When the Schenck School approached us to help them design their new mascot identity, The Phoenix, I was very excited. There are some schools who are better known for their mascots than for their academic identity. The potential power of a mascot mark is amazing. Sadly, many mascots designed in the last 15-20 years have lacked much character or have been designed without any consideration of quality design standards. In the last five years or so the idea of a mascot has morphed into a strictly digital entity that was more cartoonish than iconic. Some companies use them to add cute character to their sites or products, but they never live outside of the web.
I wanted us to create a mascot that had the clear, iconic power of mascots of years a bygone era when designers were real artists and could illustrate and also translate that illustration into good, iconic design. I know, there are still some of those designer/artists out there and we at Station16 aim to be that ourselves, but often designers are products of mouse clicks and keyboard shortcuts and not pencil and paper.
This mascot identity was the result of work that started with pencil and paper and animal studies of large birds. Since the Phoenix is a mythical creature, we also consulted every other illustration that we could find of a phoenix. After amassing a collection of over a hundred of illustrations and feathery photos we had begun honing in on some styles and approaches that we were interested in developing for the Schenck School.
We spent the next few weeks sketching and then taking elements of those sketches and making digital translations of those comps. We eventually developed six mascot comps that we presented to the client. We printed large scale versions of each mascot and filled a conference room table with the comps and compared and contrasted and noted features and colors and likes and dislikes. The Schenck School determined that two of the Phoenix illustrations had features that they really liked and so we went back and mad a hybrid of the two into one Phoenix. It was further refined and then we presented the final Phoenix to the client with great success.
The Phoenix was then sent vendors to have tshirts and diecut boards produced for the swag for the school launch. We then set to work on a script for a short film to promo and introduce the Phoenix Mascot. It featured voice work and on camera appearances by faculty and staff and motion graphics and animations that built the energy and anticipation for the mascot reveal. That video was played before a school assembly where the shirts and diecut boards were given away and then before a parent and student assembly. It worked as we had hoped and drove the excitement and acceptance of the new mascot to an instant high.
It was a pleasure working with the Schenck School and their team to develop this Mascot identity and we continue to work with their team to develop many new avenues for building the spirit and pride of The Schenck School.