Simon Charwey - JIIL

Jackson Institute of Innovation & Leadership (JIIL) Logo design

How to Play a Role in a King’s Vision

As brand identity designers, or creatives in general, we almost always find ourselves becoming engrossed in some projects and/or problem solving processes more than others. Why? I have come to agree with Simon Sinek that, it is “because they [the brands or products] become markers or symbols of values and beliefs we hold dear” (Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. p.54).
I’m a little bit selective about the kinds of projects I work on and hence the kind of clients I work with. Because, over the past 10 years, I have noticed that I delivered great solution anytime I took on exciting projects with exciting clients who are on a mission to impart many lives in a positive and rewarding way. I love Julian’s (@juju.branding on Instagram) insight on same: “I love working on “exciting projects, exciting mission, aligned budget, aligned timeline, good people, value time, good communication, and possible connections.”


JEC aims to equip students with contemporary and successful career building skills, which are relevant to industry, academic and professional bodies. JEC will be the principal academic holder with varied and differentiated campuses to reflect the need and culture of the educational centres with respect to the community and the culture of the JACKSON brand.In the light of the above and a more varied approach to the total emancipation of the Ghanaian from poverty to acceptable and sustainable living standards. The JEC Group is rebranding to reflect its reputational attained brand of JACKSON, hence the name Jackson Educational Complex will morph into JACKSON GROUP.


“A leader's stool is so integrally linked to his identity that his death is described by the phrase “a stool has fallen.”” (Metropolitan Museum of Art / THE MET – ‘Prestige Stool, 19th–20th century’)

In West African (Ghanaian/Akan) culture, “When a person becomes chief, he is “enstooled” in the office; during his rule he is said to “sit upon the stool,” and when he dies, the Akan say, “The stool has fallen.”” (Book: African Arts, Vol. 13, No. 1 (Nov., 1979), Published by: UCLA James S. Coleman African Studies Center; Chapter: The Stool and Asante Chieftaincy by Sharon F. Patton p.74)

The West African Ghanaian (Akan) Stool is symbolically viewed as an icon of leadership and authority. Hence, together with the client’s team, we have identify the Akan (or Ghanaian) Stool as a unique symbol for an educational institution that seek to identify with the Asantehene’s vision on Leadership ––“I will TEACH my people LEADERSHIP!” as HRM, Otumfuo Osei-Tutu II, King of Ashanti Kingdom, rightly declared, during an event marking his 20th Anniversary celebration, at the Great Hall, KNUST, Kumasi.


And, more symbolically, for the observable fact to my eyes that, the Akan Stool shares a prototypical element with the Jackson Institute of Innovation and Leadership initials –– “JIIL” –– and the keywords in the Asantehene’s declaration, “TEACH” and “LEADERSHIP.”
The JIIL vision also stresses on two most critical needs in our home country Ghana. That is, education and visionary leadership. JIIL founders have confidently expressed that, education and vision inspire innovation in any sector of a country’s economy. And that is what JIIL stands for — an educational institution of innovation and visionary leadership.
Together with the client’s team, we agreed on the Akan stool, a symbol of leadership, as a meaningful cultural identity and reference for the JIIL brand. Of course, this decision was made because the client contacted me for my intense courtship in working with indigenous African design systems (IADS) and African Symbology. Based on my exploration on many variations of the traditional Akan (African) Stool, I found some inspiration to explore further the unique and interesting prototypical elements of the different Stools’ designs. My references were from the collection chart by Professor Ablade Glover.


The JIIL logo is finally represented as a utilitarian symbol of the similar stool we find in our African homes; in Ghana, specifically, among many ethnic groups, the second word that is uttered after saying “Akwaaba” to a visitors, as a sign of our hospitality, is yet another “welcoming” word “Akonnwa wɔ hɔ” (Twi)/ “Zikpui li” (Ewe)/ “Sɛ yɛ biɛ”/ “Sɛ ngɛ hiɛɔ” (GaAdangbe). Literally meaning, “Here’s a seat/Have a seat.” The JIIL dwa/stool symbol is therefore designed with an intent to draw our minds to a welcoming connotation for its potential students/leaders, investors, partner institutions, and also its stakeholders.
JIIL aim is to carved out of each of their students, exemplarily elements of an innovative and true leaders. As the aphorism goes, “David was in the stone all along.” As the legend Michelangelo noted himself, “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” JIIL also believes every JIIL student has a leader inside him/her and it is the task of JIIL to guide its students in discovering their leadership potentials. JIIL is unique in a sense that, its compulsory course modules are geared towards more skills-based training to empower professionals in divergent fields.