Freeman HS Brand Refrsh

Bringing a high school's legacy 

into the modern era.

Brand Strategy | Community Insights | Qualitative Research

The Project

Develop a new, impactful brand image for a storied high school with a deep history and heritage.


And don’t make it a big cat.

What I did

- Led focus groups

- Built and analyzed surveys

- Dug into the Freeman community history and values

- Wrote and presented a comprehensive creative brief

The Situation

Founded in 1954, Douglas Freeman is one of the oldest high schools in the Richmond area and their outward facing identity was rooted in their nickname - “Rebels”. School leadership determined it was time to join the modern age with a new nickname and visual identity. 

Of course, not everyone was excited about the changing nickname. Our challenge was to create a new identity that would move the school forward without dismissing its history or alienating the community.

"Talking to the older graduates it’s

once a rebel always a rebel"

                                     - Freeman Coach

How we got smart

Our Questions

Focus groups with:

     - Naming committee

     - Teachers

     - Coaches

     - Students


Survey with over 1K community member responses


Secondary research on geography of the community

- What common values, attitudes and beliefs do the Freeman community hold?


- What about the previous brand made it stick in the community?


- Where do people experience

“Freeman spirit”?

Key Findings

The top values associated with Freeman are:




The most important aspects of Freeman's brand are:


Core Values


Independent Spirit

The Light Bulb Moment

The community felt a strong connection to the previous identity because it allowed them to personify it. The students, faculty, teachers, and alum were their own mascot, united under one common attitude. 

The Freeman identity is not rooted in its nickname, it is rooted in the spirit of it.

The Brief

In order to be successful, the new brand for Freeman High School must hit each on of these marks:

Establish Enduring Connection

“It needs to live in the bricks of the school”

Foster a Collective identity

“It gives you a sense of being a part of something bigger than yourself”​​

Inspire Purposeful Movement

“Freeman is not about a status quo, it’s about continual growth, constantly improving and becoming better.” 

Amplify the Existing Spirit

“It’s badass. It stands for toughness and strength.

The students want to represent that.”

Unique yet Timeless

“We are established, worn, and polished all at the same time.” 

The Execution

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.


(yes, those are Mavs cookies)

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The Team:


Hamza Ali

Hannah Berling

Joe Mrava

Matt Cavallo