In April 2018, the Ames community overwhelming approved a bond referendum for a new high school. With the design of the new Ames High School underway, now was a prime opportunity to assess the “Ames High” brand.
Through our evaluation of the brand, we quickly realized that Ames High brand had no brand standards or proper file formats associated with it. Brand standards are a set of guidelines for the colors, graphic elements, logo specifications, and fonts that comprise a brand. In essence, they are the glue that holds a brand together. Without those, it is difficult to regulate how our brand is used and we often see the inconsistent application and an overall diminished brand. For example, a walk-through of Ames High showed three different secondary mascot logos being used in a variety of ways. Through our evaluation, we also quickly realized that our elementary schools, as well as Ames Middle School, would benefit from a solid identity.
The school district collaborated with the City of Ames on a citywide rebranding effort in 2012. This is where the District logo originated from that looks similar to the City of Ames, Chamber of Commerce, and Ames Convention and Visitors Bureau. This logo will continue to be the logo of the Ames Community School District, but not of the individual schools.
After an RFP process, the board approved the brand refresh contract in January 2019 to graphic design company Rippke Design. They are located in Ames, are owned by an Ames High graduate, and have an outstanding portfolio. Their work can be seen across Ames.
The goal was to use the District logo, create an Ames High brand, and then create a comprehensive brand standard guide for all our schools and the District. When complete, brand standards will inform everyone what is the proper primary and secondary logos at each school, and how to use them.
One of the first steps in this process was to identify how our community connected with the current Ames High brand. A survey was shared with staff members and the community as part of the discovery phase. This helped us identify project objectives, including making the logo stronger, and to set a direction on how to proceed with the Ames High and building brands.
Honor the Past:
It was always important that we honor the history of Ames Schools, including Ames High. With that in mind, we never intended on changing the colors away from orange and black, nor did we considering changing “Little Cyclones.” Tradition has a strong hold on these aspects of our brand identity, and we were committed to keeping them. Our goal was to give the Ames High brand a modern upgrade that pays homage to the tradition of the school.
Through a committee and revision process, Rippke Design delivered an outstanding updated Ames High logo. They also developed a comprehensive brand standard for the entire district. This comprehensive style guide can be found on our website.
Although this new look is the official logo of Ames High and individual buildings, we are planning a slow rollout. We are launching a new online apparel store later this summer where official clothing can be found, and one of the first big signage opportunities will on the back of the high school stadium scoreboard. With the new high school currently being built, we are not planning on replacing any signage in the current building. Other items such as athletic jerseys will be replaced on their normal rotation.
We are excited to have a unified brand across the District, with opportunities for the community to show their Ames pride with an online apparel store.