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Medford schools sport a new logo

For the first time since the 1970s, the Medford School District has a new logo, part of a rebranding effort by the district.

“I’m trying to reinvent the district to look at 21st-century learning,” said Superintendent Brian Shumate. “It just went hand-in-hand with that.”

A stylized "M” represents a mountain in the logo, which includes the district’s name and a new tagline: “Live. Learn. Lead.” The final product was approved by the school board after it was developed by a graphics firm, and it incorporated input from 12 focus groups and other constituents.

Pixel Productions of Medford was paid $4,358 for logo design and branding work. Natalie Hurd, the district’s communication specialist, who was hired in December, led the project. Rebranding the district and creating a new website are her first two priorities, Shumate said.

“The tagline says we are striving to teach our kids, we want our staff to enjoy the lifestyle here, we want to be seen as a place of higher learning, and we want all our staff and students to be leaders,” said Shumate. “That’s got a lot of power in it.”

District staff and the graphics firm first developed concepts. Dee Anne Everson, United Way of Jackson County executive director, then volunteered her services to moderate a dozen focus groups. Participants included students, parents, teachers and community members.

“We did students in classrooms, including a first-grade class, which was really fun,” said Everson. “It was a very inclusive process.”

Group participants did a drawing exercise and discussed what they wanted to see portrayed by the logo. All groups were asked the same questions.

“Some really clear themes emerged,” said Everson.

Green was an overwhelming color choice in all the groups, said Everson. Mountains and the outdoors should also be reflected, participants said, but some thought a book to stress academics should be included.

The final product is a combination of both of those desires, with the two lines on the left side of the "M" representing book pages.

Pixel Productions took input from the focus groups and came back with three different proposals that were presented to the administrative council, which includes all school principals. Two-thirds of the council favored the mountain logo, Shumate said.

Implementation of the logo will come over time, with many specifics yet to be decided, said Shumate. It will be incorporated into the redesigned website and may appear at athletic facilities, other non-classroom buildings and on vehicles. The district office, business cards and letterhead will all display the logo.

Hedrick Middle School might, for example, retain its logo for correspondence and incorporate the new logo on the page also, said Shumate.

Many schools already have their own logos, said Chief Operating Officer Brad Earl. In the digital era, there are not large stocks of preprinted stationery or envelopes sitting around as there would have been a couple of decades ago, he said. Each department will cover implementation costs from supply budgets.

Earl said most district signs do not include the old logo, which was black and white with “549C” descending on the left side and silhouettes of students above “Medford School District."

Tony Boom is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Reach him at tboomwriter@gmail.com.

Tony Boom is a freelance writer living in Ashland. Reach him at tboomwriter@gmail.com

Medford schools sport a new logo