EYMER BRAND Laboratories + Think Tank recently completed a mascot logo project for Groton School, one of the country's highest-ranked independent academic institutions. Currently, in its 134th year, Groton School's community is made up of 370 students who attend grades eight through twelve and 87 faculty members. Prominent alumni/ae include Franklin Delano Roosevelt who graduated in 1900.
No one is entirely sure how the 'Zebras' nickname evolved, but the most convincing argument is that their black and white striped athletic uniforms provided the catalyst. Another nickname sarcastically thrown around by competitors and also based on the prison-like attire was "The Criminals." (Fortunately for Groton School, the Zebras moniker has stuck.)
Despite its existence as a word form, up until this point, there was no consistent depiction of a visual Zebras Brand. For many of the school's athletic teams, students, faculty, staff, parents, alums, and friends of Groton school, there was a demand for a Zebras logo–especially on the weekends while cheering on the school's many athletic teams.
In our business, there is often the misconception that a logo is created independently by the marketing communications firm and presented to an immediate celebratory client audience with champagne corks popping while the designer hoisted on to shoulders of the cheering crowd.
Occasionally, this is true, but in most cases, close collaboration between the marketing communications firm and the client hones what were once random ideas into beautifully executed finished products.
With Groton School, we partnered with a committee of representatives from many departments within the organization including admissions, fundraising, alumni/ae relations, athletics and the business office. This client group (code-named Operation Zebra) worked exceptionally well together, and within a short amount of time, we arrived on a solid direction for the new mascot logo.
I have included a short video, which in summary form, demonstrates some of the steps involved in the creation of the final product. We worked our way from reference material to different configurations and finally once we had a solid direction spends a significant amount of time tweaking details such as the zebra's right eye.
The finished graphic elements include a zebra head in profile, a custom Groton "G," and the same Zebra profile combined with comprehensive type treatment.
There is a great deal of flexibility within the system. There will be times when the "Zebra profile" or the "G" will appear as independent elements. Likewise, there will be situations where the best solution is a full-blown execution of the zebra profile, the word "Zebras," as well as "Groton School," all spelled out.
At the moment we are working on placement of the new mascot logo on apparel, athletic equipment, and admissions pieces. The finished work is documented in the form of graphic standards. These guidelines will ensure consistent use of the Zebras visual identity system when circulated to other marketing communications professionals for future endeavors.
To first introduce the new Zebras mascot logo, Groton School students were each given a Zebras T-shirt upon returning from their recent Spring break, making them the new ambassadors for the visually defined Groton Zebras! – Doug.