A lot has changed for the Olentangy Local School District over the past two decades since adopting its current logo featuring a silhouette of an older student holding books while standing behind a younger student.

With the district having grown into one of the largest in the state, the need to redefine its image has taken center stage, prompting the Olentangy Local Schools Board of Education to enter into a contract with Gahanna-based Rickabaugh Graphics to carry out the district’s new branding project at a cost not to exceed $50,000.

While one of the key items of the project involves the creation of a new OLSD logo, Communications Director Krista Davis said the district isn’t simply planning to just roll out a new logo later this year, but instead create a new “brand identity program” that will more closely match the district now and moving forward into the future.

“We’ll be able to elevate the Olentangy Local Schools’ image,” she said. “We are already an amazing school district, of course, and everybody in our community knows that. It’s important to really fine tune our message about who we are, what we do, and what we stand for.”

Davis said the project will help to not only “clarify who we are,” but also “enhance our stakeholder (students, families, taxpayers, local business owners, etc.) pride.”

As for the decision to work with Rickabaugh Graphics, Davis said, the company has 30-plus years of experience working with various educational institutions over the years, including The Ohio State University. In addition, the Rickabaughs live in the district and are parents of two graduates of Olentangy Local Schools.

“They definitely have a clear understanding of who we are, what we need, and how we can better define our image,” Davis said.

During the process of developing a new brand, which is expected to be rolled out by July, focus groups will be formed and contacted for guidance. Davis said the groups will include students, parents, community leaders, administration, teachers, etc.

Protecting the image, creating revenue

When it comes to regulating the use of the district’s name and logos, the current system is a free-for-all or as Davis called it, “the Wild West.”

Through the branding project, the district is going to “rein in” the use of the Olentangy brand to “hopefully increase funding and donations for the school district as we move forward with licensing and trademarking,” Davis said.

Board member Roger Bartz acknowledged the move to a licensing program will end up costing local companies who sell Olentangy-branded apparel “a few extra dollars,” but the intent isn’t to put anyone out of business.

“This is a way where we can protect the brand,” he said.

Rickabaugh Graphics is no stranger to helping its clients develop and protect their brand, which in turn can lead to a consistent revenue stream through royalty fees.

“They actually developed the Ohio State University athletics brand in the 90s, which we are all quite familiar with,” Davis said.

For information about Rickabaugh Graphics, go to www.rickabaughgraphics.com.


By Joshua Keeran

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Contact Joshua Keeran at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @KeeranGazette.