OLENTANGY SCHOOL MASCOTS
I make it obvious that sports design is a love of mine and one I continue to passionately pursue. When Cult Marketing came asked me to assist in rebranding the Olentangy School District, I was thrilled. Cult Marketing had pre-established the school district’s brand system including a cohesive style system and type treatments for each school elementary through high school for me to create accommodating mascots. In total, I designed 26 mascots. 1 preschool, 16 Elementary, 5 Middle schools, and 4 High Schools.
This project provided a valuable opportunity to create a diverse but cohesive collection of mascots while thinking outside of the box. With each grade level an age-appropriate style needed to be achieved while still feeling cohesive. The request for the mascots to be confident and strong while not overly threatening or intimidating especially at the younger age levels.
Tyler Run Tigers
Glen Oak Goats
Each school had an organized committee making a decision on what their mascot would be, and I provided several concepts for each. There were decisions to maintain the same name while others changed names completely. Most schools desired a gender-neutral mascot while others also desired to transition away from any mascot names that had any negative historical associations. All of these factors were challenging.
Since I was hired solely to illustrate the new mascots for each school, it needed to integrate with a pre-established text lockup. This naturally posed a bit of a disconnect if not approached carefully. Each mascot had to sit well at the top of the text while still working as a stand-alone mark. This was easier to achieve for some than others.
With so much to consider, this project needed to be approached with flexibility and patience. Cult Marketing did an excellent job of relaying the requests and feedback of each school’s committee decisions as well as guiding them.
Once I was in a grove of established styles, the morphing for each age range was carving itself out. Maintaining a core style while making key structural adjustments helped control the transition to each age range. (e.g. larger eyes and shapes versus more streamlined shapes)
Creating gender-neutral mascots for human-themed mascots was resolved primarily with the use of helmets and masks as well as toning down specific gender bodily features. Some mascots were also changed from historical figures to animals while maintaining their name.
The Olentangy mascots rolled out through the schools during 2020 and 2021. I began to visit the school’s social media to see how students and staff have had fun with their new identities and it has been wonderful to see.