Bexley News

Board 'lukewarm' toward new school district logo design

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Bexley school board members planned a special session this week in hopes of coming up with some ideas to improve its new logo, courtesy of the city.

The drawing received a lukewarm welcome last month when board members got their first peek at the image that has taken months to develop.

According to Bexley Mayor Ben Kessler, the idea of a new branding strategy has been years in the making.

The new logos are meant to unify the city with its many departments and partners, including the school district.

Board members discussed the image at length at their regular meeting in February. Many were unhappy that the images, which they thought were once more united, had been changed so that they are now "less unified."

"I voted to spend the money on this because I liked the cohesive look," board President Marlee Snowdon said.

Board member Jeff Barno agreed, saying the city launched the process with a cohesive idea, then went "off-road."

The current idea features a landmark -- the clock tower above the Cassingham Complex -- which is similar to many of the other logos throughout the city. It also incorporates a circle of oak leaves.

There was some concern among board members that the clock tower only represents a portion of Bexley's schools, and not the entire district.

"We deliberately chose not to represent the school district with generic items like apples and pencils," said Mike Denison, who is a member of the branding committee and is leading the project for the district's side.

Others were concerned with changing the logo after paying for a professional company, Base Art, to come up with the renderings. So far, the district has $1,200 invested in the project. Base Art would charge an additional $150 an hour to make any changes.

Denison said both Bexley's library -- which tweaked its logo -- along with the chamber of commerce, are happy with their designs.

With jobs ranging from book covers to projects for the Columbus Foundation and Pelotonia, Base Art of Columbus has designed a number of promotional materials for area businesses.

Board members did not seem to have a problem with the quality of the work, but rather that the cohesiveness of the project was compromised when some of the entities, including the city itself, changed their designs.

This week's special board meeting, to be held March 5, was meant to get all the board members together in order to finalize a plan.

"We are actually meeting with the designers to suggest some tweaks to the logo in the hope of approving it prior to the State of the City," said Denison.

He believes branding can go a long way in promoting and unifying a city and suggested to board members that they not "tweak" the design themselves, but rely on the professionals.

The city of Bexley, the library, the Bexley Celebrations Association, the Bexley Chamber of Commerce and the Bexley Women's Club all took part in the effort to come up with logos, along with the school district.

Everyone is hoping to have a final "look" ready for the State of the City Address scheduled for April 10.

"This is professional work and should be done by professionals," Denison told board members last month. "There is a tendency to treat design like it's not a real commodity, like we don't have to pay for it."

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