Following nearly two years of research and discussion with community members, business leaders, parents and staff, the Mehlville School District, in conjunction with its volunteer Communications Advisory Team, or CAT, introduced new logos and taglines this week for the district and each of its 19 schools and programs.
The project, which could have cost the district as much as $400,000, was completed free of charge, thanks to the donation of time and professional design services from several dedicated district parents and residents, according to a news release.
To establish an organizational identity that more accurately reflects the district’s mission and core values, the team undertook an extensive research process, which included focus groups and surveys, according to the release.
Data collected from stakeholders provided valuable insights about the district’s key strengths and defining characteristics, the release stated.
“It was important to clearly understand what the community values about the District,” stated Tammy Stankey, CAT member and senior communications liaison for The Doe Run Company. “We heard loud and clear that the district meets the needs of individual students as well as the student body at-large through the commitment of its staff and programs. Mehlville residents are proud of their District and this new identity reflects that pride and the connection to the local community.”
Communicating the vision
Research also indicated the District’s current organizational identity, including its logo and tagline, does not fully capture these qualities and its goals and vision for the future. Various adaptations of district logos dating back to the 1990s primarily have featured a group of young children holding hands. Respondents said this image does not represent the full scope of the district’s K-12 population and wide-ranging programs.
The new logo, designed by professional graphic designers and district parents Terry Barry and Andy Dyer, incorporates the district’s three guiding principles: Institutional Excellence, Fiscal Responsibility and Community Benefit.
The encircled “M” represents community and the individual focus, while the two supporting arcs represent the district’s outreach to the community and its commitment to the various stakeholders it serves — students, parents, staff, residents and businesses. Each school logo is similar in style to the overall district logo but includes the school name and colors and prominently features the school mascot in place of the encircled “M.”
The District’s new tagline, “Individually Focused. Committed to All.,” underscores the district’s mission of preparing all students to reach their potential through a dynamic curriculum, student-centered instruction, a safe, nurturing environment and community collaboration, the release stated.
To unify the district’s 19 schools and programs, each school logo dons the tagline, “Proud Member of the Mehlville School District.”
“Research confirmed our recognition that the District’s focus on the individual needs of a widely diverse student population sets the District apart,” stated Superintendent Eric Knost. “Our experienced and resourceful staff meets the needs of learners from birth to graduation for students and their families representing 51 languages, as well as students with varied learning styles and needs. We can be proud of the value we bring to our community.”
Exercising fiscal responsibility
Established in 2008, the CAT is a committee of marketing and communications professionals who also are Mehlville School District parents and residents. Collectively, the team has experience in marketing research, public affairs, communications and media relations in St. Louis’ public and private sectors.
The entire logo project research, analysis, brand development and design specifications was completed at no cost.
“By assembling this volunteer team, the district gained professional support to augment our small Communications Department, without the need to hire outside consultants,” Board of Education President Venki Palamand stated in the release.
Implementation of the logo
To eliminate any potential expenditures, district schools and departments first will use all existing stock, including letterhead, envelopes and business cards, before purchasing materials with the updated logos. All electronic forms of the district logo will be replaced immediately at no expense, according to the release. Individual school logos will be launched throughout the summer.