The Alma del Mar Frederick Douglass Campus is a new, K-8 Expeditionary Learning charter school located in New Bedford, MA that nurtures the growth of its students both academically and personally. Its mission is to inspire young minds to become service-minded leaders.

Rethinking The Future Awards 2023
Second Award | Signages Design (Built)

Project Name: Alma del Mar Frederick Douglass Campus Enviornmental Graphics

Studio Name: Arrowstreet
Design Team: Arrowstreet Graphic Design
Area: 52,000 sf
Year: 2022
Location: New Bedford, MA
Consultants: Wall Graphics Fabricator/Installer: Advanced Imaging
Photography Credits: ©Camille Maren Photography / ©Ben Gancsos

Alma del Mar Frederick Douglass Campus Environmental Graphics | Arrowstreet - Sheet2
©Camille Maren Photography / ©Ben Gancsos

From the outset, the school administration envisioned that environmental graphics would play a key role in shaping the architecture and interior design of the school. With the goal of making all students feel welcomed and valued, the design team worked closely with school staff to immerse themselves in the school’s culture and develop graphics that aligned with its academic rigor and mission.

The result is a series of environmental graphics that showcase the school’s rich culture and diverse population, fostering a sense of belonging and pride among all students. Through its commitment to inclusivity and student success, the Alma del Mar Frederick Douglass Campus sets its students on a path towards fulfilling their potential and making a positive impact on the world.

Alma del Mar Frederick Douglass Campus Environmental Graphics | Arrowstreet - Sheet3
©Camille Maren Photography / ©Ben Gancsos

The environmental graphics program features three main components:

Habits of Character: The Alma del Mar charter school celebrates its three Habits of Character—Service, Responsibility, and Consideration—with prominent wall graphics in a well-traveled staircase in the school’s hub. Each graphic features the definition of one Habit in Spanish, Portuguese, and English, accompanied by inspiring speech bubbles such as “I take responsibility for my learning.” This multilingual approach ensures that all students feel represented and valued, and the students have embraced the graphics with enthusiasm, using them as a tool to teach their classmates about their native languages. The graphics also reinforce the school’s belief that character and academics are intertwined and inseparable.

frederick douglass portrait: The legacy of Frederick Douglass, a renowned speaker, writer, and leader, continues to inspire and impact the world. He was intentionally photographed throughout his life, capturing not only his image but also the documentation of his skin color. Today, he is known not just for his appearance but also for his impactful words. This inspired the creation of a custom-illustrated portrait that showcases both his image and his writings, aligning his legacy with the aspirational culture of the school. The portrait serves as a source of pride and connection for the students, connecting them to this powerful figure in history.

Alma del Mar Frederick Douglass Campus Environmental Graphics | Arrowstreet - Sheet3
©Camille Maren Photography / ©Ben Gancsos

changeable gallery system: To add life to the hallways, community areas, and library, a versatile gallery system was created to showcase student artwork and school events. Equipped with a pin-friendly surface, the frames allow for the display of changing artwork and information about school events, promoting interaction and community spirit. The colors of the frames are harmoniously integrated with the interior design of the building.

The graphics were created in tandem with the architecture, resulting in a cohesive and purposeful design that aligns with the school’s culture and mission. Each element of the graphics program is imbued with significance that reflects the school’s unique identity and its aspirations.