The Tidewater School, Part 1

We homeschool our kids, but if we sent them to school, Tidewater is the type of place we'd send them. A nurturing environment where students' individual learning styles are respected, The Tidewater School is a true community. A desire to grow the school beyond its current size made them realize that they had outgrown their existing logo and identity.

Normally, I present logos on individual sheets, but after meeting with the educators from Tidewater, I knew they would be receptive to something a little different. Having heard that they put together photo albums at the end of each school year, I decided to put together my presentation in the form of an album.

I started out with a series of words (each on an individual page, but shown all together here) that set the tone for what we were trying to express/achieve with their new logo. Each logo I presented had to reflect all or most of these attributes.

I presented each logo concept as if it were a chapter in the album — with titles like you might find in a children's book — and showed how each logo might appear in color and on a t-shirt. I don't normally show logos this finished, but felt that several of the ideas (including my favorite) were better explained when they were more fully realized. You need to be careful not to show too much at this stage or you may end up stuck with an idea that hasn't been fully thought out. In all cases, I used blues and teals since these were colors they requested and I agreed that they made sense with their name.

Concept 1: Ebb and Flow
When you visit Tidewater, you get the sense that there is a lot of movement and energy in the place, so for the first concept, I used a visual representation of the name to suggest the dynamic nature of the school. I like the the idea that there could be several variations of the logotype to further reinforce this idea.

Concept 2: Water and Sky
When I think of the name Tidewater — and think of what the school is all about — there is a strong connection to the natural world. To me, this idea represents that connection: the symbol itself, with its flowing shapes, could be a sun or the ripples of the water. It can also be seen as a pinwheel, a reference to children and childhood discovery.

Concept 3: It Came From the Tidepool
I must admit that this was probably my favorite. As a symbol of childhood exploration and discovery, the idea of somehow representing a tidepool had intrigued me. Meanwhile, in an attempt to create a distinctive, iconic T for Tidewater, I started drawing squirmy lower-case t's on a napkin. The two ideas merged in a shape that, to me, clearly expressed the joy of finding some small creature in the depths of a tidepool (and putting it back after you've studied it a bit, of course).

Concept 4; Dance of the Sea Stars
Early on, the folks at Tidewater had requested that I try doing something with a sea star. I was a bit skeptical at first, but when I started working with it, I really liked the sense of movement and change they could convey, especially when used in multiples. Just a note: my kids rightly pointed out that sea stars aren't the brightest of the sea creatures and that an octopus might be a better symbol of marine intelligence. I had to admit that they had a point, but wasn't so sure that an octopus would make a good symbol for the school.

Next post: And the winner is...


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