New Branding and Website for Playbase Training


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New Branding and Website for Playbase Training

In September 2014 we started the project to update the logo and develop a new website. We put together a small team of staff to work on it and made sure our students were consulted throughout. We are delighted with the result and believe the new brand truly reflects what we stand for. Chair of Playbase Training Freda O'Byrne said: "I am excited to see the results of the collaboration between staff, students and the creative team. I am delighted that we were able to work with local, Leith based creative enterprises to successfully achieve our vision. I am also extremely grateful to Foundation Scotland and the Enterprise Ready Award scheme which has given us this chance to accelerate our development and provide enhanced services to our students."

Why rebrand playbase?

Since Playbase launched in 1999 our logo has been an image of a small child climbing and although it has been an enduring image this together with our name 'Playbase' often led people to believe we provided a place for children to play and not for training adults.

Over the years we have focused our resources on our staff, student training and facilities and have had little left over to spend on marketing but after providing a sound business case to Foundation Scotland we were granted a budget to rebrand and develop a new website.

We approached Starbit, Designers on the Run and Ann Robb, all based at the Creative Exchange in Leith, and briefed them to work with us to come up with a new identity which better reflects what we do and communicates our services more clearly to students. With so many people accessing the web on mobile phones, we also needed a website which would work well across different devices. In addition, in order to reach students outwith Edinburgh and those who are unable to attend courses in person, we wanted to incorporate an online learning function.

Where does the idea come from?

In our conversations with our creative partners, Designers On The Run, we shared the work of Friedrich Froebel, the founder of the kindergarten movement whose principles lie at the heart of our work. In response to that conversation, they proposed that we use the idea of Froebel Gifts as imagery for our logo. Paola Lazano said:

"As playbase training advocate learning through play we thought it fit to use this methodology when creating their new logo identity. Inspired by Friedrich Froebel and his creation of a set of numbered child development toys (gifts) we investigated gift number 7 which consisted of 2-d inspired shapes. The seven different shapes included circles, squares and various triangles in an assortment of sizes and colours."   

The logo mark evolved from this direct play with the shapes and focuses on the relationship between the 'parent' and child. The logo mark creates a universal symbol and is not gender, age or culturally specific which meets with the brief as the client was eager to appeal to a wide target audience including parents with young children, non-parents interested in child care, fathers, grandparents, and people from overseas now living in Scotland looking for child care qualifications. The use of two complimentary typefaces in the logotype further emphasises the professional yet friendly nature of the services on offer at playbase training.

We then rolled out this playful technique to create a set of supporting symbolic graphics for use on other brand collateral including the website and app, and as a result we had a lot of fun with this hands-on approach to creating an original and worthwhile brand identity.



What's different about the website?

Our web developers, Starbit, worked closely with our designers to ensure that the new branding was applied effectively and consistently across the website. DotRun's striking brand imagery has been used to provide visual cues for navigation and the colour scheme has been carefully interpreted with accessibility in mind. The website has been designed from a mobile-first perspective, with ease of use on devices with smaller screens and touchscreen interfaces a priority. Speaking about the process, Jonathan Stevens, Creative Director at Starbit, commented:

"Our primary objective for the design of the new Playbase Training website was based on a point made by the client early on in the process, namely that the potential audience could include users with very limited prior digital experience. We therefore had to ensure that every section and every function was easy to find and straightforward to use, without compromising the ambitious range of e-learning functionality. The brand imagery provided by DotRun was a major asset in developing an overall look and feel that was simple, attractive and unique.”

The online learning function is a real advance for Playbase Training as students will be able to take courses purely online, so that they don't need to attend the courses in person if they are unable. Tutors will add learning materials, set assessments and answer student queries. Students will have easy access to all course materials, can easily upload their completed course work onto the system and ask questions of their fellow students and the tutors. Online learning will contain video too.

What's next?

In March this year we'll be introducing a new mobile app called 'What will we do today'. The app offers different suggestions for a play activity every time you launch it. Preloaded with hundreds of quality and engaging play activities for young children, it really is a play-a-day app.

The app will initially be released in March as a web app, so will be available on any browser. Versions for iOS (Apple store) and Android (Google Play store) will be then follow shortly afterwards. It will be free of charge and available to all. Keep checking our website for updates. 

We always welcome feedback from our students so if get in touch to let us know what you think of the new website and branding at