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In April 2023, the New York State Board of Regents, by a unanimous vote, determined that public schools in New York will no longer be permitted to use Native American names, mascots or imagery as part of their school identity.  School districts have until the end of the 2024-2025 school year to fully comply with this directive and implement any necessary changes.


The process of changing a school nickname and mascot requires considerable thought, comprehensive planning and genuine engagement.  It is a process that can evoke a wide range of emotions – some positive, some painful.


Old Hat Creative has significant experience working with academic institutions to successfully design and introduce new school mascots and nicknames, and we are prepared to work with school districts in New York to comply with the new state directive and introduce a new mascot that accurately and thoughtfully reflects the spirit of the region it serves.

Old Hat uncovered a variety of opinions from athletics and university staff that provided great insight into where we should go with our identity. Combining our feedback and their creative expertise, Old Hat got us to where we wanted to go with our brand and identity, as the world class university in the world class city of Kansas City.


- Dr. Brandon Martin, Director of Athletics -


In a world in which the only constant is change, Old Hat Creative has the unique perspective of having partnered with numerous college and professional sport teams to identify, develop and successfully introduce new team mascots. Our experience has helped build a deep understanding of the complexities of this process.  Now, we are ready to put our experience and understanding to work for you.

No two school districts are identical; therefore, the development process we undertake to support your school district in identifying and introducing a new mascot should be structured to recognize the unique needs, history and traditions of your region.


We do, however, strongly believe that providing meaningful opportunities for stakeholders to engage in the development process and provide guidance is essential in order to arrive at a successful outcome.  For these reasons, our development process is typically structured to include the stakeholder engagement opportunities outlined on the following pages.

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PHASE 1: Discovery Workshops (6), comprised of representatives from the following groups:

  • Student Body

  • Faculty & Administration

  • Alumni

  • Parents

  • School Board

  • Community Leaders


The purpose of the Discovery Workshops is to gain input from a cross-section of stakeholders regarding the values and characteristics that should be reflected in the new mascot.  These structured forums will be conducted in-person, lasting approximately 90 minutes each, facilitated by a representative from Old Hat.  The sessions ARE NOT designed to introduce or test new mascot names and identities; rather, the sessions will help identify themes and build consensus regarding the values, characteristics and spirit that should be reflected in the new mascot.  In order to encourage an open and respectful exchange of ideas, it is expected the content of each workshop will be kept confidential to the participants and facilitators.  Each group should be comprised of between 8 and 14 participants, as designated by school administrators.


PHASE 2: Focus Group Session 1: Brand Profile, Creative Routes (5) and Ranking


Based upon the themes that emerge from the Discovery Workshop, Old Hat will prepare a Brand Profile for your new mascot, introducing the values, characteristics and spirit that generated the greatest amount of interest and support from stakeholders during the Discovery Workshops.

Old Hat will also identify up to 5 Creative Routes that introduce possible identities for your new mascot (eg: ferocious eagle or friendly mountain lion).  These Creative Routes will then be presented to a Focus Group comprised of at least 2 representatives from each of the Discovery Workshops (12-20 participants).  The Focus Group will be asked to provide feedback on the proposed Creative Routes and rank the options, 1-5.  This will be accomplished during Focus Group 1 Workshop, which will last approximately 90 minutes and can be conducted either in-person or in a virtual format.

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PHASE 3: Focus Group Session 2: Refinement and Ranking


Working from the input provided in Focus Group Session 1 and prioritizing the top 3-ranked choices, Old Hat will present an initial set of 3 creative treatments, with mascot nicknames and initial sketch designs for each treatment.

In Focus Group Session 2 (90 minutes, in-person or virtual format), participants will be asked to provide additional input and their final ranking of the top three choices, 1-3.


Working from the input provided in Focus Group Session 2, Old Hat will finalize the 3 mascot options and corresponding creative treatments, including nicknames, refined sketches and color palettes.


PHASE 4: Presentation to School Board; Selection of Mascot


Informed by a comprehensive public consultation process and two rounds of focus group review, you are now ready to select a new mascot.

Old Hat will make a representative available, in-person or virtually, to describe for your School Board (or other relevant governing body) the stakeholder engagement and creative processes that were undertaken to identify and develop the top three mascot choices.


Ultimately, the process of selecting the new mascot is entirely at the discretion of the governing entity (ie: School Board, School Administrators) you choose.  Old Hat will deliver three options built upon meaningful stakeholder engagement, focus group feedback and a professional creative development process.  The final choice is, of course, entirely yours.




Creative Asset Deliverables

Upon completion and approval of the family of marks, Old Hat will deliver a digital compilation of all logos, marks, typefaces, etc. for use by your institution. Standard formats include EPS, PNG and SVG.


Brand Style Guide

If requested, Old Hat will produce a Brand Style Guide for the new mascot, with recommended usage guidelines, uniform standards and other creative treatments for use by stakeholders.


Public announcement and introduction of new mascot

If requested, Old Hat will assist in preparing for and managing the public announcement and introduction of the new mascot, including the development of a media strategy, introductory press release, publicity materials, messaging and content for use on digital / social media.  This is a critical moment to begin building awareness and support for the new mascot.



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