The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

May 1, 2012

New Ottumwa school district logo to be cleaned up

OTTUMWA — Teachers, coaches and high school sports fans helped pick two new Ottumwa school district logos — logos that will soon look sharper than the mockups shared with the public.

“That’s just because of the software we used,” said Superintendent Davis Eidahl. “We’re cleaning that up right now. We do understand it’s not [being shown] using the correct software.”

Eidahl acknowledged he was a bit surprised that response to the change had been mixed; he’d only heard positive feedback. But then, that was from people who saw the artist’s original work directly — not reproduced by computer.

He said a new logo was researched in part because Bulldog competitors and other representatives may not be recognized when they leave the area.

“Around southeast Iowa, people recognize our ‘O,’ but when we’re out of southeast Iowa, we want people to recognize that we’re Ottumwa — and we’re proud of our community,” Eidahl said. “We’re proud not just of what’s going on in our school, but in our community as well. We really want [our logo] to connect our district to our community.”

Before making the change, said Kim Hellige, the district community programs director, they gathered a committee including teachers, a board member, coaches and high school sports fans who are longtime Bulldog supporters.

Hellige said when they brought the artwork to the high school, the committee got some good input from students, including what they liked and didn’t like about the initial sketches.

“There was a lot of revision before we were happy,” said Eidahl. “We used a local artist and gave her some ideas of what we were looking for.”

For those who have asked about the software or the fonts used to actually draw the final logos — there were none.

“It’s all hand painted,” said Hellige.

The artist, Chris Abigt, isn’t just any professional. She had taught summer art classes to kids in the district.

“This was someone who was local, a trusted, reliable artist who’d worked with us in the past,” Eidahl said.

The “O” is still the same as the famous, big white “O” at Schafer Stadium, a symbol that has been embedded in the ground above the field and track since the early 1970s.

Just to be safe, the district wanted to avoid stepping on the toes of any universities using a giant “O,” like Ohio State University.

“We did look at the comparisons and at copyright information,” said Eidahl, “and got the opinion of a trademark expert that we’re not infringing.”

The second piece of art was needed because in a district where the mascot is a bulldog, supporters have always grabbed whatever picture of a bulldog they could find.

“As far back as we looked, Ottumwa has never had ‘a’ bulldog, not that we could find,” Hellige said.

Now that the district has its own bulldog,  there are many combinations available for logos, the superintendent said: the bulldog by itself, or with Ottumwa underneath, or next to the “O” or just the letter with the word “Ottumwa,” for example.

The graphic design work cost $350 from start to finish, which, while it is taxpayer money, specifically comes from selling Ottumwa logo products like shirts, decals and stationary.

“She put a lot of time and work into that project,” said Hellige, who added that the artist gave the district a very good deal. “She was just excited to be part of the project.”

As for fans who want new logo shirts or other items, they will be available soon in the Bulldog Shoppe at the chamber of commerce office downtown.

“We’re using a local screen printer,” Eidahl said, “and our order is in.”  

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