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The Dalton School is a private K-12 institution dedicated to progressive educational principles. For the 100th anniversary of the Dalton School’s founding, C&G Partners helped the organization to create a memorable milestone celebration across multiple channels. The firm created an overall strategy, anniversary brand, merchandise designs, a physical and virtual exhibition, commemorative poster series that become permanent stairwell decor, and a graphic to wrap the floor, ceiling and walls of an entire room.

The project began with the creation of an overall strategy for the entire anniversary period, including schedules, budgets, main messaging and lists of sub-projects. From there, C&G Partners moved to the first task, which was the creation of an anniversary logo. This was a “hijack” logo, which took over for the existing logo everywhere that was easy to do during the anniversary period. The Dalton anniversary logo deliberately blended two visuals the community already recognized — the circular seal and the modern typesetting of the name — inside the numeral “100” to stand for the anniversary.

The bold form of the numeral could be transformed into other iconography, like sports symbols, for use in athletic facilities, and as a silhouette could become a unique shape into which photography of school programs could be placed.

Underused areas of the overall facilities were surveyed, and plans drawn up to imbue them with school spirit in low-cost but high-emotion ways. Every effort was made to make sure that any new decor would last as long as possible, even after the anniversary year, in order to maximize the impact of every dollar spent.

An exhibition on the “Dalton 100” — a grab-bag of 100 ideas, people, things, objects and moments; not a ranked list — was curated and installed into the building’s existing lobby, where it could stay long-term as needed.

The exhibition used existing lighting, existing vitrines, and the brand color of the organization to make a strong and memorable visual impact.

The curated items included an extremely diverse set of different types of things, including moving image content, artwork by past students, and ephemera from the archival collection.

For the thousands of members of the alumni community that would not see the physical exhibition on opening day, a website was created with many of the same assets in digital form, designed to work on all device formats.

One of the most successful components of the project was one of the simplest: a series of posters featuring large year numerals, one for each graduating class to date. The numerals were made of shapes containing the names of each person who graduated in that year.

These posters — 100 in total at launch, but now more since the school decided to keep making them after the anniversary year — can be printed in a variety of sizes, displayed as a group at events, and digitized for online display as well.

The poster series of alumni names and years was mounted and installed into one of the two stairwells of the vertical campus of the school. Room was left at the top for 10+ additional years.

A second poster set was made, featuring 100 historic moments. This set became a de facto timeline of school history, and used similar shapes and colors as its sister poster set, the alumni names and years, so they would work together.

The posters did not chronicle every year, because in some cases, a single year had multiple events of interest. But the total count of posters was 100 in light of the anniversary moment.

This second poster set was mounted and installed in the second vertical stairwell of the organization’s multistory main building. Both poster sets have outlasted the anniversary year and are still on view today, with one new poster being created per year by the staff as needed. It has become a ritual of the school calendar, marking the turn of the school year.

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