March 25, 2016
Groton students help brand county
GROTON — The future of how the city and Cortland County may market themselves to people outside the community is coming from an unlikely source.
The ninth through 12th graders at Groton High School taking art teacher Brookley Spanbauer’s class have submitted illustrations they made to the Leadership Cortland program Thursday afternoon, in the hopes Cortland residents can use them as a marketing tool.
Forget the fact Groton is 17 miles away from Cortland — it’s not even in the same county. Spanbauer said Thursday that initially, the students didn’t see how they could possibly be of assistance.That was until Spanbauer pointed out they had more of a connection than they first thought. She asked those who visited Cortland often to raise their hand. Everyone did.
With that, their task was laid out before them: come up with a design that incorporated an apple and the “Cortland to the Core” slogan, which will be used to promote the city as a hashtag on Twitter.
All of the designs will be incorporated into efforts to brand Cortland, but only one will be selected as the official logo for the “Cortland to the Core” campaign and will be featured alongside a video that Leadership Cortland is planning to post on its websites later this year.
This is not first time some thought has been put into how to market the Cortland community. Last April, about 60 city residents pitched logo and slogan ideas to Mayor Brian Tobin as part of his “Positively Cortland” initiative.
Leadership Cortland member Kim Corbett said this morning she and others in the program wanted to help out, so they met with Tobin and the Positively Cortland committee and picked up where last year’s effortsleft off.
Gemma Rinefierd, another Leadership Cortland member, visited the school Thursday with Corbett to personally pick up submissions and said the group’s goal was to accurately reflect how proud people were to live in Cortland.
“We thought a lot about how we could get positive messages out,” she said. “We were trying to get the hashtag going along with an image to go with it that we thought would draw people’s attention.”
“People who live here seem to have a lot of pride,” Corbett added. “There’s a lot to offer here.”
Fortunately, the students delivered in a big way. Between all of Spanbauer’s 32 students, Corbett and Rinefierd received dozens of designs.
Some students took a minimalist approach and used only a few colors but managed to remain creative in keeping their message simple yet effective. Some used intricate patterns and bright colors to draw eyes to their designs.
Others, like 15-year-old Marcus Harrison, an aspiring clothing designer, thought outside of the box and incorporated dress shirts into his work.
Students were only required to create three logos, but some like, Leah Ruland, 16, submitted pages upon pages of ideas.
“Once I got going I just kept coming up with more ideas,” she said. “They kept building on each other. I really couldn’t choose the most prominent ones that said what I wanted to say, so I submitted all of them.”
A few students, like Sebastian Mikula, 14, said they used the assignment to learn more about themselves.
“The most challenging part was being able to push your creativity to a new level,” he said. “You had to keep an open mind. You definitely have tobe confident in what you’redoing.”
Rinefierd said given the sheer number of submissions the group received, it will likely be a couple of weeks before they decide which will be the marketing campaign’s official logo and how to use the rest to promote the city.
Corbett said finalists and the winning design will be unveiled during a dinner at Tinelli’s Hathaway House in Solon, scheduled for June.
Despite the distance, it was clear the students took pride in the work they put in tohelp residents the next county over. Spanbauer said shewas impressed with her students and pleased with theend results.
“To see how proud the kids were talking to Kim and Gemma was really sweet,” she said. “It was totally worth it.”
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