Getting to Yes

The logo design phase of branding is always an emotionally charged exercise. From attachment issues to color preference, we all bring baggage and personal impressions into the process.

And recently this has been heightened by a growing awareness of how naming and iconography represents us. Moves by major organizations like The Washington Football Team 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 graphic identities.

A decade ago, when redesigning the logo and mascot system for a school district we were asked to make the face of a black and red character grey instead of white to mitigate the issue. Today, schools and other organizations are diving much deeper.

In 2020, Unionville High School decided it was time to make a change and they wanted to do it in a meaningful way. Christa Fazio, who runs District Communications, launched an immersive process to mindfully move forward. She gathered a leadership team and built a working committee with 65 people representing key stakeholders in their community.

Christa’s team led their community through phases of discussion, research, and ideation, to rally support behind the selection as well as the change itself. When the options were narrowed to two, they helped their community imagine what each direction would feel like by having students debate the merits of each choice and creating school cheers.

As they were finalizing the decision, Christa reached out to us to help bring their vision to life. She knew that building consensus around an image would be hard and she wanted a partner in the process.

Involving your community is critical when working to build a shared vision. But…managing input, diverging opinions and negotiating a route to a final YES takes more than just graphic design skills. We worked with the full committee to gather creative direction then recommended selecting a small group to move forward with review, while the rest of the committee was tasked with gathering use case examples for us.

Working together, we crafted a primary mascot logo with variations for business and sports usage. We’re thrilled to have helped the District visually represent their values in a way that made their community feel integral to the process.

If you’d love to hear all the behind-the-scenes details, I’m excited to share that Christa will join me for a live discussion later this spring. Keep a lookout for an invite to that free community event coming soon.

And if your organization is considering whether your visual identity truly represents where you are today, let me know. Perhaps we can help you get to yes too.