Buquig National High School, Philippines

“We are so proud to be shortlisted for the World’s Best School Prizes for Supporting Healthy Lives. It is something close to our hearts, and receiving this global recognition and being given a platform to share our strategy around the world has been a great source of school pride for our community, especially after the Shanghai lockdown.”
Dulwich College Shanghai Pudong, China

“The world wide contacts you make are invaluable for taking your school further post competition too!”
Pinelands North Primary School, South Africa


T4 Education’s school feedback survey has some particularly startling results for the Prizes’ impact. Being part of the Prizes process has directly led to greater participation, motivation and sense of belonging to their schools from pupils, parents and teachers.

The Prizes success is, of course, not solely down to our design. They have become the most widely covered education prizes in the world. Nearly 3,000 articles have been written with a combined readership of 5.7 billion, all with the brand story at their heart.

On social media, the Prizes reached 463 million users globally in their first year.

World's Best School Prizes social media new rules for schools

Figure 6
Key facts from T4 Education’s school feedback survey

World's Best School Prizes rebrand design effectiveness results

“We’d apply again as it provided an opportunity for us to reflect on what we are doing and where we can improve.”
West End Primary School, South Africa


The ripple effect
It’s no coincidence that these Prizes were launched in 2021. The pandemic deeply affected everyone involved in education. Teachers, pupils and parents had to adapt to new ways of working and learning with new systems and innovations that were, quite often, rapidly put in place.

In its first two years, the World’s Best School Prizes has helped to celebrate inspiring school stories that benefit everyone. The ripple effect continues beyond the schools themselves. The best practices of shortlisted schools have been celebrated and adopted by leaders, departments of education and governments:

• The Philippines government has adopted the best practice of one of their winning schools and rolled it out across all schools in the country, influencing 1.2 million learners

• World leaders including the President of Chile, the Vice President of India, the Vice President of Uganda, the First Minister of Scotland have all visited schools and celebrated their achievements

• Ministers of Education from the UK, Colombia, Australia, Uganda, India, Argentina, South Africa, Canada, and the Philippines have engaged with the shortlisted schools.

“On the day of the announcement, we had the visit of the President of our country, Gabriel Boric!!! He broke the news to the community in his own words.”
Emilia Lascar School, Chile

“We’ve had more than 30 visits from state stakeholders who are influential people in the community and state ecosystem.”
MCD Co-ed Primary School, Lajpat Nagar 3, New Delhi

“The change we all yearn to see tomorrow can begin with us today. By collaboration, we can make the education system STRONG!”
Best Intellectuals Model School, Nigeria


We feel privileged that our ‘ripple effect’ design insight and branding has given everyone associated with the World’s Best School Prizes a fantastic start to their journey. Long may their ripples of influence continue.


World's Best School Prizes NYSE New York Stock Exchange Closing Bell

More ripples: Curie Metropolitan High School, the winning school in the Healthy Living category, opening the New York Stock Exchange closing bell with Vikas Pota, CEO & Founder of T4 Education.

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