The New Warrior: Alabaster City Schools debuts new school logos

Published 5:32 pm Thursday, June 27, 2024

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By NOAH WORTHAM | Managing Editor 

ALABASTER – While walking the halls of Alabaster schools this fall, parents and students might notice new décor and signage as Alabaster City Schools debuts a series of brand new logos for four of its schools that all connect together to reflect what it means to be a warrior.

Creek View Elementary, Meadow View Elementary, Thompson Intermediate and Thompson Middle School have all received brand new logos and branding that reflect each individual school and add together to create one cohesive image for Alabaster City Schools.

“A brand is so important for any organization, especially a school system,” said Jason Gaston, coordinator of public relations for ACS. “It defines who you are. It identifies you to your audiences. We want to make sure that the great pride that people take in Alabaster City Schools continues and even amplifies. And we believe that this undertaking has done just that.”

Gaston spearheaded the project, entitled “The New Warrior,” to rebrand the schools with the full confidence and support of Superintendent Dr. Wayne Vickers and the ACS Board of Education. The school system partnered with the company Knight Eady to gather information and feedback and to execute the rebranding and designs.

“They were a great partner to work with us and work with our school leadership teams and our principals,” Vickers said. “The feedback we have received has been overwhelmingly supportive. It gets us all on a brand. That’s important. It tells the story (that) every school is important.” 

When approaching the topic of updating the logos and unifying branding for a number of historic schools in the community, Alabaster City Schools saw it as necessary to identify the core aspects that would not be changed and would instead serve as the foundation for the path forward.

“There’s certain things that are just baked into the DNA (of ACS) and so that’s where we started,” Gaston said. “We took an audit of the brand. So, that’s looking at what exists, what works, what doesn’t work, what elements might carry over (and) where do we want to take the brand?”

After engaging in a brand discovery process and gathering data and analyzing responses from surveys, the school system moved forward by working with Knight Eady to organize the information, form the brand identity and design the logos.

“You need someone that is an expert in the field because at the end of the day, what you’re trying to get toward is a cohesive brand family,” Gaston said.

Knight Eady organized together for the school a series of mood boards which served as visual depictions of all the important elements of Alabaster City Schools as a whole and each individual school.

“And from there, the process really picked up a lot of speed and momentum,” Gaston said. “The professionals at Knight Eady were able to turn around some concepts for us and developed the first look at the logos. And to be honest, they delivered a set that required no changes. We were pleased with the first round. They look great, they’ve very clean (and) they’re very cohesive.”

The logos for each school are consistent with the visual branding and are consistent with Alabaster City Schools’ color scheme. Additionally, the visual designs on the logos incorporate elements that reflect the school they represent with MVES’ logo featuring a meadow and CVES’ featuring a sunrise and creek.

Thompson Intermediate School’s new logo continues the visual storytelling by incorporating elements from both of the elementary schools into its own as students from both schools join together into one student body.

“We thought that was really cool how that tells a story,” Gaston said.

In keeping with the theme of a warrior, Thompson Middle School’s new logos incorporates elements of a shield into its design along with its name.

“And then you get to Thompson High School and you got a very official clean logo that represents the pinnacle of the school system into which all students (enter),” Gaston said.

Throughout the rebranding process, the school system ensured that it maintained key elements of its history.

“I think when some people heard that we’re rebranding or we’re redesigning stuff, they thought we were just going to start from scratch and redo everything and rename the schools and change colors and mascots and that was not the case,” Gaston said. “In the case of Thompson High School, it dates back to 1921. And so, with roots that deep and a legacy that rich, we certainly wanted to keep the Thompson name, the warrior mascot, keep the color set. Keep everything about the branding and make sure that branding percolates throughout the entire (school) system.”

According to Gaston, the school system has received positive feedback on the logos and branding.

“The response has been overwhelmingly positive in our case,” Gaston said. “People are excited to see the brand advanced and modernized.”

In addition to providing a cohesive look for the school system, the new branding allows for Alabaster City Schools to be visually consistent on all of its websites and social media platforms. The school system can also utilize the logos in distributing and selling merchandise to represent itself.

“From a practical standpoint, for a communications practitioner like myself, there’s no more guessing,” Gaston said. “I don’t have to say, ‘Well what are we considering to be the official logo for Meadow View or TIS or whatever school it may be.’ We’ve got a style guide by which we will adhere that shows us how to use the logo (and) how not to use the logo.”

Gaston expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to work on the branding process and to the members of the ACS Central Office who participated and supported the endeavor.

“It would not have happened without the support of Dr. Vickers and the board of education,” Gaston said. “This is a very communication savvy board and a very communication savvy superintendent. They understand communication, they get branding (and) they understand brand management.”

Now, as Alabaster City Schools moves forward with the new branding for its schools, it will continue to incorporate the new designs online and at facilities. The school system is also looking toward the future and considering working on designs for more of its programs, including theater, choir and band with the possibility of giving them their own unique visual emblems.