Shady Side Academy releases new branding for Bulldogs mascot

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Friday, May 28, 2021 | 2:09 PM


Almost six months after choosing “Bulldogs” as its new mascot, Shady Side Academy has released its new logo and branding for its next era.

The school revealed its new branding in a virtual event Friday that was live-streamed to the entire student body, Pre-K through 12th grade.

Shady Side’s new athletics and spirit branding package includes 15 primary, secondary and tertiary marks, plus sport-specific marks, a custom font and adjusted shades of the school’s trademark blue and gold colors.

Rickabaugh Graphics, which is a nationally renowned firm based in Ohio that has specialized in creating award-winning brands for athletic teams, schools and organizations of all kinds, created the brand for Shady Side Academy.

Shady Side Academy president Bart Griffith said it holds a special meaning to the school as they move forward into a new chapter.

“Shady Side Academy’s new Bulldog brand exemplifies the historic values of our community: determination, pride, strength, excellence, intelligence and respect,” Griffith said. “At the same time, it is entirely of the moment: accessible, engaging and with a modern aesthetic appropriate for a school seeking to lead in a changing world. This bold and unique branding will serve our community well for generations to come.”

After choosing the new mascot in December, Shady Side Academy began the brand development process shortly after in January. After a competitive request for proposal process, a branding committee, which was made up of administrators, coaches, faculty, alumni, parents and trustees, chose Rickabaugh Graphics to design the Bulldog branding.

The process, which took four months, included a community branding survey, several different design concepts, and students, alumni, parents, faculty, coaches, administrators and trustees all participated in focus group testing before the final packaging was selected.

“Our goal was to create a strong Bulldog brand that was unique to Shady Side, and we wanted to do it right — with an expert design partner and the input and feedback of our community along the way,” said director of communications Jen Roupe, who chaired the branding committee. “Rickabaugh Graphics is simply the best at what they do, and we could not be more thrilled with the result. We believe the new SSA Bulldog branding will generate pride and enthusiasm among SSA community members of all ages.”

Shady Side’s new primary logo is the face of a strong, determined Bulldog wearing an “S” dog tag inside a shield, which symbolizes strength.

Although the school’s official blue was darkened to a deep navy blue, the school decided to lighten its gold color and will now use the same gold that is used by the Pittsburgh Steelers, Panthers and Penguins.

In July of 2020, the Shady Side Academy Board of Trustees unanimously voted to discontinue the use of Indians as the Shady Side Academy mascot. They announced Bulldogs as their new mascot in December after narrowing down their choices from a pool of 600 suggestions from the community.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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