Pentagram’s Austin office has completed a comprehensive visual identity for the Sidwell Friends School Athletics program. The new system was unveiled on April 16th at the school’s annual Founder’s Day celebration.
Sidwell Friends School, founded in 1883, is a Quaker, PK–12 co-educational, day school with campuses in Washington, DC, and Bethesda, Maryland.
Sidwell Friends competes in the Mid-Atlantic Conference (MAC) for boys’ sports and the Independent School League (ISL) for girls. The school offers teams in volleyball, golf, cross country, football, field hockey, soccer, basketball, swimming, wrestling, tennis, baseball, softball, lacrosse, and track and field.
Sidwell Friends’ sports teams are known as the “Quakers,” and although that nickname has been used for more than 100 years, the school was lacking a visual mascot that the athletes, student body, and supporters could rally around. The notion of a “Fighting Quaker” just wasn’t going to cut it—particularly as a symbol for the traditionally pacifist Quakers.
The athletic identity project began over a year ago. During the design process the Pentagram team encouraged the school to adopt a visual mascot that could work alongside the established Quakers nickname but not replace it. In the end, Sidwell welcomed a new face to their athletic identity, a spirit mark of a fox inspired by George Fox, the founder of the Religious Society of Friends, also known as the Quakers.
Foxes possess many admirable qualities and reflect the values of the Sidwell Friends School community. The animal is highly intelligent, adaptable, possesses great fortitude—and is also known for caring tenderly for its own. It is efficient, swift, and powerful, but never forgets to make time for play. In Finland they believe the fox made the Northern Lights by running in the snow so that its tail swept sparks into the sky. One description of the animal reads: “It symbolizes the victory of intelligence over both malevolence and brute strength.” This is the ethos of the Sidwell Friends community.
The school’s new spirit mark, the face of a determined but friendly fox composed in a five-pointed star, references the Sidwell Friends legacy as the only Quaker school in the nation’s capital. In this way the new identity provides a timeless yet modern look that reflects the strength, competitiveness, and leadership qualities of Sidwell Friends’ Athletics.
When George Fox founded the Religious Society of Friends in England in the 17th century, he espoused the idea of the "inner light” found in all people. A celestial star is a source of light and like the sun–the light of all life. In that way a star is the perfect symbol for the spiritual concept of the “Inner Light,” a fundamental belief that unites all Quakers.
In addition to the main “Star Fox” icon, the Pentagram team developed a sleek, side-view version of the fox’s head and a full-body profile in full stride. The three logos can be used interchangeably given the application needs. All three of the new fox marks can be paired up with a sporty, slab-serif typeface called United Serif and secondary, condensed versions of the face called United Sans. The Pentagram team also introduced a revised color palette, which comprises a set of newly named colors: “Sidwell Maroon,” “Quaker Gray,” and “Friends Red.”
Several logotypes were developed for additional applications on uniforms, warm-ups, baseball caps, helmets, gear, and other athletic needs. The acronym “SF” for Sidwell Friends, paired up with a small star is available as a shorthand identity tool, and the words “Sidwell,” “Friends,” and “Quakers” were hand-drawn by the design team to become friendly, script wordmarks complete with foxtail swashes. The playful, script logotypes, and a complete set of sports-team wordmarks look great on T-shirts, jerseys, sweatshirts, tote bags, stickers, hats, and other spirit swag that students can now use to show off their “foxy,” newly visualized school spirit.