A Class Logo – A Small Part Of Building My Class Identity

I've been interested in the ideas behind logos and design for a while now without any formal reading or training in this area. How to create something that is visually pleasing (to my eyes at least) has fascinated me and playing around using tools like Paint Shop Pro and Adobe Photoshop Elements has had me making my first amateurish attempts at logo design. Back in 2002, my class completed a Resource Based Learning unit on youth culture and the influence that major companies had in trying to infiltrate that culture and then use that appeal to attract the teenage market to their products. We watched part of a really great documentary from Douglas Rushkoff called "The Merchants Of Cool". We also did some investigation into the impact of logos in making a message or particular brand memorable and easy to recall. Think the Coca-Cola logo and immediately anyone starts thinking the red and white colours, the stylised cursive lettering and the white "dynamic ribbon". I wondered if I could use this idea for my own benefit and so I designed my own logo. Without really knowing what I was doing, picking fonts that seemed to be compatible and a colour choice closely related to American professional sports logos, I created something that seemed appealing.

sv02.gifI figured that my designs could be used in other places - I did another version for our Student Voice committee but used greyscale colours to make it easy to add to letterheads and agendas.

I decided to use my new obsession when I shifted to my new school as a small part of building a classroom identity. A yearly logo became one of my pre-start-of-school routines. This logo appeared on class newsletters, to identify class shared property and as part of my exercise book identification scheme. Every year I create colour coded covers for each subject area and the logo forms a part of that cover. The colour coding helps me make sure that when I grab a pile of handed in books for marking, they are all the same subject area! So here are the logos in order from 2003 to the new one I created the other night.

2003. I was still in the two part logo phase, and I tried to cram in as much information as possible.
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2004. This was one of my better designs but I'm still not sure if the speed blur lines were a good idea.
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2005. Back to the segmented half design but a more casual comic style emerged in this effort.
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2006. Wow. This was my lamest effort since starting this annual - it simply must have been that I was devoid of inspiration and "near enough was good enough".
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2007. My first major shift away from my initial influences, and this design drew some inspiration from a surf style t-shirt my oldest son was wearing one day. I really liked the ink blot idea and it took a while to get the inkblot background looking random while using the brush tools in Photoshop. The Gothic looking words are actually two different fonts and the number has a outer glow applied. Maybe changing room numbers helped get the creativity going again.la20.JPG

2008. We've got a colour photocopier at school now and so for the first time I've got a design featuring colour - but that still translates well to a greyscale version. I saw a stylised number on a sign at a suburban shopping centre with a stylised star in the centre of an O that triggered this particular idea - looks a bit disco-y but it will be interesting to see if the kids take to it.
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Last year's logo was particularly popular but with some students continuing on in my class from last year, it was important to have a new identity that gives the message that this is a new community-in-building. Now I know that there is way more to setting up a new classroom and getting a diverse group of kids who've had little say about being put together and having me as their appointed director of learning than just posting a colourful logo on the door and their exercise books. But it is a declaration of purpose for me - that this will be a special learning environment and it is a first small step in building that collaborative identity. I'll write a bit more in the near future about other ways I build a sense of student ownership in our classroom and blend their specific needs in our learning environment. So, just take this post and its contents as a small fragment of the 2008 picture.

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7 thoughts on “A Class Logo – A Small Part Of Building My Class Identity

  1. mr-fisher

    I’ve been thinking about “class” and “teacher” branding for a while. It grows out of Hugh McLeod’s idea of microbrands. Think of everything you’ve done online for the last few years having your own logo stuck on it. Over time, it would be a brilliant portfolio.

    Reply
  2. Lynne Crowe

    Great idea. It was interesting to see the development of your logs over the years. I think I will pick up on Alison’s suggestion and have a ‘classlogo’ competition – could be a great start of the year activity.

    Reply
  3. Graham Wegner

    I’m really lucky to co-planning and teaching alongside one of the best teachers in my school this year (IMHO) and she is doing exactly what you propose, Alison and Lynne. Her students will design and then vote on their class logo – it is a better idea but in my selfish defence, I wanted my logo ready for action from Day One on book covers, on the door, on class equipment etc. The microbranding concept is certainly one that you can see more and more in pockets around the web. For example, Mike Seyfang, a local tech consultant dabbling in the education arena has his logo (sans text) that is his calling card and trademark all in one.

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  4. studenthacks

    Your latest incarnation is definitely the best. The yellow color really makes the logo stand out. The text above is a bit hard to read – but as long as the students like it. Great job! And thanks for sharing your logo development.

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  5. alexanderhayes

    Brands.

    As discussed with Janet Hawtin at the Linux conference today in melbourne it’s interesting what Linux went with on it’s visual cipher journey.

    Tags.

    As discussed with Jo McLeay the other night it’s compelling to note how many people refer to ‘themselves’ now using social web 2.0 technologies and have all but abandoned the idea that a .com exists in the new iteration of the computer mediated space we once called the web.

    The power is in the people. …..what we create to represent ourselves soon becomes what we seek to change first.

    Give Fireworks a turn too…..works a treat with the kids……far more intuitive than Photoshop.

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