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After 70 years, the Douglas Freeman High School was ready to change their confederacy-tied mascot: the Rebels. They came to us to create a brand identity that better reflected their community values: Family, Excellence, Pride, and Integrity. Through a collaborative and iterative process with the community, we introduced the Mavericks; a nickname that brought inclusivity and the best of the Freeman values forward.

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Intro - Solution - How it Works - Features - Reflections





Douglas Freeman High School 



The Freeman Mavericks

The Freeman Mavericks are independent, spirited, and inspiring. Driven by the collective pursuit of excellence, the Mavs go against the status quo to champion innovation, forward-thinking, and inclusion.


Develop a new brand identity for Douglas South Freeman High School to change their 'Rebel' nickname ​


Some community members at Douglas South Freeman High School had been pushing for a nickname change for years.  New waves of activism and national conversations about equity during the summer of 2020 gave the administration the extra push to make the change.

"No one at Freeman is included until we all are" - Former Principal


How can we ensure that a rebrand creates an opportunity for healing and transitions an equally split student body into a new, unified group?


Although 2/3 of the student body were calling for a new nickname, there is was a contingent of the community still avidly against the change. They saw the Rebel as tradition and felt that Freeman would slip away if the nickname changed. 


1000+ responses

Focus groups  

Students, coaches & community members


Stakeholder Interviews

Former principal, school board member, former athletic director, school board reprepresentative

A collaborative process to understand the people behind the "Freeman brand"


We used our research to collaboratively define the Freeman values of Family, Pride, Excellence, and Integrity to see how a new nickname might bring together all four.

Our leading question: How do you define the Freeman values?


Key Finding

The Rebel represents an opposition of two Freeman values: intensity and family.

Some feared that losing the Rebel would mean losing Freeman's intensity, grit, and independent spirit.


For others, 'Rebel''s history can't be reconciled with Freeman's value of family.


The Mavs out in the world

Mavericks adapted quickly into "Mavs", "Marching Mavericks", and  "Freeman: Home of the Mavericks."

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Our definitions of the Freeman values

Mavericks: Speaking to the Freeman Values

This logo gives a nod to the drive of the maverick - directional and pointed. The strong M shape is immediate while the illusionary F makes this mark a pillar of individuality for Freeman and Freeman only. 

Family: A collective identity

Intensity: Maintains independent spirit

Pride: A unique identity with the 'illusionary F'

Excellence: Directional, pointed, forward-thinking

Meet the team!

Ellie Proctor, ST;

A rockstar Account Manager-Strategy hybrid for this project. She was the point person for all of our presentations and even gave one for our Friday Forum and to our Board! 

Charlotte Robins ST;  

Always cool, calm, and collected, her people skills were clutch, here, when she led the student focus group. 

Amanda Yoon, ST;

With an equal eye for aesthetics and organization, she both kept our work back plan and masterfully crafted our client pitch deck.

Hunter Mott, ST;

His passion for a topic can light up a room, so since sports were involved, he was bringing energy 100% of the time. 

Hannah Berling, AD;

The lovely art direction you see here is all from Hannah! She is beyond talented and was able to get her logo and identity produced for this project! 

Hamza Ali, AD;

Hamza is an art director with so many skills but I am personally a massive fan of his illustrations:)

Matt Cavallo, AD:

Another Friday Forum presenter and incredibly talented art director, Matt is a wildly skilled designer and even brews his own beer! 

Joe Mrava, AD:

There just simply isn't enough space to gush about Joe. His forte - experience design -  doesn't pop up a ton in this case study, so please go to his site to learn more about this talented designer. 

Collective Identity





Ability to live on its own, but stronger as a group


"It gives you a sense of being a part of something bigger. You are a team, not just a collective of individuals"

-  Current Student

Enduring Connection





All Freeman community members can identify with the nickname



"Needs to live in the bricks of the school"

- Principal  






Purposeful Movement




Symbolize the act of moving forward with intent




"Freeman is not about the status quo, it's about continual growth, constantly improving and becoming better, that is what we are very proud of"

- Current Teacher




Retain a Rebellious Edge



Toughness, strength, and grittiness




It's badass. It stands for toughness and strength and the students want to represent that." 

-Current Student

Unique & Timeless






A name that will stay relevant and significant through the test of time


"We are established, worn, and polished all at the same time"







Naming Criteria


We created five pillars of consideration to guide ideation and ensure that the new identity will connect to our newly redefined Freeman values. 



Retain the Spirit


The independent spirit and idea of going against the status quo can exist in a more inclusive identity that considers all of its values and the entire Freeman Family. 

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