Logo designed to represent renewal

Nanaimo school district’s new graphic identity is complete.

The new logo features a salmon, made from different-coloured shapes, leaping over the words Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools – trustees decided last fall that the name School District 68 on the old logos did not represent the district well. Some versions of the logo also feature the words “learning together”.

“One of the big things it represents is diversity because many different shapes make up the fish,” said Donna Reimer, district spokeswoman. “We wanted to reflect what our district is and what we’re working towards. We are a diverse community that comes together to create the best learning opportunities we can for students.”

Local schools have lots of connections to salmon and the use of this fish also symbolizes renewal and the nurturing cycle of life, she added.

In September, the district announced that it was working with Vancouver-based Ion Branding and Design on replacing the district logo, which was developed in 1980 and was only designed to represent Nanaimo because Ladysmith was not yet a part of the district’s name. The contract with Ion was worth about $24,000.

The company consulted with several focus groups, including principals, trustees, senior management, parents and students and the company came back with several possible designs based on this input, from which the stakeholder groups selected their favourite design, said Reimer.

“Over the long term, we believe it’s a strong symbol that will be recognized,” she said. “We wanted to have a fresh, bold look that is representative of our innovation. Everyone I’ve talked to likes it.”

The old logo includes the Bastion, a tree and the numbers 68 and people did not identify with it or know what it represented, said Reimer.

Alexandria Stuart, a parent with one special needs child in the district who expressed concerns last fall about the cost of the project given the cuts that have happened in the district in recent years, reiterated her concerns about the finished product.

“My concerns about the budget stand,” she said. “I don’t find the new logo particularly visually appealing. I don’t know that associating an entire community with a salmon is on the mark. To me it just doesn’t feel like a piece of good design.”

Stuart said district staff, who are in the middle of a strategic planning process, should focus on what is happening inside the district before polishing up the exterior.

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