Special School District came to Magnetize for a comprehensive rebrand. Our discovery efforts included focus groups, work sessions, surveys and analysis which guided our work on new vision, mission and value statements as well as a messaging strategy. Brand development included brand positioning, identity design and tagline with our work culminating in the delivery of turnkey launch communications, as well as a comprehensive brand guide and toolkit to guide the application of messaging and design.

A messaging-first approach

Once we completed our comprehensive discovery work, the Magnetize team crafted a new messaging strategy to guide brand development and future marketing communications. We also worked closely with the leadership team and board to craft new mission and vision statements for the district.

Messaging platforms 

We identified three platforms for Special School District to become the core of our messaging strategy. These collectively answer the question “why?” and provide the basis of the brand’s narrative.

Student Focus: Rooted in our purpose of helping students realize their potential

Comprehensive Resources, Deep Expertise: Equipped to support students, teachers and our community

Inclusive, Collaborative Approach: Working in partnership to best support each and every student


Embracing special

The decades-old Special School District brand was adapted in an era where the word “special” carried some stigma. After our focus groups and interviews with dozens of parents, teachers and administrators, we were inspired to embrace the word “special”.

Mission, vision and values

Our strategy team facilitated work sessions to inspire the development of mission, vision and value statements. We then presented options to the leadership team and board and facilitated a vetting session to arrive at our final statements:

Mission: To equip and empower students of all learning abilities to excel to their greatest potential.

Vision: Every student realizes their fullest potential in life and in learning.

Values: Equity / Commitment / Collaboration

A multifaceted tagline

“Specialized for Success”
In addition to including the word “special” in the logo redesign, we created a tagline that celebrates the word. This decision was inspired by the potential, expertise and commitment of students, faculty and parents. The tagline also supports talent engagement and recruiting.

SSD logo

A refreshed logo

The new logo presents the brand in a more bold and confident way while picking up the familiar “SSD” from the original design. The “SSD” letterforms expanding into the white space beyond the field of blue represent the impact and reach of the district. The wavy lines found elsewhere in the brand design represent the flow of information and processes across the service area and growth of students.


All for kids

Special School District is centered on the success of students, so our recommendation to them was to use photography of real kids and staff, whenever possible. These images show kids in their everyday education journey learning, sharing and succeeding.

Deeper than design guidance

Our approach to brand guides is based on the day-to-day needs of our client teams. Design consistency and visual clarity are important, but we know that a big part of creating communications includes content strategy and copywriting.

The brand guide for Special School District included recommendations for the layout of specific types of communication pieces, along with messaging structure, hierarchy and audience guidelines. This carefully considered balance of messaging and design guidance empowers our client team to publish with confidence and consistency.

6_SSD_Icons_2 6_SSD_Icons_2

The vision for Special School District of St. Louis County is that all students realize their full potential in life and learning. Magnetize created a brand that celebrates the potential for achieving that vision.

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