Jessamine County Schools
Matt Moore (Client)
Patrice Jones (Client)
Research & Insight
Audience Behavior Analysis
Culture & Engagement
Visual Identity + Logo Systems
Brand Style Guidelines
Social Media Assets
• Gold ADDY // American Advertising Awards (Lexington)
• Public Service Excellence Award // American Advertising Awards (Lexington)
There were two different and distinct halves to Jessamine County: East and West. On the surface, data told a clear story rooted in socioeconomic disparity. Anecdotally, the cultural divide had widened across multiple generations of Jessamine County families.
Jessamine County Schools, recognizing the role of brand design to create a common identity for the district, hoped to unify all elementary, middle, high, and specialty schools under a common purpose.
Marrow toured each school in the district, interviewed key stakeholders, and observed students and teachers. Initially the plan was to only focus on the district's overarching brand, but in interview after interview we discovered the division wasn't going to be satisfied with one top down identity. Instead, we would need to work from the ground up, beginning with the identities of individual schools. We weren't creating one brand, we were designing and integrating 16.
When asked to describe their school, nearly everyone mentioned “family.”
Faculty and staff described working relationships that felt deeply personal and fulfilling. Colleagues looked out for each other, recognizing that they couldn’t meet the needs of their students if their individual and professional needs weren’t met. Several employees had even left higher paying jobs in other school districts, cities, and states to work in the Jessamine County Schools system.
And the East/West divide? It wasn't socioeconomic. It was something deeper. In 1997, the school district had grown so large it built new schools and reorganized under a West and East structure. The division of the district had unintended consequences.
Research conducted within the last decade shows that children who are familiar with their family’s history tend to fair better when facing challenges. They identify with an intergenerational self, becoming part of something bigger than than who they are individually. Identifying with a family narrative of success and setbacks informs how children approach their own struggles.
Students on the West side developed this sense of intergenerational self organically, surrounded by artifacts from their community’s history and their parents’ memories before the East/West split. Class composites dating back 70 years line the hallways of the original (now West) Jessamine High. When the district divided, students and families districted to the West schools retained this history and tradition — the stories that told them who they were. The newly formed East side had no stories, no traditions, no identity. They had to create something new.
Rather than erasing the East/West divide, the district leaned into it. Given the significant role of family in Jessamine County, we created a brand architecture that defined the difference between the two sides, and told their stories through a common visual language. While the West side schools had for years been defined as the keepers of history, the East side schools found their purpose as the force for the future. It was codified in the district's new messaging: "Tradition & Innovation."
Jessamine County Schools is now considered a leader among its public education cohorts, showcasing a sophisticated visual identity that appeals to all of its constituents from 4 to 94. It features a modern family crest grid system built using each of the school's core narratives. Colors and typography are updated and consistent, while still retaining key brand elements from their previous logos.
The pride in the district is palpable. Families and students understand their connection to the Jessamine County narrative, told through the progressively detailed crest brand architecture. Teachers and staff have found renewed focus on their individual missions, a strong foundation built on the concept of family.
Families lift each other up, they support each other. They celebrate their success and work together to improve their shortcomings. They disagree at times; they occasionally strive for different goals... but at their best, they believe in and lift up their own.