Gainesville City School System
Re-branding, brand guide usage
As the only school system in the nation with a Red Elephant for a mascot, Gainesville City Schools is proud of its unique brand and logo usage. However, as one of the oldest continuous school systems in the state – founded in 1892 – it has also undergone numerous updates and versions of its iconic Red Elephant logo. And the existence of so many logos, without a definitive approach to usage, meant that the school system found itself utilizing numerous images – even within the same individual schools (which, as of 2022-23, consisted of nine separate schools).
The sports programs also occasionally utilized images that were either out of date or inconsistent. In a sense, the schools faced an identity crisis. And with numerous changes underway and a renewed focus on unity throughout the entire system – “One Gainesville” – Gainesville City contracted Forum to help streamline its branding and usage guidelines and create a consistent brand presence.
HOW WE HELPED
From day one, our team determined that consistency and uniformity were the main goal for a unique and historic brand. However, it was also determined that the school system’s logos could use some polish. Therefore, Forum worked with the schools to refine and digitize the school system’s main logo and crest, select typography to consistently represent the brands, create a red elephant logo for athletic department use, a classic block “G” logo, and six baby elephant logos (one for each elementary school). We also refined the classic elephant logo, vectorizing it, while adding a standalone image.
In addition, school letterhead and business cards were designed for system-wide use. All assets were organized with all accompanying versions into a file system that was shared throughout the system along with a usage guide – that comes in both print and digital versions. This guide makes all usage easy to understand and dispelled the confusion and use of older or unsanctioned logos/brands. This not only focused all school representatives on following the exact same patterns but also helped to brand the school in the eyes of those working with the system – including independent media and vendors.
ALL IN THE DETAILS
A school system means so much to individuals and the community it serves. That is why its brand must reflect what makes the school unique, its academic and athletic excellence, and the spirit that it sparks across students, faculty, and staff. We understood that the red elephant, the Classic “G,” logo and everything in between needed to reflect energy, spirit, and strength – while also paying homage to a long and storied tradition, and the new logos do just that. They offer something both old and new to reflect the “one Gainesville” approach that is important to living out the school system’s mission and vision in a unique, diverse, and vibrant atmosphere.
We worked to determine a consistent and defined color palette and font style for an expanded visual identity that supports the system’s core brand, and to further strengthen the Gainesville City Schools brand, we also concentrated on elementary school logos. Now each of the elementary schools is represented by an “elementary elephant” holding a flag with an accompanying background image to continue to reinforce brand consistency while also recognizing the unique charter curriculum of each school. The full package of brand elements spans the entire Gainesville City School System – from elementary to high school to athletics and everything in between – with all elements working together to tell their story and convey the pride of the Red Elephants.