Case Study: Sumner School District Rebrand
Britton Lorentzen
Designer, marketer, and owner.

Published: April 4th, 2017

Over the last couple weeks, there’s been a lot of conversation around the Sumner School District planning on a name change. The district claims that the name change should represent the larger geographic it now serves. Given that the statistics are showing that the city of Bonney Lake is poised to grow at about 9.55% by 2017, it’s no wonder the district is considering a name change to prepare for the future. For this blog post, I wanted to take a look at the area and give my thoughts as to how I would go about rebranding the district and what I feel would be a good direction for the district to go.

Back in February, I wrote a blog post about the most important things to consider before initiating a logo redesign. There’s never been more of a perfect time to revisit that blog post and see if the school district is on the right track for a redesign.

One, their business objective is to rebrand the district to serve their growing demographic. To me, that’s a perfectly reasonable business objective to pursue. Two, the name change should definitely stand the test of time and serve the greater population. Three, the district seems to have a reasonable plan for rolling out the redesign. With that being said, the biggest consideration is the name and logo itself. The district is proposing that they want to change the name to Sumner-Bonney Lake School District. However, if I was to rename the district I would go with the Cascadia School District.

Why Cascadia?

Cascadia is a play on the word cascade. The most prominent fixture in the pacific northwest is Mt. Rainier and the cascade mountains. When you travel around the Sumner/Puyallup valley, you’ll typically see the cascades and Rainier at some point. It feels natural to go with a name that resembles the most prominent features of our area.

There’s also a deeper meaning to the word cascade. One definition of the word cascade is “a process whereby something, typically information or knowledge, is successively passed on.” The idea behind education is to successfully pass on information and knowledge so younger generations can grow up to become our future business leaders, scientists, and active citizens in our community. I graduated from Bonney Lake High School in 2010, my brother graduated from Sumner High School five years before me, and my parents graduated from Sumner back in the 80’s. Before that, my grandfather worked for the Sumner School District and left his own impact on future generations. The Sumner School District is home to generations of families that have continued to support the district. Essentially, it has been a cascading effect.

Cascadia also serves the communities beyond Sumner and Bonney Lake. Also, consider that there’s a growing population of folks coming to Lake Tapps and Tehaleh. The district serves families in these communities as well. It makes sense to go with a name that can serve multiple communities beyond Sumner and Bonney Lake.

Logo Unveil

Here’s the big reveal! I didn’t change up the logo much from what the district had previously. I made some edits to the Rainier backdrop and made the emblem more symmetrical. The edits were made to make it easier to change the logo for different color palettes. It’s possible to create a black and white version, full-color version, all blue, all green, and grayscale versions of the logo. This flexibility makes it easy for the district to use this logo literally everywhere.
Cascadia School District Color Logo
The color palette for the logo redesign follows a similar palette from previous logos. However, the colors are a little more poppy to make the logo more engaging. The colors are to be named emerald green, lake blue, and daffodil yellow.

Cascadia School District Color Logo Cascadia School District Color Logo Cascadia School District Color Logo Cascadia School District Color Logo

What do you think of the concept branding? Do you feel like this might be a good direction for the district to take? Let me know in the comments below. Also, reach out to me on either the Empac Twitter or my personal Twitter letting me know what you think. Whether or not the logo and style need edits, this is certainly a good start for the district if it continues pursuing a name change and logo redesign.

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