The Olentangy Local School District recently launched a branding project that could result in a new logo, among other benefits.

The Olentangy Local School District recently launched a branding project that could result in a new logo, among other benefits.

The school board Jan. 25 voted to approve funding of up to $50,000 for a branding project led by Rickabaugh Graphics. The Gahanna-based company's past clients include Ohio State University and the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers and Philadelphia 76ers.

Krista Davis, Olentangy's director of communications, said the effort will result in "far more than a new logo."

"We will be researching our existing practices and (doing) an entire brand audit of all the pieces and parts that we have that say who we are as a school district," she said.

Davis said Rickabaugh's efforts likely will include focus groups with district residents, students and staff.

Davis said the firm will not redesign logos for the district's high schools or middle schools as part of the project. She said the project will involve establishing practices for licensing those existing logos.

"They're going to help guide us through the stages of getting the (logos) trademarked and protected," she said.

Board member Roger Bartz said he supports the active effort to establish new rules for businesses seeking to sell products with Olentangy schools' logos. He said Olentangy will follow the example of OSU by making sure products bearing the district's logos are properly licensed.

"Will it cost (businesses) a few more dollars to pass it on to (their) consumer? Yes, depending on the licensing fee," he said. "But I think the important thing for me is saying: Being a public entity does not mean it's a public free-for-all for use of (Olentangy's brand)."

Davis said the district is not seeking to punish companies, but instead bring rules to what she called the "the Wild West." In the aftermath of the branding project, she said the district intends to give notice to vendors that violate Olentangy's trademarks and educate them on how to properly license the district's logos.

"We want to be good partners with the business owners in our community," she said.

While Rickabaugh will take a look at the district's existing logo, not all district officials agreed crafting an entirely new logo is the desired outcome.

Board member Kevin O'Brien said district officials may come to the conclusion that the existing logo, which features a silhouette of two children waiting at a bus stop, still works.

"My only observation would be: Don't change for change's sake," he said.

Superintendent Mark Raiff said he agreed with O'Brien that the district needs to take care while re-evaluating its logo. He said he knows the artist who created the logo in the early 1990s and the two children who served as models for the image.

"It's really meaningful to me, being a kind of a historian of the district," he said.

Davis said the district's deadline for the completion of the project has been set for July 1.

tgallick@thisweeknews.com

@twgallick