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Case Study

The Legacy of a Mermaid

Commonwealth School Identity Redesign

Fierce. That is what the mermaid embodies for this small, academically-rich school in Boston’s Back Bay. The school was founded in 1957 by Charles E. Merrill, Jr. His founding mission was “to educate young people from diverse backgrounds to become knowledgeable, thoughtful, and creative adults, capable of careful analysis, fruitful cooperation, responsible leadership, and deep commitment.” Sixty-two years later, that mission holds true.

Research Informed Identity

During the research and discovery phase of the redesign, we explored several directions for the logo including architectural elements unique to the school’s historic brownstone building as well as variations of an updated mermaid.

Perhaps a mermaid isn’t the first symbol one thinks of for a co-educational independent school. But with some historic research and insight from the faculty and students, a modernization of the school’s existing mermaid mark became the clear direction for a redesign. 

Design Iterations

After the mermaid direction was approved, we took the mark through multiple iterations to create a gender-ambiguous mermaid and get the perfect balance of positive and negative space. The final mark represents the uniqueness of the students and their fearless approach to exploring the world.

Applications

The updated identity will be applied to a range of materials to build pride and increase awareness of the school.