When Forsyth County High School opened in 1955, it was the center of academia and preparatory athletics in the county. North Forsyth, South Forsyth and Pinecrest Academy came along before the turn of the century, but the recent additions of Lambert and West Forsyth have completed somewhat of a power shift from Cumming down to the developing areas of the county.
Alumni from the original school also were perturbed when there was a push to align the school’s name with the directional articulation used by other schools, insisting the school be called Forsyth Central instead of Central Forsyth as a way to maintain the abbreviation FCHS.
Central principal Mitch Young, formerly at West, plans to refocus the spotlight on the county’s grandfather school—and he plans to do it in style.
Young said his first order of business when he took over as principal at Central was to rebrand the school, and that meant cleaning up the visual identity, as well as making one thing perfectly clear: “We’re Forsyth Central, not Central Forsyth. We’ve even got a rug here that says it the wrong way,” athletic director Dan Kaplan, who also took over this past season, said.
Young and Kaplan combined with students, alumni and graphic designers to unveil a standardized logo package that would both honor the past and project the future of the school. The result is a new ‘FC’ monogram that combines a ‘wishbone C’ in red, first adopted by football coach Bob Herndon in the 90s, with a new, stylized ‘F’ in black. Other logos include a new alternate bulldog head, modeled after the rejuvenated design at the University of Georgia, and a streamlined roundel crest that better identifies the school in a “symbolic manner,” according to Young.
All of these new marks will combine to give Central a visual identity complementary to the “homegrown” makeup of the community that proudly buys Bulldog bumper stickers, flags and shirts.
With the possibility of Central reclassifying into AAAAAA as its county counterparts under Georgia High School Association governance, the identity change also symbolizes the ambition from Young and Kaplan to raise the bar.
“We don’t just want to be a school people come to because they’re comfortable,” Young said. “We want to be that school where you’re comfortable, but we’re good at what we do.
“We’re trying to create a culture of high performance here.”
The logo changes coincide with the 60th anniversary of the school as well.
“We just felt like the timing was perfect. This is the year to do it,” Kaplan said.
Logistics of the rebrand will come with a price tag over time. Tasks required to rebrand the school completely will require months of attention to detail, from repainting walls, ordering new rugs, changing logos on doors and in window displays, and, eventually, replacing the football field and basketball court with the new logos.
“That will take some time,” Young said.
The new bulldog logo came from a school-wide vote that included upcoming ninth graders and departing seniors. Young said the school handed out pennies to students and had them throw their coins in a cardboard box representing the logo option they favored most. The other options for alternate logos included the old bulldog and an illustration.
Eventually, according to Kaplan, the individual teams will be able to order new gear with the marks as well, though a sweeping replacement of team uniforms is not in the works quite yet.
“Luckily most of our teams just have wordmarks on the uniforms anyway, but if they want to they can update their look,” Kaplan said.
“Now that we’ve got momentum, we can make the symbolic changes necessary,” Young said. “We can have a talk where it’s superficial, but with our progress, this symbolizes where we are going.”