The growing awareness of naming and iconography’s impact on representation and reputation has caused many organizations to adjust their identity. Moves by major organizations to address the cultural impact of their name, logo and mascot are rippling out and encouraging others to consider questions of culture, race, and gender in their visual identities.
In 2020, Unionville High School in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, decided it was time to make a culturally aware change of their own. And they wanted to do it in a meaningful way. The school district’s communications office launched an immersive process to mindfully move the school forward. They gathered a leadership team and built a working committee with 65 people representing key stakeholders in their community. This team led Unionville’s community through phases of discussion, research, and ideation to rally support behind the selection as well as the change itself. As Unionville was finalizing their decision on their new mascot, they reached out to us to help bring their vision to life.
Unionville knew that building consensus around an image would be hard, and they wanted more than a logo—they wanted a partner in the consensus-building process. Involving your community is critical when working to create a shared vision, and we were thrilled to work with a client who shared our perspective on the ideal brand-building process. But managing input and diverging opinions to negotiate a route to a final YES takes more than just graphic design skills.
We worked with Unionville’s full committee to gather creative direction. Then we recommended selecting a small group to move forward with review while the rest of the committee was tasked with gathering examples of how the mascot logo would be used. These clearly defined subcommittee roles helped productively move the project forward, unearthing important insights, such as the fact that the logo would need to work on the school’s blue athletics uniforms. Working together, we crafted a primary mascot logo with variations for district administration purposes and sports.
Unionville rolled out their new mascot and visual identity in January 2021 and spent the rest of the school year and summer transitioning the school over to the new design. We were thrilled to help the school visually represent their values in a way that made their community feel integral to the process.
“Iris Creative provided us with a new brand that has ignited school spirit and generated enthusiasm across our district! I am extremely grateful to the designers for listening to our needs and having the vision to bring our brand to life. Trust was extremely important throughout this process — there was a lot of pressure to get it right. Iris got that, and in the end, gave us exactly what needed! Go Longhorns!”
— Christa Fazio, Director of Communications & Community Relations, Unionville-Chadds Ford School District