Achievement First Endeavor Middle School

For the Achievement First Endeavor Middle School, a charter school for grades 5 through 8 in Brooklyn, Paula Scher and her team at Pentagram created a program of environmental graphics that help the school interiors become a vibrant space for learning. The designers worked with the project architects, Rogers Marvel Architects, who designed the school as a refurbishment and expansion of an existing building.

The environmental graphics at the school were inspired by a series of motivational slogans used by its teachers. Achievement First originally produced the slogans––“All of us will learn,” “Whatever it takes,” etc.––as colorful stickers that students were encouraged to affix to their books and lockers. The designers enlarged these slogans into supergraphics that help define the interior spaces. The graphics appear as a series of equations (“Education = Choice,” “Education = Freedom”) in the halls, quotations running around the perimeter of the gymnasium, and most noticeably, climbing the main staircase at a front of the school, where they are visible through windows to the street. The Endeavor graphics become part of the architecture and help the building become a participant in the learning process.

All of this was accomplished with little expense. Paint was used as a simple and economical solution for transforming the space. In rooms like the cafeteria the bands of color are used to define and enhance the architecture, creating an illusion of depth that expands the space. In other areas the painting of typography, set in Rockwell, is intricate and detailed.


Project Type


Brooklyn, New York, United States

Related links


  • Rogers Marvel Architects
  • Pentagram Design
  • Paula Scher
  • Esto