Graduating to New Branding

Post by
September 15, 2020

In early 2019, we were approached by Northwest Allen County Schools (NACS) to partner on a comprehensive brand strategy consultation. The district, made up of seven elementary schools (soon to be eight!), two middle schools and one high school is well known in our community for their academic excellence, and has been lauded at the state level for their schools’ academic and athletic performance.  Each school in the district its own little community.

The brand strategy exploration revealed a strong desire to show greater alignment amongst the 11 schools, truly coming to life as a district to audiences external and internal. Our work needed to demonstrate the consistent and relentless pursuit each school, each department, each program does in achieving Northwest Allen County Schools’ common mission—and that together, they achieve the district’s ambitious vision.

With the shared ideologies, the schools sought to visually come together as a family, with a consistent graphic and visual style that resonated at the local (school) level, while strengthening the system throughout the district’s footprint. All the while, the work needed to embody the district’s core values:

Integrity | Opportunity | Inclusion | Excellence | Commitment | Respect

We embarked on the journey with NACS knowing it was important to keep legacy in mind at every touchpoint, while also pushing some schools to reimagine their visual identity—including their mascots. One of the end goals was to ensure each school (and the district) had a unique brand that was built from the ground up for them and completely ownable—no more lookalike treatments or mascots.

Starting with our thorough Soul Sessions branding workshops, the process has been collaborative through every milestone, and has included administrators, staff, teachers, parents and students in discovery and decision-making.

Throughout the process—which included, nine months in, the onset of the coronavirus pandemic—we were inspired and motivated by these educators and their passion and commitment to the students and communities they serve. In trying times, we found hope in their energy.

The result is a new district brand supported by new school brands that include formal and mascot-driven logo options and a consistent color palette across the district.

Most importantly, the schools and district have ignited enthusiasm and grown loyalty as they take on the start of the demanding 2020–21 school year.

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